Monday, November 30, 2009

Win Over Georgia Tech a Microcosm of What Could Have Been

OK, so Georgia was not going to finish 11-1 this year, earn a trip to the SEC Championship, and play in a BCS bowl. There simply wasn't a strong enough combination of experience and talent. Nonetheless, beating a very good Georgia Tech team on the road (well, "The Flats" may not be the most intimidating place to play) in such a physically impressive fashion showed that there was enough to work with to mount better than a 7-5 season.

For all the innovations, fads, and rule changes football has seen over the years, the basic formula is still quite similar to what it was during the time of leather helmets and goal posts placed in the middle of the end zone: Run the ball, play solid defense, and win the turnover battle.

The Dawgs haven't rushed so effectively or so often in years. RBs Washaun Ealey and Caleb King both topped the century mark for the first time in years. The defense, while still giving up a couple of big plays and, quite frankly, catching a break with a dropped pass late in the fourth quarter, shut down the Tech attack in the first half, and played well enough in the second half. However, it was winning the turnover battle that was the most astonishing thing to see.

Georgia was on the plus side in turnover margin in a game for the first time this year. In most other games, Georgia was in the red in this department (and often by more than one), and only managed to break even a couple of times.

Turnovers happen, and sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way. But, in a year when the Bulldogs were not quite as far ahead of the curve in terms of overall experience and talent, not turning the ball over and causing turnovers were the two things that Georgia could have benefited from the most.