OFFENSE – C. Quarterback Aaron Murray neared a career-low in passing yards with 114 (his career low came last season against South Carolina with 109 yards) and the fifth-year senior was held without a touchdown pass. Murray rushed for two touchdowns and Brendan Douglas and J.J. Green combined for 126 yards rushing, but Douglas had a backbreaking fumble (again) late in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs couldn’t sustain drives, finishing with 221 total yards (well under their season average of 517.3), and were held scoreless in the second half. It was Murray’s second week working with freshmen and inexperienced walk-ons, but he still looked uncomfortable in the pocket even though the offensive line didn’t give up a sack.
DEFENSE – D. On paper, the numbers say Georgia had an okay outing against Vanderbilt – three sacks, five pass break-ups and two interceptions, the first of which was a pick-six by freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins. But the Bulldogs gave up 17-fourth quarter points. The special teams mistakes and offensive struggles didn’t do the defense any favors and neither did the two targeting penalties, one on Ray Drew, who was ejected, and the other on Ramik Wilson, who remained in the game after the ejection call was overturned. But the Bulldogs simply couldn’t keep the Commodores from scoring points, which is the name of the game. Vanderbilt quarterbacks Austyn Carta-Samuels and Patton Robinette combined for 218 yards passing, and the Commodores picked on the struggling Damian Swann, who was covering on the game’s longest pass play (a 41-yard pass to Jonathan Krause). Yes, the secondary is young and several freshmen are starting, but it’s halfway through the season and defense still struggles getting off the field – Vanderbilt kept the ball for 35 minutes, 10 seconds and was 2 of 2 on fourth down conversions.
SPECIAL TEAMS – F. The biggest reason Georgia lost was because of the laundry list of mistakes made by the specials teams unit, the same ones that plagued Georgia early in the season. Those same problems have reared their ugly heads – a Commodores’ touchdown on a fake field goal attempt, a Damian Swann fumble on a mishandled punt, a high snap from Trent Frix that soared over Collin Barber’s head. Swann’s fumble and the high snap resulted in Vanderbilt touchdowns. It was a mess all around and directly responsible for the loss.
COACHING – D. The special teams mistakes will be a chorus line repeated to Mark Richt the rest of the season. He said after the North Texas game that it was a priority to get the messiness cleaned up, but the milk was spilled in Nashville. The Commodores outgained the Bulldogs 221 to 337 and won the time of possession battle. Murray couldn’t get the offense going and Douglas’s fourth-quarter fumble was once again incredibly costly. A handful of Bulldog defenders had standout plays, but Todd Grantham’s defense allowed the Commodores to hold the ball for nearly 11 total minutes in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs’ second bye week of the season couldn’t come at a better time as Georgia has now lost two straight for the first time since the final two games in the 2011 sesason.
– Rachel G. Bowers
Morris News Service