Georgia Bulldogs: Florida Atlantic Owls

For the first time ever, the SEC had five different teams last season to win 11 or more games.

Two-time defending national champion Alabama won 13. Georgia won 12, and Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M each won 11.

Obviously, the SEC expanding by two teams helped. Previously, only one other time had as many as four teams in the league won 11 or more games in a season, and that was 2011. LSU won 13 that year, Alabama 12 and Arkansas and South Carolina each 11.

With five SEC teams cracking the top 10 in the preseason coaches' poll, it's possible that five could hit the 11-win mark again this season, although the odds are probably against that happening for a second straight season.

SportsNation

Which of the SEC teams that won 11 or more games last season is most likely to take a step back in 2013?

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    4%
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    30%
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    10%
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    12%
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    44%

Discuss (Total votes: 17,850)

Chances are somebody's going to fall off.

Who's that going to be? We'll let you make the call.

So go to our SportsNation poll and vote on which of the 11-win teams from a year ago is most likely to take a step back this season.

For what it's worth, of the five teams that won 11 or more games last season, Florida probably has the toughest schedule. The Gators have to face Georgia, LSU and South Carolina all away from home. They also have to travel to Miami the second week of the season and face Florida State at home to close the regular season.

Georgia also faces a tough slate, especially with the season opener at Clemson. The Bulldogs, though, get LSU and South Carolina at home and face Florida like they do every year in Jacksonville.

Alabama's schedule is probably the easiest of the five. The Crimson Tide open the season against Virginia Tech in Atlanta, but avoid Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in the East. They also get Ole Miss at home for the second straight season, and LSU has to come to Tuscaloosa this season.

Texas A&M's nonconference schedule is the easiest in the league, but the Aggies have to play at Ole Miss and at LSU. The biggie is Alabama at home the third week of the season.

We'll give you a few days to vote in our poll and will review the results next week.

Coveted OLB names a top five 

March, 14, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Outside linebacker Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby) isn’t exactly sure of how many offers he has. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior has not counted them. Once he had received over 30 offers to the top programs in the nation, there really seemed no point in doing so. Pugh is more concerned about the five that he has on top.

Seminoles offer junior linebacker 

January, 15, 2013
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Florida State offered one of the top junior prospects in the state for the Class of 2014 in T.J. Harrell (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) on Tuesday. Head coach Jimbo Fisher and wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey were the bearers of good news for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker.

So what did Harrell think about the offer?

"It was great," he said. "I know that Jimbo Fisher and Lawrence Dawsey were by today. It was really exciting."

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Notebook: Defense wants better starts

September, 19, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- With suspensions and injuries damaging Georgia’s defensive depth, perhaps it is no surprise that the Bulldogs have started slowly on defense in two games thus far.

Senior defensive back Sanders Commings -- who along with outside linebacker Chase Vasser missed the first two games on suspension -- said the absences of key players produced the majority of the early busted assignments. Although Commings and Vasser returned for last Saturday’s game against Florida Atlantic, the Bulldogs were still without suspended All-America safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree.

That, Commings said, is part of the reason opponents have already scored three touchdowns of 40-plus yards in three games, where the Bulldogs’ stout 2011 defense allowed only two touchdowns of that length in 14 games.

Further, they have already allowed 11 plays that covered 25 yards or more -- five to Buffalo and three each to Missouri and Florida Atlantic.

(Read full post)

DawgNation on the radio

September, 18, 2012
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The Georgia Bulldogs rolled up the FAU Owls with a record setting performance. DawgNation joined ESPN’s Athens affiliate 960 The Ref to talk about the game and the upcoming grudge match with Vanderbilt. Some of the topics that were covered include: Listen to the radio show here.

Notebook: Patience pays off for Lynch 

September, 17, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Arthur Lynch preached patience last week when discussing how Georgia’s tight ends had just one reception to their credit in the Bulldogs’ first two games.

Lynch’s patience finally paid off in Saturday night’s win against Florida Atlantic, with the junior catching three passes for 73 yards and his first college touchdown. And he could have finished with four grabs for 101 yards, but a holding penalty against center David Andrews canceled out a 28-yard Lynch catch in the third quarter.

