Vanderbilt did something that hadn’t been accomplished in 22 years – they won against Georgia at home 31-27. The tradition-breaking loss was due to a lack of execution with special-teams, minimal second-half offense, and targeting calls. Georgia now has three losses on the season and will not have the hopes to return to the Dome as SEC East Champions. Let’s look take a look back and see what went wrong.
- Special-teams – The Georgia season has been plagued with mistakes and mishaps by special teams: weak tackling on kickoff returns, blocked punts, and bad snaps to the kicker. Early in the game, the Dawgs’ special-team lined up for a field-goal attempt by the Commodores, but were faked-out and allowed them to score. In the third quarter, Damian Swann’s inability to maintain control over a fair catch on a punt resulted in a Vanderbilt recovery on the 36-yard line and a later score. Another special-team flaw came in the form of a bad snap that forced Georgia’s punter Collin Barber to cover the high snap with his body on the 13-yard line late in the fourth, allowing for Vanderbilt to score the winning touchdown.
- Offense – A weak and slightly unproductive offense in the second quarter hurt the Dawgs. Only producing 80 yards of offense is not the key to winning games. Quarterback Aaron Murray became the SEC’s all-time leader in total offense, but by the looks of the numbers, it was not a productive day at all.
- Targeting Calls – The new targeting rule was put in place for the benefit of the players’ safety, however, it has become a nuisance. Georgia had two penalties called – Ray Drew was ejected after a high hit on Vanderbilt’s quarterback; linebacker Ramik Wilson was penalized for a targeting call. Wilson’s ejection was overturned, but not without rewarding Vanderbilt a huge first down that resulted in the Commodores creeping in on the Dawgs.
The Vanderbilt match-up was a hard one to stomach. This is the first week that Georgia is not ranked in the AP Top 25 polls. Since beginning the season ranked at No. 5, the Bulldogs are absent after the past two week’s performance. The Bulldogs will have the next week off as they regroup and recover for the Georgia/Florida rivalry game on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville.
Overall, the Dawgs have had a tough run of luck when it comes to injury, I get that, but there is no excuse for giving up points. The Bulldogs will have to figure out what to do with the healthy players they have and do the best they can to finish out the remainder of the season.