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Dawgs undefeated in 2009

January 2, 2009
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Official Logo

I actually had the privilege of attending yesterday’s Capital One Bowl in Orlando, and I have several impressions outside of just game commentary that merit posting. If you don’t follow me on Twitter (look to the right sidebar) already or want a bite-sized synopsis of the game, check out the live blog I tweeted during and before the game (you’ll have to click “Older” at the bottom of the page at least 3 times to rewind to the beginning). It’s got most of my game impressions and some random thoughts and pics. I’ll put some of the pics in here for those too lazy to click the above link. Apologies for the photo quality, they were taken with my phone. But for what didn’t make it into the tweets, here are some more thoughts:

I respectfully disagree about Orlando: That had to be the worst city I’ve been to for a college football experience…ever. Bar none. The whole town smelled. The parking was incredibly sketchy (wish I’d taken a picture). FanFest was a joke. You had to buy $10 passes to get in, which was expected, but we were directed to buy them at a nonexistent booth or to “find the girls walking around selling them.” All right. That narrows it down. Don’t look for the guys. And since there were only like 100,000 females around, this was a very helpful suggestion. The parking lots were a joke, and the charter buses risked taking out handfuls of people at every turn. Did I mention that the town smelled? We finally narrowed it down to something between a horse manure pile and a bad carnival stench, neither of which is very appealing, as you can probably imagine. I hope I never have to attend another football game in Orlando. Or in the state of Florida, for that matter.

The view from our seats on TwitPic

On Matt Stafford: ABC’s announcers said it best; sometimes you just have “off” days as a quarterback. I can deal with that. Stafford was jacked up for the game, which explains his handful of overthrows. But he settled down in the 2nd half, looking every bit the NFL prospect scouts think he is. But all of his throws aside, the moment that inspired me the most was the tackle he made after his INT in the first half to save a touchdown. I can’t find any clip of it on YouTube, so if you happen to find one, let me know and post it in the comments. Yes, he slid baseball-style on his first down run in the 2nd half, but he manned up and made a great tackle to save the pick-6. And he had pretty decent form. He could teach some of our DBs and LBs the basics on taking an angle to the ball carrier. And PLEASE come back for another year.

On Michigan State fans: They sure were a rowdy bunch. They were at least as dressed up (aka wearing their team colors…not actually “getting dressed up” like we would define it on North Campus in Athens) as the Dawg fans were, and they had their fair share of fanatics (see: man in full 300-style Spartan outfit, and green & white guy without a shirt but with a flag and videocamera riding a bicycle). They were hyped for the game and generally seemed ecstatic to be playing a fairly big-time bowl against a big-time program. They were definitely smiling more than the disappointed bunch of Dawgs who showed up. And they packed the stands on their side of the stadium. And they were louder at times than the whole UGA contingent, even though they seemed outnumbered nearly 4-1.

The Dawgs take the field! on TwitPic

On Georgia fans: I’d heard that Georgia fans don’t travel well. I’d scoffed at that. But I’ve seen the evidence. I know I’m at least as guilty as any, as I would’ve attended any BCS bowl this year, but didn’t even want to go to the Cap One until a ticket literally fell in my lap about five days ago. We couldn’t sell out our allotment, and there were literally thousands of empty seats in the Georgia sections. And to top it all off, the empty seats were mostly orange colored. Gross.

Speaking of orange: There were a disgusting amount of Gator chomps on the big screen during the game. Gator fans love shoving our noses in defeat, but look at it this way: The Gators headed to the Capital One last year and are in the national title this year. And I’d say we’ve got a leg up on them because we actually left Orlando with another win.

On Georgia Tech: You got what was coming to you. Ha.

On the NFL and preseason rankings: A Dawg fan informed me that ESPN’s already given us preseason #1 if Stafford and Knowshon both come back for another year. My colleague Matthew at the VC said inside sources (read: voodoo magic tricks) have told him Stafford’s gone, Knowshon’s staying. If both of them go, that touch pass to the end zone for the TD was an NFL-caliber play if I’ve ever seen one. It’d be a good one for either of them to go out on. That being said, I know they both heard the Georgia contingent screaming “ONE MORE YEAR! ONE MORE YEAR!” at the end of the game. Knowshon took a second before huddling back up to turn to the crowd and nod (read into that what you will), and Stafford subtly turned his ear to listen as he waited for the end of the TV timeout. I’d love to see both of them back for another year, that’s for sure. UPDATE: Todd McShay just listed Knowshon as one of the three players whose draft stock went up over the past few bowls. He listed Knowshon’s versatility (all-purpose yards yesterday totalled 125) as a huge plus. He also listed Stafford as his #3 most NFL-ready QB prospect behind Sam Bradford and everyone’s new favorite bandwagon Mark Sanchez.

We found the Big Dawg! on TwitPic

On the bowl itself: The only good things about the pregame festivities and the halftime shows were the national anthem and the fighter jet flyover. Everything else was terrible. A group of castoff high school cheerleaders who can’t keep time if you gave them a digital watch? A “high school mascot” challenge that’s really a bunch of overrated college mascots. The Iowa State mascot winning the competition? It was an overall terrible presentation. They need to get back to whatever drawing board they have…and soon. Good grief. But they did have some legit kettle korn. So there’s that.

And now some video highlights courtesy of the Good Senator:

1) Stafford-to-Moore for the TD comes around 9:17. Caleb’s screen pass comes right before. Witness the announcers making commentary love to Stafford after his TD pass.

2) Stafford-to-Knowshon comes at 9:24. I could watch both those passes all day. Beauty. The Senator calls it bittersweet…I’d agree.

3) Reshad’s pick comes around 4:20. I called a pick-6 right as they snapped the ball and almost came through. Witness the shoulder bump Reshad shrugs off during his return. Bowl win with a side of irony.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. cchiego permalink
    January 4, 2009 1:18 am

    Good visual recap of the game. I agree about the Stafford tackle- that took some serious open-field tackling skill and the INT wasn’t entirely his fault. Still, I have to wonder if our offense would’ve done better this season with a lesser QB who threw a softer ball with more consistency. I can’t see either him or Knowshon staying though; next year we’ll have to see what Joe Cox, Caleb King, and AJ Green can do. You think Georgia’s on the upswing in the long-term or are we going to keep plateauing around 5-15ish nationally each year?

  2. bamadog permalink*
    January 4, 2009 5:51 pm

    I hear what you’re saying about the softer ball thing, and I would’ve agreed with you…last year. But if you remember the first few games of the year, our WRs were grabbing every ball that came our way, and Stafford was sure firing them in there as hard as ever. So I don’t think that’s the problem at all. And, as much as Cox led us back against Colorado in ’06, there are definite reasons that he never beat Stafford out for the actual starting job. I’m much more excited about Mettenberger and Murray coming up in the next recruiting class.

    On the topic of whether we’re in a permanent upswing, I think yes. I think we’ll end up top 5 if either Stafford or Knowshon comes back, but I do see next year as a semi-rebuilding year for us, unfortunate as it is to say. Of course…that’s what we all thought about the Shockley year in ’05, so who knows?

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