DawgBites: Georgia Bulldogs lose in South Carolina, again


Each week, ATL All Day Staff Writer Travis Jaudon will give his thoughts and share his questions on the previous week’s Georgia Football Game. Feel free to tweet @jaudonsports or email Travis with your questions/thoughts from the previous game if you want your voice heard in the column.

In its first SEC game of 2014, the Georgia Bulldogs lost (another) heartbreaker in Columbia at the hands of Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks. The game ended with a controversial first down after the Gamecocks elected to use a quarterback sneak to convert on 4th and inches from midfield. After the play, as the chain gang ran onto the field and began stretching the links for measurement, I couldn’t help but to think back to the heartbreaks Georgia has had recently, and how this game was sure to end in another heartbreak. Soon enough, the officials signaled first down, and the Dawgs were 0-1 in the SEC.

Watching the tape of this game was not fun as a Georgia fan, but it was very revealing. Before going into specifics that I noticed, let me give you some basic statistics from the game.

StatGeorgiaSouth Carolina
Total Plays/Yards60/40872/447
Passing Completions/Yards16/19121/271
Rushing Attempts/Yards38/21742/176
Time of Possession28:3331:27

So as you can see, it isn’t as if Georgia was embarrassed by South Carolina like they were two years ago in Columbia, but this game, unlike Clemson, was tight the whole time. That makes it easier to see any problems with the team because every snap is meaningful, every play matters. Unfortunately, the Dawgs came up a couple plays short in this one. Lets get to it.


  1. Georgia was not a threat to throw downfield. This absolutely killed Georgia on offense. The Dawgs, and Hutson Mason specifically, averaged only 8.7 yards per pass attempt against South Carolina. That isn’t necessarily a terrible statistic for Mason, but it does suggest that he is looking to throw the ball on timing routes at the linebacker level. That doesn’t sound like a great strategy against a defense that admittedly was stacking the box to stop the run.
  2. Hutson Mason must improve his pocket presence. When I looked back at Mason’s 24 drop-backs for the game a disturbing pattern began taking place. Mason got rid of the football within 2 seconds of the snap on all but three of his throws. He was sacked twice, so that means that 19 separate passing plays saw Hutson Mason looking for a receiver who had less than two seconds to run the route. The most obvious, and perhaps, costly decision by Mason to throw short came in the second quarter on the third down preceding Marshall Morgan’s first missed field goal. Mason had a good pocket to throw out of with Michael Bennett running 10-and-in from the right. Rather than waiting for Bennett’s route to develop, Mason chose (quickly) to throw towards Blake Tibbs on the opposite side of the field. The pass was knocked down, and Georgia came up with no points on the drive.
  3. Through two games, it looks like Georgia is struggling to get in the “right play” on offense. Hutson Mason doesn’t call the plays, Mike Bobo does. But it looks to me like Mason has either not been given the authority to change the play at the line, or he just doesn’t read the defenses well. Regardless, something is hindering the Bulldogs from getting in the “right play” more often than not. The 1st and goal play that fans have been complaining about is a perfect example. The screen to Hicks was called, but there was one-on-one coverage outside with Chris Conley while the other ten Gamecock defenders were in the box. I say they should have run it, but either way, the play should have been changed at the line. It wasn’t however, and the Bulldogs came away with no points.
  4. Jeremy Pruitt played a ton of guys early and often on his defense. The Georgia defense was on the field for almost 11 minutes in the first quarter. The ball control for Carolina really set the tone for the rest of the game. All told 20 different players made an appearance on the Georgia D. I’m not sure if Jeremy Pruitt going so deep on the depth chart was a reactionary move to the Gamecocks ball control or if it was a preconceived plan. Guys like James DeLoach and Josh Dawson saw more snaps than anyone outside the locker room thought they would. I won’t question Pruitt’s methods, but I will say that this particular one didn’t seem to work.
  5. Dylan Thompson was under very little pressure throughout the game. The Georgia pass rush that exploded in the second half against Clemson was nowhere to be seen Saturday in Columbia. They managed just one sack and three QB hits. Leonard Floyd, Ray Drew, and Jordan Jenkins had quiet games and, at times, each of them seemed to be frustrated with the balance of the Gamecock offense. The defensive line will have to generate more pressure to try and mask the weaknesses of the Georgia secondary. With that being said, Pruitt and company can’t really afford to send pressure all that often. If the linebackers blitz, tight ends tend to scorch the middle of the field against Georgia. Tight ends like Rory Anderson of South Carolina; he led the Gamecocks in receiving on Saturday catching five balls for a touchdown and 67 yards.

Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of the Georgia Bulldogs throughout the 2014 season.