Posted: 5:35 pm Saturday, September 24th, 2016
By Jay Black
Kirby Smart suffered his first loss as a head coach in Georgia’s 45-14 loss at Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss — Well if you’re going to lose, might as well make it spectacular, right?
I didn’t think so.
This is the worst kind of game for a college football fan. One where you wake up with significant expectations and hopes of something special. Then you kickoff and within five minutes you know you have not shot in !(*$!(_.
Georgia had no shot. They could play Ole Miss 100 times and the Dawgs will lose 98 of them. The two wins would be because Chad Kelly missed the bus.
Ole Miss scored 45 straight. How else are you supposed to analyze this? Brian Herrien threw in a couple of whoop-dee-do TDs to make the final line 45-14, but who cares.
The 38 minutes were a catastrophic failure in every phase of football. When the only thing that works is a fake punt from the part of the play book titled “desperation mode,” you know you’re in trouble.
“Oh yeah, they came out and dominated us early in the game,” said UGA coach Kirby Smart to the Georgia Radio Network. “And our defense gave up too many big plays.”
I said in my preview story on Saturday morning that you would be able to tell how this game was going by how the secondary was playing. If they were picking off Chad Kelly like they did in the second half against Missouri then the Dawgs would be fine. But if we saw a repeat of half one, this was going to be a problem.
It was a ditto.
The Tigers had 343 total yards in the first half hour, while Ole Miss put up 323 today. If the Rebels didn’t bother scoring after intercepting Jacob Eason they could have piled on even more yards.
The difference this week was Georgia’s offense proved inept and there was no hanging around for a second half miracle.
Instead the second half was a wasteland. It was Hotty Totty back to the party.
The Dawgs did run the ball a little bit better when it mattered, but not by much. And Eason finally looked like the teenager he is.
The freshman was 7-for-21 for 64 yards in the first half. He finished — and this is with numbers against the scrubs — 16-for-36 for 137.
It didn’t help he was running for his life again.
“We’ve got to execute better on offense,” says Smart. “Look at the end of the day, we didn’t execute well.”
No Georgia didn’t execute well, but it also has a bigger issue.
Talent. They just aren’t good enough.
Despite this being a new era and all that, there is only one player on that field that wasn’t here last year when Georgia went two full games without scoring a touchdown.
There’s new coaches and a new QB, but there still doesn’t appear to be much skill.
Nick Chubb can be a stud, but now he’s got an ankle problem and couldn’t finish the second half. The offensive line has it’s issues and the receiving corps is underwhelming. Running the ball from here on out will continue to be a struggle. Especially since no one will respect the passing game enough to back off.
North Carolina was just a mirage. They were a bad defense that made Georgia look spectacular. Now we are starting to see the truth.
And the truth hurts today. There is still a long way to go.
“I’ll be honest with you,” said Smart, “we haven’t played a complete game yet. We haven’t played a real good game yet. And that’s kind of how this one was. We’ve won some games, but we didn’t play real good in several other games.”
Georgia is 3-1 but they are fortunate to be there. All of the Dawgs flaws were on display in this baking heat for all the SEC to see.
The season is now more than 25 percent complete. The Bulldogs know they can win when they aren’t playing great and that’s good. But now we know now the margin of error is slim.
Catastrophe isn’t far off.
There are still trophies out there to be won and Georgia should still be able to compete in its division.
An SEC East championship would be a thrill for Kirby Smart in year one. But that’s not the prize that everyone wants in the end.
This was Georgia’s worst loss since the 2011 SEC Championship game when LSU rocked the Dawgs 42-10. UGA was happy to be there and knew it wasn’t playing in the Tigers league. They aren’t playing in the same league with Ole Miss either.
The next year Mark Richt returned to the Dome and nearly won it all.
Georgia got another look at the measuring stick today and the Rebels used it to smack the Dawgs every which way they could.
No one ever said starting over was easy. Today was a reminder of exactly how hard it’s going to be.
Because coaching tricks can only go so far.