The Georgia Bulldogs took care of business against the struggling Appalachian State Mountaineers on Saturday, overcoming a slow start that saw the team hold a slim 7-6 advantage through the start of the second quarter to outscore the Mountaineers 38-0 the rest of the way.
Games of the Southern Conference variety tend to be forgetful, but Bulldogs’ fans may very well remember this matchup thanks to the play of senior quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray had a great game against App State, completing 19 passes on 26 attempts for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns, which set a new SEC record for touchdown passes in a career (the previous record holder was Florida’s Danny Wuerffel with 114). As important as Murray having a solid outing was, Dawgs fans had to have been delighted to see the appearance of junior backup quarterback Hutson Mason, who relieved Murray in the fourth quarter for the first time all year and promptly completed 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia’s defense certainly has been lost at times this season, and although most would expect a team from the Southeastern Conference to wallop any FCS opponent, holding any team to three field goals has got to be a great accomplishment for a defense that came into the matchup giving up a little over twenty-nine points per game. Still struggling to adjust after a mass exodus on the defense following last season, the Dawgs’ defense frustrated Appalachian State for the better part of four quarters, ultimately only giving up two field goals and 253 yards while forcing 2 turnovers–one fumble and one interception–and five punts. There really is not a great deal of value in dominating a team like Appalachian State, but if anything this game showed the defense that they were capable of slowing down an opposing offense, hopefully creating a boost in morale for a unit that was fresh off giving up seventeen points against an anemic Florida offense.
Hopefully this win over the not-so-mighty Mountaineers will give Georgia momentum (yes, that’s how bad it’s gotten at this point) going into this Saturday’s game, when the Bulldogs head to Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on the #9 Auburn Tigers. Viewed by most as being in rebuilding mode this season, Gus Malzahn’s 9-1 Tigers have played outstanding, thanks in part to the play of quarterback Nick Marshall. A former defensive back for the Bulldogs who was booted from the program back in 2011, the Pineview, Georgia native has shown off his dual-threat ability game in and game out for Auburn, and through ten games he has thrown for 1,301 yards and eight touchdowns and has rushed for 734 yards with seven touchdowns. The Bulldogs are 1-0 in 2013 against former Dawgs, but it will take a great effort from the Georgia defense if the Dawgs want to upset the Tigers.