Dawgs stumble in Nashville

Rob Saye

The No. 15 Georgia Bulldogs fell to the Vanderbilt Commodores 31-27 for the first time in seven years in a game that was filled with game-changing plays.


In the first quarter, Aaron Murray surpassed Tim Tebow as the SEC’s all-time leader in total offense with a seven yard pass to tight end Arthur Lynch. That was one of the few bright spots for the Bulldogs today.


For most of the first half the Vanderbilt Commodores controlled the momentum with trickery on a fake field goal for a touchdown as well as keeping the crippled Georgia offense in check. Vandy head coach James Franklin tried to pull another trick play midway through the second quarter, however, Shaquille Wiggins sniffed the route and returned it 39-yards for the touchdown, recording Georgia’s second interception on the season and giving the Bulldogs a 17-14 lead.


Under a minute remaining in the first half, coach Richt decided to go for it on fourth down from the inside the two yard line after a first down reception by Chris Conley was reversed by the officials. The gutsy call worked out as Murray ran for the score, untouched by Vandy defenders. The Bulldogs are now 8 for 10 on fourth down conversions this season. Vandy edged Georgia 187-141 of total yards of offense.


A couple starters on both teams exited the game due to injuries. Sophomore safety Josh Harvey-Clemons left the game with 9:17 remaining in the first half with a right foot injury. Less than five minutes later in the second quarter, Commodores quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was knocked out of the game with an apparent ankle/knee injury after outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins brought him down awkwardly for the sack. Freshman Patton Robinette replaced Carta-Samuels for the remainder of the game.


Junior defensive end Ray Drew, who leads the Bulldogs with five sacks, was ejected in the first half for targeting. Coach Richt claimed he didn’t see the play and would deal with it later. Early in the fourth quarter inside linebacker Ramik Wilson was also flagged with a targeting penalty but the call was ultimately reversed after further review.


Through three quarters Murray was held in check by the Vandy defense with only 98 yards through the air and winded up finishing the game with 113 passing yards.


A muffed punt late in the third quarter by Damian Swann led to a touchdown by the Commodores that cut the Georgia lead to six (27-21).  Vandy later capitalized on a high snap by Ty Frix in Georgia territory. On the following play, Jerron Seymour scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to put the Commodores up 31-27. Georgia had a chance to drive down the field for the win but freshman tailback Brendan Douglas fumbled the ball and put to rest any glimmer of hope for another come-from-behind win.


The loss is the second for the Dawgs in as many weeks and the first loss to the Commodores since 2006. The Bulldogs have a bye week next weekend before traveling to Jacksonville to take on the Florida Gators. The Bulldogs are now 4-3 overall and 3-2 in SEC play.


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