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Georgia Defense Makes Subtle Strides

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Georgia's defense performed better than South Carolina's 30 points seems to indicate. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.
Georgia's defense performed better than South Carolina's 30 points seems to indicate. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.

As soon as Georgia lost to Clemson, the predictable happened. All fans could talk about was how Mark Richt and Aaron Murray couldn't win a big game. There was no way Georgia was going to do anything as long as both were still in Athens.

To all the fans who believed that: Be quiet!

The Bulldogs hushed the critics Saturday, dominating the second half to beat South Carolina, 41-30.

Georgia did it on both sides of the ball. Murray threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns and the defense made a goal-line stand when the Gamecocks went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

Yes, the Bulldogs are young on defense, but they also have a lot of pride.

Some still point to the fact that they gave up 30 points, but two bad plays put the Gamecocks in excellent scoring position. The Gamecocks scored the play after a botched snap and players took poor angles to the ball on a 75-yard Mike Davis run that set up another touchdown.

For the most part, the defense played well.

Where Was Clowney?

Clowney did get to Murray once, but for the most part, he was ineffective against the Bulldogs' offensive line.

Clowney showed he still has a few holes in his game and at times played overaggressive. He got too far upfield on running plays and the backs were able to scoot past him. 

Another factor: Clowney was on the sideline for multiple plays, including several third downs.

In obvious passing situations, Clowney has to be on the field. The fact that he looked sluggish and needed to take a few breathers tell me his conditioning still leaves a lot to be desired.

Murray Out Of Pocket

Two of the biggest pass plays for Georgia took place when Murray got out of the pocket. He found Todd Gurley in the end zone on third-and-goal and heaved a pass to a wide-open Justin Scott-Wesley, who took it 85 yards for a touchdown.

Being a pocket passer is what allows most quarterbacks a chance to succeed in the NFL. However, a quarterback that can avoid the rush with is legs is very dangerous. Murray seemed to make great decisions on when he needed to leave the pocket, giving the Bulldogs an even better chance to win.

76 POINTS IN TWO WEEKS

Scoring touchdowns is not going to be Georgia's problem this year. They're averaging 38 points per game, and that's against two top-10 teams.

Name another team that has done that this year.

The defense will have some growing pains, but is going to be the key to the season for the Bulldogs. LSU comes to Athens in three weeks, which will be a great test for the defense. LSU is averaging 46.5 points per game, but then again, 56 of those points came against UAB.