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October 6, 2012

The Report Card

Quarterback

It wasn't that Aaron Murray made the big mistakes in this one. He didn't. He threw one interception and it was a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. He did, however, struggle mightily at almost everything else. He kept plugging away for four quarters and deserves some credit for that, but he was horribly inaccurate the entire game. In a situation where the game was 21 to 0 in the first half, Murray had a chance to hit a few throws that could have changed the landscape of the game, and he didn't. In his defense, he didn't have much help up front and he took some hits, but as the offense's leader, he never took control and gave the offense a chance to get back in it. The number one job of any quarterback is to win the game, and Murray just couldn't get it done. It was a extremely tough night for someone who is still a good football player. Grade: F

Running backs

Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley ran very hard all night. Even in the fourth quarter when a loss was eminent, the freshman running backs kept giving max effort. They didn't get much help from the offensive line and had very little running room, and that is something they can't control. What they can control, however, is their effort in pass protection. Ken Malcome got some late carries and really looked as if he was trying to make a statement against the South Carolina second team defense. On multiple occasions they were asked to chip block Jadeveon Clowney to help in pass protection and they were unable to get it done. It appeared as if they were more concerned with getting in the pass pattern, and that is something that can't happen against elite pass rushers in the future. Grade: C-

Wide receivers

The Georgia receivers had moments on Saturday where they were able to get open and make some plays in the South Carolina secondary. Rantavious Wooten was able to gain separation on a couple of occasions and showed what he can do with the ball in his hands on a screen pass in the first half. Malcolm Mitchell had a couple of big catches. Marlon Brown and Tavarres King added plays in the passing game that may have made a difference in a closer game. All of the receivers, at times, were able to get open but Murray wasn't able to make the throws. The only knock against the receivers looked to be a disinterest in blocking as the game wore on. Grade: C

Offensive line

It is hard to have a poorer performance than the Georgia offensive line on Saturday. They played one of the best defensive fronts in the country, but they did not bring their "A" game and it showed. Kenarious Gates looked like he had no chance versus Clowney all night. Dallas Lee, David Andrews, and Chris Burnette struggled mightily with Kelsey Quarles and Bryon Jerideau, but they also had a very hard time when the Gamecocks went with a full package of defensive ends. John Theus may have been the lone semblance of a bright spot as he did a pretty good job on senior defensive end Devin Taylor. Overall, the offensive line looked intimidated and never really responded to being pushed around. Grade: F

Defensive line

The Georgia defensive line gets some credit for continuing to work hard as South Carolina drove deep in the third quarter. The UGA defensive front did a decent job of closing down running lanes and limiting one of the best running backs in college football, but, at the same time, they failed again to push the pocket at all and get pressure. They also missed some key tackles up front early on that allowed the Gamecocks to pick up extra yardage. As odd as it sounds, the Georgia defensive line played better against South Carolina than they did against Tennessee, but it wasn't much better. Grade: C+

Outside linebackers

The Georgia outside linebackers have been a very consistent unit since the start of the 2011 season. This is one game, however, where this group didn't play well at all. Jarvis Jones has one of his worst games as a Bulldog as he struggled on the edge and was overly aggressive on the zone read play a couple of times. Chase Vasser didn't shed blocks like he has since his return, and missed a couple of tackles on the edge. Freshman Jordan Jenkins did some positive things and showed that he can be a big time player in the SEC, but it is tough to find many more positives in this group. Grade: C-

Inside linebackers

The Georgia inside linebackers had a game much like the defensive line. It wasn't a great performance, but they showed some toughness and played well down hill. They did a good job of containing Lattimore early on, and seemed to be doing a good job of playing with energy. Amarlo Herrera got beat a couple of times in coverage, however, and Alec Ogletree looked to be either running out of gas or effort late in the fourth quarter. Christian Robinson had some uncharacteristic plays as he took bad angles and reacted late to a couple of scrambles. Against the run, this group played better than against UT. But against the pass and for the entire game, not so much. Grade: C

Secondary

The Georgia secondary struggled in multiple ways. First of all, when they had a chance to make plays, they couldn't get it done. The most notable play was the first play from scrimmage for South Carolina when safety Bacarri Rambo had a chance to intercept a pass, but had the ball taken from him in mid air. Georgia also had trouble getting around the South Carolina game plan as it seemed like Steve Spurrier was a step ahead of the Bulldogs secondary all night. Sanders Commings and Damian Swann didn't tackle well in space, and Shawn Williams had a really bad night in regards to being to aggressive to play fakes and routes underneath him. Overall, this group struggled about as much as the offensive line. Grade: F

Special Teams

There were a few positives from this unit. The Bulldogs had a very sound return from Mitchell early on, and a blocked field goal late. That is where it stops. The biggest blow of the game was a first quarter punt that South Carolina returner Ace Sanders returned for a touchdown. It gave South Carolina even more momentum than they had at the time, and it all but sealed UGA's fate in the game. Grade: F



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