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November 11, 2012

The Report Card

Quarterback

Aaron Murray started fast and stayed hot throughout the game. His play fakes were crisp and his passes were on target all night. He completed 75 percent of his passes, threw for three scores, and lead his team to a 38-0 victory. All of that would allow him to grade out to an A for the game, but Murray did more. In the first half, Murray took a number of shots while standing in the pocket and waiting for plays to develop. Even after taking those hits, he got up and made plays. Nothing is a better example than when he had to leave the game for one play after an injury timeout, and threw a perfect pass to Tavarres King in the corner of the end zone for a score. Grade: A+

Running backs

Georgia's running backs continue to grow in every facet at the game. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall had another solid game in pass protection. Gurley is getting more involved in the passing game, and both players went over 100 yards in the same game for the third time this season. Marshall showed his excellent speed on a 62-yard touchdown and Gurley got the day started with a 49-yard run on his first carry of the game. Absolutely nothing negative from the running backs in this game and when they make explosive plays, Georgia is tough to beat. Grade: A+

Wide receivers

Much had been made about the loss of Michael Bennett and Marlon Brown to season ending ACL injuries, but the Georgia receivers responded with an excellent performance. King, while wearing Browns number 15 jersey, averaged 24.3 yards per catch and had the impressive touchdown catch in the second quarter. Malcolm Mitchell continues to capitalize on his reputation as a deep threat but catching balls underneath coverage. Chris Conley, who got most of the slot work in three receiver sets, had four catches for 32 yards and touchdown. The Georgia tight ends, Jay Rome and Arthur Lynch, also had one of their most productive games of their year with a combined for 5 catches for 46 yards. Overall, Murray had guys open all night and the Georgia receivers made the easy and tough catches. Grade: A+

Offensive line

When a team wins by 38 points and rushes for 289 yards, you'd think that the offensive line had a flawless game. That wasn't the case on Saturday. The Georgia offensive line played well for the most part. They did a solid job picking up the blitz, and they did an excellent job of handling Auburn's front seven in the run game. Freshman John Theus had a very solid game, and the interior of the UGA front five, Kenarious Gates, Dallas Lee, and David Andrews, did an excellent job of run blocking. Mark Beard looked excellent at times, but also had some struggles working against Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier. Much like last week, it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Georgia offensive line had a few breakdowns, but not as many as against Ole Miss. Murray was hit more often than they would have liked in that first half, but the offensive line cleaned things up in the second half. Overall, it was a positive performance for the Bulldog offensive line, but they need to pass protect much better early in the game. Grade: B

Defensive line

For the third straight week, the Georgia defensive line came to play and really shut down the opposing team's run game. Garrison Smith remains active up front and is consistently playing in the other team's backfield. John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers both had solid games and were double-teamed all most all night. There were a couple of situations where Georgia had to shift up front to deal with Auburn's unbalanced line, and Geathers did an excellent job playing in a wider technique. Ray Drew got solid action for the second time in two weeks, and he had a solid game of knifing into the backfield and applying pressure. The Georgia defensive line is playing its best football at the perfect time of the year. Grade: A+

Outside linebackers

This is starting to sound redundant, but Georgia's outside linebackers continue to make plays. Jarvis Jones had two sacks and two tackles for a loss. Jordan Jenkins added a sack and a tackle for a loss, and both players were constantly in position and making plays. Since Jenkins has been inserted into the starting lineup, it appears that the Georgia defense is spending a ton of time in the opposing team's backfield. When Chase Vasser returns from his shoulder injury, this group is going to be even deeper and more effective as he was playing excellent football before the injury. Grade: A+

Inside linebackers

Alec Ogletree gets better every week and is getting more and more comfortable playing down hill. When Ogletree first returned from his four-game suspension, he was piling up tackles in pursuit and down the field. In his last three games, he is doing a much better job of reading his keys and flying downhill to the football. Amarlo Herrera and Mike Gilliard rotated all game at the mike position, and both were stellar against the Auburn run game. Christian Robinson, the third-down specialist, had a huge third quarter hit that somewhat epitomized the way Georgia's defense handled the Auburn offense. Grade: A+

Defensive backs

Georgia's safety play seems to get better every week. Bacarri Rambo grabbed his second interception of the season, and Shawn Williams forced a big fumble on Auburn's only real scoring threat of the game. The cornerbacks also had solid games as Branden Smith, Damian Swann, and Sanders Commings tackled well on the edge, and never allowed the Tigers to fool them with trick plays and play action. There were times when Auburn quarterback Jonathan Wallace made plays in the 10 to 20 yard range, but Georgia didn't allow anything beyond that. That success is a big reason why Georgia was able to shut the Tigers out. Grade: A

Special Teams

Saturday was Georgia's most complete game of the season on special teams. Marshall Morgan was perfect on PATs and field goals. The coverage teams were excellent. Collin Barber averaged 47.3 yards per punt and knocked three punts inside the 20 yard line with two of them coming inside the 10 yard line. Adam Erickson added another punt inside the 10 yard line, and field position played a key role in why Georgia was able to get the shutout. Grade: A+



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