University of Georgia

Georgia’s loss to Ole Miss the worst margin of defeat since 2011

There was a point during Georgia’s 45-14 loss to Mississippi on Saturday that it seemed the Bulldogs might wind up with a top-five loss in program history.

When Georgia trailed 45-0 in the third quarter, the game entered the top seven of worst margins on the scoreboard. The Bulldogs were able to add two garbage-time touchdowns, with Ole Miss pulling its starters.

The 31-point loss is still significant in that Georgia hasn’t had a loss like that in five years. Against LSU in the 2011 SEC championship game, Georgia fell to LSU 42-10. The last regular-season game that went that way was in 2008, when Florida whipped Georgia 49-10.

Losing the way Georgia did Saturday is never fun for anyone. Losing in that manner can hurt a lot worse.

“We’ve just got to play better football,” outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter said. “That’s all it comes down to.”

During the previous 15 years, the aforementioned LSU and Florida losses were the only 30-point defeats Georgia dealt with. In the fourth game of the Kirby Smart era, Georgia now has added another.

The worst defeat in program history came in 1931, when Georgia was defeated 60-0 by USC. The worst SEC loss came in 1943, when Georgia Tech — in the conference at the time — routed Georgia 48-0. In the Georgia football media guide, 14 games are listed, with the 2008 loss to Florida being the last.

The Bulldogs came awfully close to forcing the sports information staff to rewrite that page.

“It’s not really a bad feeling because I know there’s so much more in the future that we got,” running back Sony Michel said when asked if Saturday’s defeat was harder to take than most losses. “We’ve got so much room to improve. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll get this thing rolling.”

The challenge now is for Georgia not to let this loss carry over into Saturday’s game against Tennessee. The Volunteers defeated Florida 38-28 in a come-from-behind win, giving them plenty of energy and momentum heading into the teams’ first game of October.

When suffering a loss the way Georgia did, it will be crucial for the Bulldogs not to let it linger.

“I feel like the leaders on this team, they’ll step up and let us know what we need to do and take it over to practice next week, and then carry it over to the game Saturday,” cornerback Juwuan Briscoe said.

Baker gets the call

Cornerback Deandre Baker saw his first extensive action in Georgia’s secondary against Mississippi.

In the second quarter, Smart decided to pull Malkom Parrish after he was beaten downfield on a play. Baker went into the game and played the majority of the rest of the game.

“Baker’s been a guy who’s been this close to playing all year,” Smart said. “He’s been a guy we almost put in the North Carolina game. We didn’t get exposed in the North Carolina game because they didn’t hit the plays. But they were there. He’s worked with the ones every day in practice. He came in and competed.”

Baker, a sophomore from Miami, remained in the game and played the majority of the second half. He finished with three tackles.

Parrish did come back in at one point for Briscoe in the second half. It’s unknown at this time whether Parrish will keep his starting spot this week.

Parrish has started 17 consecutive games at Georgia, which is the most of any Georgia defender on the roster.

“Malkom’s a competitor,” Smart said. “He came in, covered kicks. He came back in and played hard and well. Sometimes there are matchups you can win with, and sometimes some guys are hot and you have to use a different pitcher — you have to give them a curveball instead of a fastball. We just thought we’d go with that combination.”