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November 12, 2006

Battle Tested -- Helmet Stickers

Image: Brent Sanderlin AJC

Total and complete domination on the Plains. The more you look at the stats the more overwhelming the scope of the beat down becomes. But before we get to the stats how about some helmet stickers for:

-- Tra Battle - the maligned senior safety had one of the greatest defensive performances by a dawg in decades. I've seen his game compared to Pollack's game in Carolina in 2002. I've seen it compared to Hoage's game against Vandy in the early 80s, and Charles Grant's game against Auburn in 2001 (6 sacks). Sean Jones first half in 2002 vs. Auburn. Regardless of the comparison, it was awesome. His three first half picks destroyed Brandon Cox, and ignited the blowout.

-- Ken Shackleford - The entire UGA offensive line has played up and down for the bulk of the season. Frankly, more down than up. However, very early in this game Shackleford hurt his leg/ankle/knee, and he was obviously struggling with the pain. He knew there was no backup. So, he gutted it out, and he played his nuts off. The entire offensive line played lights out as Stafford wasn't sacked a single time.

Well deserved hand for the Defense (Image: ABH)

-- Willie Martinez - Another guy that has been taking his lumps in the media, sports talk, blogs, message boards, here, gas stations, sewing circles, you name it. He put together a plan that baffled Cox with coverages, pummeled Cox with pressure and slowed the running game just enough. Great work by the defense.

-- Matt Stafford - The Texas Gunslinger finally had the game everyone has been waiting on. He netted 302 yards of total offense (219 passing + 83 rushing) and 2 TDs. His counterpart Brandon Cox netted 16 yards of total offense (35 yards passing and -19 yards rushing). Yes, Stafford fumbled twice, but 70% passing and no interceptions is huge progress. Both bombs were gems, and the out route to the far hash to Mike Moore was amazing. As were the runs. However, my favorite was the play where he just threw it out of the back of the endzone in the 4th quarter. That's the first time we've seen him "burn one" near the goalline. He scored the next play on the draw.

-- ALL WRs and Tight Ends - AJ Bryant had a bad back. Massaquaoi had a bad hip. Raley was out with a head/neck thing, and Goodman is gone for the year. But that didn't matter. AJ, Mo, Martrez, Harris and the gang put on a show. They caught everything thrown their way. Highlighted by this gem from Harris:


And of course, a salute to Mark Richt.
On Friday night, Richt said:
"I was as low as I have been," Richt said. "I looked at the game plan and thought, 'This is the worst thing I have ever seen.'"
Well...imagine how bad it would've been for Auburn if Richt had LIKED the game plan. (grin). He called a whale of a game, and to keep the team together in the face of such a train wreck of a season is a testament to his abilities as a coach.

Some stats shortly. In the meantime, my favorite articles on the game:Thank heavens for an off week!



Anonymous said...

Matt Stafford was great. And he can be better. The first pass to AJ was just a tad underthrown and allowed
Wilhite to close enough of the separartion AJ had created, or AJ could have strolled into the endzone.
Not complaining, just thinking the future's even better.

Anonymous said...

We may wind up in the weedwhacker bowl.But this awesome win salvaged a season,IMO.
One more thing...all our rivals who think we are down and out long term...consider rethinking that evaluation.

C. Paul said...

I agree 100% and feel the team is like a bowler who just got a strike out of the blue in the tenth frame and has two more rolls to make something big happen.

If we beat Tech and then our bowl game, then we'll have taken the first few big steps for 2007. If we split them, then we've got it back to even. If we lose both of the games, then we're right back to November 10th wondering what we've got moving forward.

That said - it was a pretty awesome day on Saturday and I'll take that feeling for a while.

Go Dawgs!!

Anonymous said...

well guys...I think this team is tired of getting beat and Tech is a little nervous.They may see their best chance in years slipping away.

I have no complaints.Stafford is starting to show his ability...he is hitting his receivers even with his wobble spiral.If he threw a tight spiral like Chris Leak,it would go 90 yards.(I hope he doesn't have to throw one that far).

DawgByte said...

Personally, I think we saw Stafford's coming out party. This is the type of game that can hopefully ignite Stafford into being the player we all know he is. He can do on the ground and through the air... he's got all the tools to become a truly NCAA leading QB.

If we can get the playmakers to support him and find consistent offensive line play, the sky is the limit. This is no half empty victory.

Anonymous said...

A great game to watch, and it couldn't have come against a better opponent.

Among other things, I think this underscores the comments earlier in the year (by PWD, I think) that the talent is there.

The Tech game should be better than it has been for years.


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