Wounded Dawgs fall at Clemson

Rob Saye

Despite racking up 545 yards of total offense and scoring 35 points, the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs fell to the No. 8 Clemson Tigers 38-35 in a game that was full of big plays and missed opportunities.

On the first play from scrimmage, the Dawgs’ defense swarmed Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and brought him down for the sack. It appeared as if it would be a good night for the Dawgs. However, missed opportunities and penalties were a prime reason the Bulldogs are now in the loss column.

Georgia and Clemson traded a couple of touchdowns in the first quarter, a quarter that had a plethora of big plays.

The Bulldogs responded to Clemson’s first touchdown of the game when sophomore running back Todd Gurley ripped of a career-long 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the series. Offensive guard Chris Burnett, fullback Quayvon Hicks and tight end Arthur Lynch opened up a giant running lane for Gurley that allowed him make a B-line to “the house.” Gurley finished the game with 12 carries for 152 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Clemson wasted no time and on the next play from scrimmage, Boyd found wide receiver Sammy Watkins over the middle. Watkins broke an arm tackle by cornerback Damien Swann and darted 77 yards to the end zone to go up 14-7.

After the first quarter came to an end both teams combined for 397 yards of total offense and 28 points.

In the second quarter the Dawgs went up 21-14 with an impressive 97-yard drive that began with a 37-yard run from the Dawgs’ own three-yard line by fullback Hicks on his first career carry. Hicks then capped off the long drive with a four-yard touchdown run with 13 minutes remaining in the half.

Before halftime, Clemson capitalized on a Georgia turnover when Aaron Murray fumbled on Clemson’s 21-yard line due to a sack by the Tigers. Clemson tied the game up at 21 with a 2-yard touchdown run by Boyd with 3:51 in the first half.

After three consecutive scoring drives, Georgia failed to score on six consecutive drives, while adding to its self-imposed nine penalties for 84 yards.

In the second half, the Clemson defense appeared to take over the line of scrimmage and bully the Georgia offensive line. The Tigers’ four down linemen were beating five of the Bulldogs’ offensive linemen and putting pressure on Murray. Murray was sacked four times and turned the ball over twice. Boyd took control and finished the game with 270 yards through the air, 42 on the ground and five total touchdowns.

Clemson caught a break when long snapper Nathan Theus sent the snap high on the Bulldogs attempt to tie the game up at 31 with the field goal. That play gave Clemson the ball back with a three point advantage, and the Tigers essential broke the backs of Georgia by driving for a touchdown and extending the fourth quarter lead to 10 points.

Gurley and the Dawgs still showed plenty of fight in the final minutes of the game scoring quickly to bring the Dawgs within three. Nevertheless, the Tigers were able to recover an onside kick and put a damper on any thoughts about a possible come from behind win for the visitors.

The Bulldogs will need to shrug the loss off quickly as they host South Carolina next Saturday. Murray is now 1-10 against top 10 teams.



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