A Costly Victory

MurrayUT_crop_north

I think I speak for most UGA football fans when I say that Saturday afternoon was one of the most stressful football games I have ever had to sit through. As a fan you feel even more powerless watching your team play away, and this weekend was no exception. There is no question that the Tennessee fans came out hard; and it seemed for a second that the fans gave the Vols enough momentum to not only tie up a two-touchdown lead at halftime, but also potentially even win. The crowd’s energy was palpable even through the TV. It reminded me of Sanford Stadium last weekend at LSU and illustrates how important a home field advantage really is.

This game was difficult to watch. Injury after injury, the Dawgs just could not seem to catch a break. Already suffering a huge loss last week when star running back Todd Gurley sprained his ankle in the first half of the LSU game, Georgia preceded to loose another RB, Keith Marshall.  While trying to catch a pass from Murray in the middle of the first quarter, Marshall was hit hard from behind and was assisted off the field. There is no official word on the extent of his knee injury. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming to see Marshall’s teammates come over one by one to give him a quick hug or pat on the back while he sat, teary eyed, on the bench. Over and over again the announcers declared that this was the story of the game, until the next two injuries. Wide receivers, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley, were both carted off the field because of right leg injuries. Only time will tell just how extensive each of these injuries are and what they will mean for the Georgia Bulldogs for the remainder of the season.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/10/05/no-6-georgia-survives-tennessee-in-sec-thriller/2929157/

 Despite all the tragedy, there were some positives to Saturday’s game (other than the win of course). Quarterback Aaron Murray had a great game notwithstanding all the drama. Murray has now surpassed former Georgia quarterback David Green for most career passing yards in SEC history. Murray’s unexpected pass to Rantavious Wooten in the final seconds allowed UGA to go into overtime. In the first drive in overtime, Tennessee’s “Pig” Howard dove into the end zone and it was ruled a touchdown, the stadium positively erupted. This was one of those rare moments when I was glad that I was able to watch the game at home because the announcers immediately called into question the accuracy of the ref’s call. Sure enough, upon review, Howard fumbled the ball and it was now a touchback. There was a slimmer of hope for the Dawgs.  After 3 downs, Marshall Morgan kicked the 47-yard winning field goal. I let out a sigh of relief.

While it would have been a great David and Goliath story for Tennessee football, Georgia really needed this win after suffering such devastating losses. While Richt is hopeful that Gurley will be back as early as the game against Missouri next weekend, but it is unclear whether Marshal, Bennett or Scott-Wesley will be back in the next few weeks or even the rest of the season. Marshal, who has a history of knee problems, could potentially be out for the rest of the season if there is a problem with his ACL. While Georgia came out on top just as we predicted, it came at a high price.

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