Dating back to last season, the Georgia Bulldogs’ past four opponents have been the Alabama Crimson Tide, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
As a result, a letdown against the North Texas Mean Green is understandable.
However, there is reason for alarm for the Georgia coaching staff, and it is not the final score of this weekend’s game. Instead, it is how atrocious the Bulldogs were on special teams. For the third time in as many games, a special teams blunder altered the final score of the game.
In fact, the Week 1 botched snap against Clemson on a second-half field-goal attempt could ultimately be the only blemish on the Bulldogs’ record at the end of the season.
The Bulldog defense allowed just one touchdown, while the other two touchdowns by North Texas came on special teams. The first special teams blunder was in the first half, when the Mean Green’s Brelan Chancellor returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score.
The second special teams blunder happened when sophomore punter Collin Barber had his first punt of the third quarter blocked and North Texas fell on the football in the end zone for a touchdown.
This was the first time an opponent had blocked a punt for a touchdown against UGA since 1999 against Central Florida.
Outside of special teams, the Bulldogs were very good on Saturday as they outgained the Mean Green 641 yards to 245 yards. The 641 yards by the Bulldogs offense ranks fourth all-time. Moreover, of the Mean Green’s 245 yards of total offense, they managed only seven rushing yards.
Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs offense was outstanding once again. Murray passed for 408 yards and four total touchdowns on a record-setting night for the senior quarterback.
Murray became just the second player in SEC history to pass for 100 touchdowns in a career. Moreover, that 100th touchdown pass was the longest pass play in school history as he hooked up with freshman Reggie Davis on a 98-yard touchdown.
The defense was led by freshman linebacker Leonard Floyd, who registered the first two sacks of his career for a total loss of 17 yards, and he had six tackles as well. Junior Ramik Wilson led the team in tackles with nine stops, while Josh Harvey-Clemons was next with seven.
With the win, Georgia improves to 50-9 in non-conference games under Mark Richt, including 35-1 at home.
The Bulldogs did a lot of good things this past weekend. However, with LSU heading into Athens this weekend, the Bulldogs must fix the special teams blunders. They must also do a better job protecting the football, as Murray threw a costly interception in the end zone and Gurley had a rare fumble.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of the special teams mistakes Saturday was that they delayed the 2013 debut of future Bulldogs starting quarterback Hutson Mason.
With the win, the Bulldogs moved to 2-1 on the season. If they can defeat No. 6 LSU this weekend, they will once again be in the national championship hunt.