“All my guys, all my friends and random fraternity guys on campus would be like, ‘You guys have got to come on. Tight ends, tight ends.’ It was like, ‘Be patient guys. It’ll happen.’ And it did. We had some great plays called and we executed them when we had to.”

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Bulldogs 10: Week 3 power rankings 

September, 17, 2012
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Jarvis Jones AP Photo/Paul AbellThere's no doubting a guy's value when he's out for a week and still tops UGA's power rankings. The Bulldogs simply must have Jarvis Jones and his pass rush back next weekend.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s record-setting 56-20 rout of Florida Atlantic was clearly a night for the Bulldogs’ offense with several players establishing career highs.

The Bulldogs’ offense is on the move in this week’s player rankings, although All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones maintains the top spot despite missing the FAU game with an injury. We’re expanding the list from seven players to 10 this week and will continue to update the rankings each Monday to reflect the key players’ performances.

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Video: Aaron Murray interview

September, 16, 2012
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DawgNation's Radi Nabulsi speaks with Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who set a career-high with 342 passing yards in the Bulldogs' 56-20 victory over Florida Atlantic. He threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more. Murray spoke about his performance and why the running backs might be annoyed with him.

Random thoughts from UGA-FAU 

September, 16, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Some late-night notes and thoughts following Georgia’s 56-20 destruction of Florida Atlantic on Saturday night.

* I wrote a ton about Georgia’s offensive explosion already, so we won’t delve into that too much here. The story of the game was a bit different when FAU had 263 yards at halftime. Sophomore linebacker Amarlo Herrera explained the problem to me after the game:

“It was just another bad start,” he said. “We had too many mental errors. We weren’t communicating that good out there. We got that corrected.”

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Short-handed defense adjusts again 

September, 16, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- If Todd Grantham has proven anything in Georgia’s last three games, it’s that he is a pro at making halftime adjustments. Of course, the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator hopes his charges will improve to the point that those adjustments won’t be such a necessity.

On top of still-suspended stars Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree, the Bulldogs were also without injured All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones for Saturday night’s game against Florida Atlantic. And Jones’ absence was noticeable, as the Owls scored on back-to-back possessions between the first and second quarters before the Bulldogs finally began to pull away.

“We got them to third down a good bit, but we couldn’t get them off the field,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose defense allowed Florida Atlantic to convert on eight of 12 third-down chances in the first half. “Guys like Jarvis get you off of the field. Obviously we’ve seen that with him. So I think it affected us.

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Instant analysis: Georgia 56, FAU 20

September, 15, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Although Florida Atlantic (1-2) kept things close for most of the first half, No. 7 Georgia (3-0) efficiently pulled away for a 56-20 win to achieve a 3-0 start for the first time since 2008.


It was over when: A six-touchdown favorite, Georgia led just 28-14 at halftime but scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter -- on a 36-yard Arthur Lynch catch and a 38-yard Todd Gurley run -- to end any thought of an FAU upset.

Game ball goes to: Gurley and Keith Marshall. The two freshmen both rushed for more than 100 yards, marking the first time since last year’s Auburn game (Isaiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas) that two Bulldog backs both broke the 100-yard barrier and the first time since 2004 against Vanderbilt (Danny Ware and Thomas Brown) that two freshmen accomplished the feat. Marshall finished with 10 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown, and Gurley ran 10 times for 111 yards and a score.

Stat of the game: 713. Without injured All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, Georgia’s defense didn’t have its best night. But the offense had no such issues, rolling up 713 yards of total offense in the blowout victory. That broke the school single-game record for total offense -- previously 667 yards -- set in 1993 against Southern Mississippi.

Turning point: It was only a 21-14 game when Georgia’s Michael Bennett caught a 67-yard touchdown pass with 1:34 left in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a two-touchdown halftime lead.

