Thursday, December 31, 2009
DAWGBEASTS **BOWL EDITION**
TEXAS A&M vs. GEORGIA
WooHoo, Reader! The final game of the DAWGS 2009 campaign was a case study in my kind of football. I think it’s safe to say that all of us would have rather seen the Georgia offense find their groove a bit earlier, but that was worked out with a few halftime adjustments to our blocking schemes. Beyond that though, this was the way I like to see the game played….stiff defense that forces the offense to beat you and takes advantage of their mistakes (and the DAWGS didn’t cash in on every opportunity to say the least), game-changing special teams play and an offense that imposes it’s will and dictates the flow of the game. This game, this victory, leaves me with a great feeling heading into the off-season and I am looking forward to seeing what happens between now and September 4th against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
SPECIAL TEAMS UNITS – Nothing seems to turn a game the way a big play on special teams can. Georgia’s special teams units all deserve a gold star for their performances versus Texas A&M. Blair Walsh and Drew Butler did their parts and the coverage was solid, but that in no way completely tells the tale.
GENO ATKINS – Early on, Atkins blocked an Aggies field goal attempt that kept the game scoreless. This turned out to be huge as it gave the DAWGS some fire on the defensive side of the ball and seemingly steeled their resolve to continue to play hard, even with all of the questions surrounding that side of the ball coming into the game. Their teammates would pick them up eventually.
BRANDON BOYKIN – the Georgia sophomore, a repeat offender here at the BEAST, had a 81 yard punt return for touchdown. Boykin set a school record and tied the SEC record with three kickoff returns for a TD in a season in the process. Number two now shares the SEC record with Willie Gault (Tennessee, 1980).
Courtesy Patricia Spaulding/Onlineathens.com
BACARRI RAMBO – Rambo blocked a punt late in the 2nd quarter that led to Georgia’s go-ahead touchdown. I thought Vance Cuff was going to score on the play, but the DAWGS eventually cashed the big play in for seven.
GENO ATKINS – I know the DAWGS senior defensive tackle is mentioned above, but in addition to the blocked field goal, Atkins also finished with three tackles and one sack and earned the game’s MVP (defense). What’s more, every time I looked up it seemed #56 was channeling Nebraska Heisman Trophy finalist Ndamukong Suh as he man-handled any Aggies interior linemen that dared challenge him, driving them into the backfield, stuffing the run and pressuring the quarterback with apparent ease. Atkins’ game clearly passed the eyeball test and his performance in the Independence Bowl epitomized what it means to be a BEAST…totally dominating the game whether his final numbers reflect his impact or not.
CLINT BOLING – Texas A&M’s Von Miller came into the game leading the nation in sacks (17), but Boling absolutely shut down the Aggies playmaker holing him to just four tackles in the game.
RUSS (interim mascot) – Two starts, two wins…and swagger wins at that. A thumping of the in-state Techies and a bowl victory…that’s pretty good stuff.
THE PROGRAM – No, there has not been a national championship for the DAWGS since 1980, but there very easily might have been with a just a bit of luck along the way during a near-miss seasons and there have been division and conference championships. In case you missed it, there has also been a staggering run of consistency in Athens that is unmatched in the rest of the college football world. With the win, Georgia (8-5, 4-4 SEC) leads the country with 13 consecutive seasons with eight or more wins. Not Southern Cal, not Ohio State, not the HATED Gators. Texas and Virginia Tech rank second with 12 each.
MARK RICHT – Even in a season where expectations of the team and the fans fell short, Georgia still managed the aforementioned eight wins and a bowl victory. Under Richt, the DAWGS own a 38-4 record against teams from outside the Southeastern Conference. In bowl games under Richt, Georgia is 7-2. Overall, Richt is 90-27 in his nine seasons. Successfully carrying the banner for the conference and owning consistent bragging rights over our neighbors and friends, heading into the off-season with a full head of steam and averaging 10 wins a year as a head coach…not to mention running a program boasting high graduation rates and consistently turning out fine young men. That, my fellow DAWGS, is about as much of a BEAST as a head coach can be.
the SENIORS – You are a bunch of Damn Good Dawgs and we here at the BEAST would like to thank you for all that you have given to the University of Georgia and to each of us as fans over the last few years.