Thursday, September 11, 2014

Williams-Brice - where UGA's offense goes to die

I know, I know...ominous blog title.  But seriously, this is the thing that's been giving me pause this week.  Yes, South Carolina seems to have taken a step back, and UGA appears to be banging on all cylinders.  It looks as though we should be able to ROLL right over the Gamecocks.  We like to believe that Gurley can not be stopped, and that Mason is smart enough and good enough to beat the 'Cocks with his arm if necessary.

I want to believe that too.  I want to believe that we win this game 42-17.

But, here's the funny thing about playing in Columbia.  The Dawgs don't do it well - at least not the Dawgs' Offense.

Richt is 4-2 in Columbia, but only 2-2 since Spurrier arrived, and his last win was 2008.  Now, until this year, South Carolina had posted 18 straight victories at Williams-Brice.  That's pretty much every game in the stadium from 2011-2013.  Solid.

Many folks are thinking, "DUKES!  We're so much better now than we were with any of those teams.  We have GURLEY"  Yes we do.  He's damned amazing, and I hope he dominates against the Gamecocks.  But let's remember... in 2012, we were 6 yards (or 20 seconds) from a National Title Game appearance... and we had Gurley then.  And Aaron Murray.  And a group of wideouts who are currently in the NFL.

I'd be remiss not to paint this picture for you:

In 2006, UGA entered SoCar 1-0.   We scored 48 points in the first game of the season with Stafford, Lumpkin, Brown, Ware, MoMass and Sean Bailey leading the group.  In Columbia, we scored 18 points.

In 2008, We were 2-0 going into the USC game.  Stafford had more seasoning.  Moreno was now the leading rusher in the backfield (with Caleb King).  MoMass and AJ Green were electric on the outside of the offense.  We had scored 45 and then 56 points in the first two weeks.  In Columbia, 14.

In 2010, Aaron Murray made his first SEC start in a VERY hostile environment.  The soon-to-be SEC All-Time Leading Passer brought Washaun Ealey, Caleb King, AJ Green, Tavarres King and Marlon Brown as well as a 55 point week-one offense into Columbia.  That combo put up 6 points.

In 2012, Murray returned to Columbia, hoping to beat the Gamecocks (he was 0-2 against them) just like he had beaten Missouri, Vanderbilt and Tennessee prior.  He brought the freshman phenom tandem of Todd Gurley and Nick Marshall with him.  He threw passes to T. King, Malcolm Mitchell, and Marlon Brown, not to mention big TE Arthur Lynch.  That offense had thrown up no less than 40 points in ANY game preceding.  (45,41,56,48,51) To say they were in mid-season form was by no way overstating it.  That offense, which would go on to the SEC Title game, tallied an amazing SEVEN POINTS in Columbia - in garbage time.

I'm not saying we won't win.  I'm not saying the Dawgs Offense won't explode against South Carolina just like it did against Clemson.  In fact, I surely hope that's what happens, because we need to reverse the recent trend in Columbia.  All I'm saying, is don't be surprised if it's a slugfest where we have to work to win the game in the 4th quarter.   You can NEVER write-off Steve Spurrier before the game has been played.

To Todd Gurley, Hutson Mason, Michael Bennett and the rest I say: Prove me wrong.  Go hang 60 on Spurrier in Williams-Brice.

Go Dawgs.

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