Record performances: In addition to the total offense record, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray set a new career high with 342 passing yards on 14-for-19 passing. Marshall and Gurley’s rushing yardage set new career highs, and Bennett (four catches for 110 yards) and Lynch (3 for 73) both had career-best receiving numbers. Florida Atlantic also set a new mark for most yards allowed, breaking the previous record of 651 against Troy in 2009.

Halftime analysis: UGA 28, FAU 14

September, 15, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- A game Florida Atlantic (1-1) club made the first half interesting, but No. 7 Georgia (2-0) seems to have it well in hand after scoring a long touchdown late in the second quarter to go up by two touchdowns, 28-14.


Stat of the half: 8-for-12. Florida Atlantic was surprisingly efficient on third down against a Georgia defense that has been one of the nation’s most dominant units on third down since the start of last season. The Owls converted 8 of 12 chances to make it a much closer game than most anticipated.

Player of the half: Aaron Murray. Among several long passes, Georgia quarterback Murray stood in the pocket until the very last second before launching a 64-yard touchdown pass to Michael Bennett that helped the Bulldogs go up 28-14 at halftime. Murray was 8-for-10 for 193 yards with one passing touchdown and two rushing scores.

What’s working for Georgia: The Bulldogs’ offense had its way for the most part. A fumble lost by UGA tight end Arthur Lynch near midfield led to an FAU touchdown, but otherwise Georgia’s offense has been dominant, rolling up 367 yards and 28 points in the first half.

What’s not working for Georgia: With All-America linebacker Jarvis Jones sidelined by an injury, Georgia’s depth-deprived defense had a sluggish first half. Aside from its problems on third down, the Bulldogs allowed 263 yards of total offense in the first two quarters.

UGA players weigh in on kickoff times

September, 14, 2012
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The news that Georgia would play its next two games after 7:30 p.m. ET was met with mixed reviews by the players and fans. We spoke with Mark Richt and some of the Bulldogs'players to see what they preferred, teeing it up early or running out under the lights.

Game preview: FAU at Georgia

September, 14, 2012
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FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT NO. 7 GEORGIA
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Sanford Stadium/Athens, Ga.
CSS/ESPN3

Records: Georgia 2-0 (1-0 SEC), Florida Atlantic 1-1 (0-1 Sun Belt)

Last week: Georgia beat Missouri 41-20. Florida Atlantic lost, 31-17, to Middle Tennessee.

What’s the story? This weekend’s non-conference game against a Florida Atlantic team that won just one game last season is Georgia’s final tuneup before diving into the bulk of its SEC schedule. The Bulldogs are heavy favorites today and their starters should be watching from the sidelines for most of the second half -- which is a good thing since they will face conference opponents in each of the next seven games.

Three Headlines:
1. Look who’s back: Georgia’s defense takes another step back toward full strength this week with cornerback Sanders Commings and outside linebacker Chase Vasser’s return from two-game suspensions. The Bulldogs are excited about the defense’s capabilities once safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree join them on the active roster following suspensions of their own.

2. Owls to the slaughter: Florida Atlantic, which defeated Wagner 7-3 in its opener and lost 31-17 at Middle Tennessee a week ago, now has the pleasure of playing Georgia and defending BCS champion Alabama in consecutive weeks. Georgia is a six-touchdown favorite this week and the point spread will probably be even bigger when the Owls visit Tuscaloosa next Saturday.

3. Ready for Russ: Everyone’s favorite interim mascot, Russ the English bulldog, will finally be coronated as Uga IX during a pregame ceremony. Russ has served as Georgia’s sideline mascot at points since 2009, posting a 16-9 record while wearing the collar.

Players to watch:
Georgia
1. Commings: Commings’ return should help alleviate some of Georgia’s concerns in the secondary. He started 23 games over the previous two seasons at cornerback, but can also play safety -- and he probably will until Rambo is back on the field.

(Read full post)

By the numbers: FAU at Georgia 

September, 14, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each week, the good folks at ESPN Stats and Information will help us take a look inside the numbers that matter prior to Georgia’s games. We’ll share some of their data here on the blog every Friday this fall.

FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT NO. 7 GEORGIA
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Sanford Stadium/Athens, Ga.

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