Struggles on special teams have hampered Georgia the entire season. Saturday night in Nashville, they very nearly cost the Bulldogs a victory over Vanderbilt. This game saw a little bit of everything, including a post game shouting match between Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin. When the dust settled, Georgia had somehow survived against Vanderbilt 33-28.
The Bulldogs appeared to have the game well in hand when Bacarri Rambo intercepted a Jordan Rodgers pass with just 1:10 left in the game. Georgia was unable to run the clock out and lined up to punt with just 15 seconds remaining. As Drew Butler took the snap, Vanderbilt's Udom Umoh broke through the line and blocked the kick which was recovered by Kenny Ladler at the Georgia 20 yard line with just seven seconds remaining in the game.
On the next play, Jordan Rodgers' pass to Chris Boyd went just off the receiver's fingertips with just one second remaining on the clock. On second down, Rodgers completed a pass to Brandon Barden but he was stopped short of the goal line and the Bulldogs had the victory.
Then pandemonium nearly broke out in the post game hand shake as TV camera's caught an incensed Todd Grantham pointing and yelling in the direction of what appeared to be Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin. Coaches and security quickly fought to separate the two teams and usher them back to the locker room.
We are not sure what set Grantham off but he couldn't have been happy with his team's performance on defense. The Bulldogs surrendered 349 total yards to the Commodores with 200 of that total coming on the ground. Jordan Rodgers completed just four passes but ran 11 times for 80 yards.
Georgia had another dreadful performance on special teams. In addition to the blocked punt, the Bulldogs missed two field goals, allowed a 96 yard kick return touchdown, and once again fell victim to a fake punt that set up another Vanderbilt score. If not for the Commodores' four turnovers, the Bulldogs would have likely been in a world of trouble.
Aaron Murray threw for a career high 326 yards with three touchdowns and just one interception. Richard Samuel led the team in rushing with 53 yards on 15 carries. Isaiah Crowell sat out the first quarter for an undisclosed reason and was absent from the lineup for much of the second half. He finished with just 35 yards on 10 carries. Marlon Brown had the best night of his Georgia career hauling in four passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Bennett recorded seven catches for 89 yards.
Georgia did nearly everything they could to give this game away but somehow found a way to survive. The Bulldogs will enjoy their bye week and then prepare for their showdown in Jacksonville against Florida.
For more, join UGA blog Dawg Sports and Vanderbilt blog Anchor Of Gold.