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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
9/23/2006 03:57:00 PM

Saturday Observations Part II

Oakland Arena
Joe Cox threw the game-winning touchdown to Martrez Milner with 46 seconds left.
Wow. A game that seemed like such a colossal mismatch that its biggest pregame storyline involved the teams' mascots turned out to be one of the most eventful of the season to date. No. 9 Georgia (4-0) narrowly escaped what would have been a stunning upset to 0-3 Colorado. But the Dawgs may also have found themselves a quarterback -- and it's not the one most people expected.

We knew going in that Georgia's offense was very much a question (and that Colorado's defense had actually performed well going in) but for three quarters, the Dawgs could not move the ball at all. Freshman QB Matthew Stafford struggled. His receivers dropped a boatload of open passes. And Georgia's stable of running backs -- which incidentally, have never wowed me -- couldn't get anything going.

Down 13-0 late in the third quarter and in desperate need of a spark, head coach Mark Richt replaced the highly touted Stafford with redshirt freshman Joe Cox -- and the game immediately changed. Cox proceeded to go 10-of-13 for 153 yards and two touchdowns, including the 20-yard game winner to tight end Martrez Milner with 46 seconds remaining, to pull out a 14-13 win. Richt, who's been answering quarterback questions for nine months now, will be answering plenty more this week unless he immediately hands over the job to Cox. His poise and command were certainly impressive.

The good news for Georgia is it didn't lose. The bad news is, the game exposed just how flawed the Dawgs' offensive skill players are -- for all his accolades, receiver Mohamed Massaquoi drops nearly as many passes as he catches -- and that their defense isn't as superhuman as some thought. Needing a last-minute touchdown to beat an 0-3 Big 12 team that came in ranked 115th in the country in offense won't help Georgia's national rep any. And it certainly puts a damper on that whole "SEC is indisputably the best" argument that I presumptuously laid out this week.

For Colorado, while the nature of the loss was heartbreaking, in the long term it should provide a major morale boost for Dan Hawkins' program. The Buffs, losers of eight in a row, came into this one absolutely reeling and played the No. 9 team in the country to the wire on its home field. That should give Buffs fans ample reason to hope that the misery will end soon.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |


Posted: 4:23 PM   by haha
your funny ..a win is a win..sec football speed atheletes and balls .let it all hang out.at the end of the day no matter what the score is georgia and sec wins.i guess your a usc fan..haha cal wash oregon and arizona state..what joke ..and u wonder why lynch only had 75 yards against tenn ..good defense and speed something usc dont have and none of there opponents have.a win is a win ..
Posted: 4:42 PM   by Evan
Stewart that's why you rock, some guys would write that SEC piece and then act like it never happened (ala the GameDay crew) but at least you own up to the possibility of an error in analysis. Now if my Buckeyes could just wakeup and overcome the bad weather. Oh, and where the heck did JoePa go?
Posted: 4:51 PM   by Anonymous
Thats okay stewert, you rarely give us credit and if our RB's don't wow you so what? Its a good thing your not a pro scout because you would be fired for missing on all of them. Keep sucking up to ND, Mich, and USC, that's what you do best...and the SEC IS the best conference.

You heard him, folks. If you question an SEC team's 14-13 victory over an 0-4 team, it must mean you're a USC fan.
Posted: 5:38 PM   by Dr. Dave
So, maybe the Big 12 North isn't totally "dead to you" after all, eh, Stewart?? Your comments in your blog earlier this week on Missouri, and the Big 12 North in general, were disturbing. And everyone has been saying "USC was 'out of synch' against Nebraska", and thus only the 28 points from the new media demi-god, John David Booty" - did anyone ever stop to think that some of that "out of sync" look just MIGHT have been a result of some decent defense by Nebraska (except against Jarrett...)? Fooey on East Coast media bias!
Posted: 6:33 PM   by Anonymous
This is an unforeseen development. Georgia fans making the Oklahoma whiners look normal? Children, if they hadn't eked out a win over the worst team in Big 12 history your Dawgs would be forced to open their next game wearing skirts. welcome to the Music City Bowl.
Posted: 7:32 PM   by Anonymous
The only thing I object to is the notion that this game showed that "their defense isn't as superhuman as some thought". I don't see how holding ANY 1-A team to 13 points could be considered bad.
Posted: 8:27 PM   by Anonymous
UGA has got to drop in both polls for that stinker. It happened at home folks...at HOME. As far as "holding" them to 13 points? What do you have to say about Colorado "holding" Georgia to 14 points?
Posted: 11:51 AM   by Anonymous
Go Rutgers, Now lets get down to the matter at hand. The problem here is assuming that colorado is a bad team. If I was a buff fan, I would be all over Mandel at the moment. Colorado simply was suffering from what many teams suffer from when new head coach appears on the scene. One word can be used to describe it "Synergy" and guess it what it showed up against Georgia. As for Georgia, Coming back and winning against such adversity and lackluster performance shows a heart of a champion not a bust as some would like to now say. Lets just remember Ohio State a few years ago when they came so close to losing so many games that people claimed were bad competition yet they beat Miami and the rest is history. I do not believe Georgia is capable of pulling that off with a freshman quaterback in the SEC but to tout them as being anything less than tenacious is wrong! Georgia has a history of sometimes not showing up until the fourth quarter of a game. Perhaps Richt will find an answer to that problem! We will have to wait and see but kudos to Colorado for showing they are a team to still be reckoned with when they really want to. NOw for my final peiece. Rutgers, Wake Forest, Louisville, which one is for real.. still impressive though. My heart is with Rutgers as they have been a nobody for so long. Till next time..
Posted: 11:59 AM   by Anonymous
Hmm, reminds me of how all the media blasted my beloved Hurricanes when they got smoked by the Canadiens and fell to 0-2 before winning the whole damn thing!! This is what I'm thinking you guys are doing to a team that just beat a buffs team in great come from behind fashion with a freshman quaterback. Looks like the Buffs finally showed up to play just a little too late in the season. As for Georgia being bad.. I don't think so! I'm not saying they will win the SEC or anything like that with a freshman quaterback but they simply brushed off adversity and found a way to win. Good teams do that from time to time when they have a bad day. Hey we all have a bad day only to show we can sometimes pull out a miracle when we reach down deep into ourselves. A win is 90 percent heart and mind and 10 percent talent. Just talk to the Hurricanes they were a bunch of almost nobodys and yet they are champions. Much to the chagrin of the media that hates them! Why because they are not the flashy type.. just like the dawgs. Hmmm.... oh yeah what else happened, Boston College got beat by a team that lost to lowly Akron. Guess what when the heart and the head is working together teams can get beat!!
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