Lough: Now game with UK matters

Posted Nov 13, 2005

ATHENS - At 11:14, they huddled and talked.

And the officials made the right ruling after an absolutely stunning plays, and it was a reprieve from the governor for Bulldog Nation.

The stay, however, lasted nine minutes, and the ball off the foot of John Vaughn was a knife into the occupants of a red and black world.

Within seconds of the final buzzer as the stream of Georgia fans marched grim-faced and puzzled out of Sanford Stadium, one woman snarled at a man: "Don't ever sit next to us again."

Only a few moments passed when the two Bulldog fans had to be separated, and one Munsonesque thought came to mind:

"There's gonna be some property destroyed tonight."

But that time, with a win over Florida, it was with a smile. This one will leave marks.

A loss wouldn't have been such a huge shock, for anybody with grasp of logic knew that Auburn was good, and this is as wacky a series as any.

But Bulldog-watchers were likely more ready to snarl about the offense and about a lack of imagination and points had Georgia gone down.

Sure, there were a few moments like that. A dog doesn't change his tastes overnight, and there have been questions and debates about offense for weeks, months, and years.

This time, the offense put up 446 yards and 30 points and 6.7 yards a play against somebody without a hyphen in the name.

What always offered a comfort zone was defense. Shoot, that's why there was a little patience about offensive questions. The defense was always there.

"Always" came to a stunning end Saturday night, after a team with a new quarterback and new running backs left town with 506 yards of total offense, 31 points, a two-point win, and the marbles of an entire fandom.

This was the kind of game that turns the united against one another, because when Georgia's lost big games lately, it's because of an offense that just didn't finish the drill.

This one, to the surprise of many, is on the defense. Auburn's visits to the end zone put Georgia in a twilight zone.

The thought came early to one noggin: I think I've found Gary Gibbs, and he's apparently still living in Athens.

The former defensive coordinator hired by Jim Donnan to help save his job brought to the Bulldogs a defense that was vanilla with little sweetener.

If somebody snuck in a Miller Lite into this game, it no doubt turned to O'Doul's by halftime: not the bite you expected. And that's not happened around here in a long time when the topic is defense.

For the second time in a month, a running back without an established reputation in the Southeastern Conference came to Athens and seriously humbled Georgia's defense.

A freshman from Arkansas put 190 on the Bulldogs, and a transfer from South Carolina who started the year No. 3 dropped 179.

"You never imagine giving up 30 points,” said Georgia linebacker Tony Taylor, "especially to a team that runs the ball more than anything else."

Safety Greg Blue was like so many on the key 62-yard pass play that blew things up for the Bulldogs at the end.

"I didn't see it," he said. "When I turned around, he'd caught the ball."

No, there wasn't much dissecting to be done on a late Saturday night, for Georgia had shown a few leaks all year. Still, nobody expected to be reaching for buckets this late in the season.

Was this the worst defensive execution Taylor can recall as a Bulldog?

"If it wasn't," he confessed, "it was pretty close to it."

And now, to the shock of all that is normal in the universe, a Georgia-Kentucky football game at 12:30 p.m. in mid-November on Jefferson-Pilot matters.

Nobody in their right mind would've ever expected that.

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