Dawgs try to figure out start of 3rd quarter

Mark Richt

ATHENS – In Georgia's last three games, a span including two losses and an unimpressive win, there has been one tangible theme.

The second-half swoon. The Bulldogs have been outscored 71-24 in the second half the last three weeks, and the trouble has started early.

The most obvious common denominator is turnovers. Georgia has turned the ball over on either its first or second drive of the second half in each of the last three games, but Coach Mark Richt points to a more obscure statistic.

"Unfortunately, it's kind of started with kickoff returns," he said. "Our kickoff return team is so much better than it was, but in these last three ball games, we haven't done a good job of playing penalty free and returning the ball."

On the first kick of the second half against Mississippi State on Saturday, Asher Allen returned the ball to the 16-yard line, but an illegal block call moved the ball back to the 8-yard line.

"I was getting on to them about how we needed to come out in the second half," Richt said. "I felt like the guys were wanting to do it, but that mistake hurt us. It's just been some very poor field position to start those drives, and then there have been some mistakes made."

Georgia's average starting field position in the third quarter of the last three games is its own 13-yard line. The Bulldogs have scored 23 points in the third quarter this season, and at least 47 in every other quarter.

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