Halftime analysis: Seven thoughts

semerson@macon.comOctober 12, 2013 

uga_missouri

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is sacked for a loss of six by Missouri's Markus Golden in the first half.

BEAU CABELL — bcabell@macon.com

Halftime thoughts as No. 25 Missouri leads seventh-ranked Georgia 28-10.

1. There was legitimate reason for Georgia to worry about this game, but this? The life is already out of Sanford Stadium. There's not much sense that a comeback is in the offing, given the injuries on offense and the state of the defense.

2. Total yards in the first half: Georgia 230, Missouri 225. So that would lead to the conlusion the two fumbles - one for a Missouri touchdown, one preventing a Georgia touchdown - are the difference. But does it really feel like it's that close?

3. There's blame to go around, but most of it on defense. Todd Grantham simply isn't earning his salary. Georgia started the game with two good defensive drives, but then Missouri sped up its tempo, and the Bulldogs never had an answer. After Missouri's third touchdown, Grantham gathered the defense on the sideline, and laid into them for about three minutes. he did all the talking, gesturing over and over. The players just seemed to listen silently. This group just has no fire or confidence anymore. Maybe they can use the final drive of the half as something. But that came deep in Missouri's end with not much time left. The defense needs something bigger to happen.

4. How much can you blame the offense, considering the injuries? Well, you can pin a lot on the offensive line, which is struggling mightily in the pass protection. The fumble-and-touchdown, making it 28-10, could end up being the backbreaker. The tackles don't have an answer for Missouri's Michael Sam, but it was another player, Shane Ray, who forced the fumble. Considering all that was missing on offense, the Bulldogs needed the line to play the way it had since the South Carolina game. And it has not.

5. That said, the missing players can't be ignored. It totally changes the dimension of the offense, as well as the playcalling. Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall is probably carrying the ball inside the 10 in the final two minutes, rather than Brendan Douglas. (Although who knows, maybe Gurley or Marshall fumbles too.) And on the drive when Georgia had to settle for a field goal, Gurley or Michael Bennett really could have helped in the red zone. The two big turnovers loom large, but Georgia is clearly a weaker offense without all these players. A much weaker offense.

6. Once again, Georgia's defensive backs look overmatched. But the middle of the field is also a big problem this game, and Franklin is finding the holes. When Georgia doesn't get a stop near the line, it's been in trouble. Shaq Wiggins is playing a pretty good game, very aggressive. The rest of the secondary looks confused and reactionary.

7. There's going to have to be a lot that goes well, and quickly, for Georgia to recover and somehow pull this out. Maybe the defense makes some stops, but it also probably needs to force some turnovers. The offense just doesn't have the firepower to outscore Missouri by 18 points by itself in the second half. It's not over, and Georgia starts the second half with the ball. But those national title hopes, and even the division hopes, certainly seem to be fading away.

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