Georgia officially added a third loss to its record when it walked out of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday night, but it was already said-and-done when exiting the stadium three days earlier.
After the Bulldogs finished a practice, all of the players turned on their cell phones and saw Clemson walloping Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl, a College Football Playoff semifinal. Georgia decided to take out its frustration on the good ol’ Twitter machine for thousands and thousands of people to see.
“You saw what happened a few days ago,” Georgia safety J.R. Reed said, after the beatdown to Texas. “We should’ve been in it.”
There were laughing emojis, a few eyeballs and a shrug for Georgia players to essentially the same thing: “We should’ve been in the playoff.”
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At the time, fans joined in on the fun and media got a chuckle out of it. But little did we all know, it would be Texas that would get the last laugh in a 28-21 Sugar Bowl win that was much more of a beatdown than a one-score margin would indicate.
“We didn’t play our A-game, it was our C-game,” wide receiver Terry Godwin said.
As the game transpired and Georgia progressively got stomped on by Bevo’s spirit, Texas’ laughs got louder and the bulletin-board material given by the Bulldogs became more apparent.
Let’s imagine you’re a Texas player watching the game on television and texting a Georgia player with the thought of every tweet directed at the committee running through your head. As the game transpires, you pull out some mockery by referencing the tweets.
OK, so the 75-yard drive to open the game, an eyeball or two might be appropriate (mimicking the tweet of Jonathan Ledbetter). But then, once D’Andre Swift fumbled for the second time, everything had gone wrong for a team who flexed its chest as a top-ranked team nationally.
“We didn’t come out with the fire we usually come out with and didn’t make the plays,” running back Brian Herrien said. “That’s how you get beat.”
That makes it time for Elijah Holyfield’s tweet to be picked on. Cue numerous laughing faces.
Then, Sam Ehlinger had the dagger.
“Longhorn nation, we’re baaaaaaack,” he said in an on-field interview with the ESPN broadcast crew.
Ehlinger’s comment contrasts what this game meant to the two teams. Georgia didn’t lose the game on Twitter because it decided to mouth-off -- although, that’s what makes it seem foolish in hindsight. Rather, those tweets showed what Georgia thought of this game.
There was nothing to play for in the Bulldogs’ eyes. It was apparent in the locker room when many of the players were laughing and smiling as they would after practice. There was no excuse given for players being absent, but the game’s output represented how Georgia viewed the Sugar Bowl.
A glorified exhibition after the season ended a month ago after losing to Alabama. Georgia is ready for a clean slate.
“We had the big head and didn’t come out focused,” offensive guard Solomon Kindley told 247Sports.com. “We took Texas lightly, even though they were a very good team, and they showed us why doing all that other stuff, you can’t do that.”
The Longhorns, a program on the rise in the second year under Tom Herman, treated this like a National Championship — and rightfully so. Texas has been a program trying to rebuild a legacy of success, and it wanted to make a statement that it was back on the college football map.
Mission accomplished. Texas saw a deflated, unmotivated Georgia and took advantage of it.
“At the end of the day we have to come to play,” wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman said. “We didn’t come to play. Texas came to play.”
Added Georgia’s Kirby Smart: “Just because they tweet something emotional during that time, that doesn’t matter. It gives the other team motivation.”
Smart also said Georgia was motivated to play Texas, but the Bulldogs were “outplayed, outcoached and outphysicaled.” But, then again, I wonder how that could be when Georgia has an advantage in nearly every phase of the game.
That’s because Georgia spent too much time worrying about what could’ve been, and what was became nothing more than a consolation trip.
Remember, as they always say, watch what you tweet. Others are watching.
“Might’ve been best to keep our mouth shut,” tight end Isaac Nauta said.
Contact Brandon Sudge at email@example.com or 404-374-6964.