September 29, 2011

'We gave them the game'

Orson Charles has a lot of memories when he thinks back to last year's game at Scott Field in Starkville and Mississippi State.

None of them are good.

As the Bulldogs get ready for Saturday's rematch at Sanford Stadium, one could actually detail the disgust in Charles' voice as he recalled the mistakes - both physical and mental - that led to Georgia's 24-12 defeat.

"I was very upset, because I felt like we gave them the game. We had a couple of fumbles that we didn't show early on this year and I'm very happy of that. We have a mature running back like Isaiah, that can touch the ball thirty times and not have a fumble," Charles said. "Something I remember from that game last year was just being very disappointed because I walked off the field knowing that we should have won that game and I felt like I could have done something better in order for Georgia to win."

He and the rest of the Red and Black Bulldogs will get their opportunity in Saturdays game scheduled for noon and televised live on Fox Sports South.

Charles wasn't kidding about the mistakes.

Georgia, which rushed for just 113 yards against MSU, was penalized nine times for 63 yards, including a second-quarter holding call on Marlon Brown which negated a 40-yard touchdown pass to Kris Durham.

A first-quarter fumble by former Bulldog Washaun Ealey inside the MSU 5 negated another score, while an offsides penalty took away an interception by Vance Cuff which would have set Georgia up inside the 50-yard line. Another Ealey fumble later in the game cost the Bulldogs another prime scoring opportunity.

Defensively, the Bulldogs allowed MSU to rush for 179 yards, including 97 from quarterback Chris Relf, who also completed 8-of-13 passes for 135 yards and one touchdown, a 33-yarder to Arceto Clark.

The touchdown to Clark beat cornerback Branden Smith and preceded a 1-yard touchdown run by Vic Ballard with 3:15 to go to ice the game at 24-6.

"We blew coverages, we had missed opportunities, we were undisciplined," former Bulldog Demarcus Dobbs said. "We made some plays but because we were undisciplined … We simply made too many mistakes."

Mistakes, Richt said earlier this week, cannot afford to be made again.

"We had a lot of things happen. But they made their breaks too, though. They had some things bad happen to them too that could have been big plays for them too, so it wasn't like it didn't happen both ways," Richt said. "It was a frustrating day, because it seemed like every time something really good happened to us, that could have sparked us ended up with either a penalty or a turnover. We're talking about the Durham touchdown."
"We're talking about (Ealey) getting hit on the one-yard line after really a heck of a call by Mike (Bobo). We had our tailback vertically hot down the middle of the field, which not many people do. We caught them in the right blitz. We executed perfect and gained 15 or 20 yards and then the ball spits out. They knocked the ball out. They did their job. They earned it certainly. It was a frustrating day. I'm not looking forward another one like that."

Neither is quarterback Aaron Murray.

At 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the SEC, Georgia is still in position to have a strong year, but with little margin for error the rest of the way, eliminating last year's mistakes will be imperative to whatever chances the Bulldogs have.

"We weren't having the best start to the season last year. We weren't on the right path and it was definitely a big upset for us, to feel like our chances of winning the SEC were slipping out of our hands last season. Right now we're still 1-1, we feel like we're still contenders in the East," Murray said. "This is a big game; all SEC games are big. They're a very talented team offensively and defensively. They're going to come out there and try to hit us. They're 0-2 in the league and they're wanting their first win. They're hungry and we just have to go out there and match their intensity."

Charles said he will do everything in his power to make sure Georgia holds up its end.

"We need to realize our dreams and hopes are still alive. Beating Ole Miss last week, we've just seen a lot more people smiling and we're not used to seeing that right now," he said. "I want to keep that feeling. Me being a captain, I want to make sure my team is involved and keeps that feeling around."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]