At halftime in Starkville, Georgia has 12 first downs to Mississippi State's six; has run more than twice as many plays; leads in passing yards (155 to 58) and rushing yards (66 to 63); and has an 10-minute advantage in time of possession -- yet still hasn't made it into the end zone and trails State 7-6 at the half. ¿Que pasa?
Simple, really -- stupid penalties (a holding call, for example, that negated what would've been a thrilling Kris Durham catch-and-run for a TD late in the second quarter) and even stupider turnovers: yet another Washaun Ealey fumble near the goal line, and a punt that boinged off of Bacarri Rambo while he was running downfield. It's not difficult to picture an alternate reality where none of those things happened and Georgia is up, oh, 17-7 right now on the Bizzaro Bulldogs . . . yet here we are.
The good news is that Mississippi State has made plenty of mistakes of their own, in both the dumb-penalty and dumb-turnover categories (seriously, that halfback-throwback pass play was doomed from the moment Chris Relf handed off); they also have yet to mount a true sustained scoring drive, as their lone TD came after an opening drive of only 53 yards. The bad news is that they've scored touchdowns on all three of their opening-second-half drives so far this season . . . and they get the ball first in the second half. Time for Todd Grantham's defense to continue chopping that wood, in other words, and another turnover or two would be swell.
Even if Georgia does mount a second-half comeback, though, it's hard to imagine this game being remembered as anything other than a butt-ugly performance by two teams locked in a death struggle to see who can trip over their own shoelaces more times than the other. If this game were a girl at your high-school reunion, it'd be the formerly uber-popular cheerleader who ended up in a loveless marriage, gained 50 pounds, and is now stationed by the buffet table trying desperately to get people to pay attention to her so she'll "feel pretty." Are we having fun yet?