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Dawgs test the faith
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Forsyth County News
Georgia continues to test its faithful’s faith.

Saturday’s 20-13 loss to LSU stands as the latest in a seemingly endless series of games in which the Dogs performance ran the gamut from outstanding to outrageous, with very little in between.

When A. J. Green pulled a Joe Cox pass away from LSU cornerback Chris Hawkins with only 69 seconds remaining, Sanford Stadium erupted in paroxysms of joy.

Simultaneously, a good portion of Bulldog Nation grasped the obvious: Too much time remained.

That’s what things have come to with Georgia football. Even when something good happens, it usually leads to something bad. Certainly it leads the faithful to expect the worst.

Either way, it’s a sharp departure from what the faithful have come to know and love as Georgia football. Once upon a time, you expected Georgia to make the key play at the right time. Somehow, someway, you expected Georgia to find a way to win.

Saturday, many donned in red and black never truly believed, deep down, that Georgia was going to beat LSU. Even when they took that 13-12 lead with those 69 seconds left.

Wasn’t one of Newton’s laws something about every action creating an equal and opposite reaction? Newton must have envisioned these Dogs.

For two years now, we’ve watch Georgia steadfastly refuse to abandon its place among the nation’s leaders in penalties and turnovers. Saturday, miraculously, Georgia made it through the entire first half with nary a penalty or turnover.

They also scored nary a point.

You had to wonder if Newton didn’t have a point. Was the Dogs offense so focused on being turnover and penalty free that they forgot the ultimate purpose of the offense? Four first half possessions resulted in three-and-out performances. The fifth was six-and-out.

And what other team in the country could make its fans feel bad about finally forcing a turnover? Brandon Boykin ended LSU’s opening drive with an interception in the end zone. Then, inexplicably, he chose to return it, rather than down it. It wasn’t like he had acres of green grass in front of him; the play began on Georgia’s nine yard line. All 22 players on the field were in the vicinity.

Boykin’s return lasted all of two yards. The predictable three-and-out which followed set up LSU’s next possession at the Georgia 43.

Much was made of Georgia’s defense holding LSU to six first-half points. Considering that virtually the entire first half took place on Georgia’s side of the field, this was no small feat indeed.

But Georgia’s defense never got off the field, either. LSU’s first half drives lasted 7, 10, 10, 11, and 6 plays, helping to keep Georgia’s offense from getting into sync.

Of course, the maddening part came in the second half. In a reversal of the first half, the Georgia defense held LSU to a single first down during its first four possessions. Then, Georgia’s defense allowed the 13-play, 88 yard drive for the Tigers first touchdown of the day.

That drive was preceded by at least one seasoned member of Bulldog Nation musing to his daughter, “You don’t think they’re finally going to drive the ball here, do you?”

Ah, the moment of doubt and faith. Of course, you expected the defense to surrender a drive then, precisely because it had been playing so well.
Just as you expected the inert Georgia offense to spring to life and drive 60 yards in 18 plays during a drive spanning the third and fourth quarters. Where did that come from?

Likewise, the Dogs final scoring strike-6 plays, 79 yards in l:44-followed two series that amounted to nothing, and ran nothing off the clock.

Much has been made of the unjust celebration penalty that followed that score, but the fact remains that Georgia refused to cover the ensuing kickoff.

Then LSU, flagged unjustly for its own penalty celebration, covered its kickoff, stopping Boykin 11 yards into his return at the Georgia 33.

Finally, the perfect finish for this enigmatic team. The offense that rolled down the field during its previous possession put together this memorable drive: fumbled bad snap, bad snap incomplete pass, interception.

They’re doing their best to suck the faith out of the faithful.