By Jon Barker -Future Voices
On a night where Georgia was trying to win its 8th bowl game under Coach Mark Richt and avoid its first losing season in 14 years, Georgia was simply outplayed and outcoached by the UCF Knights of Conference USA. Wide Receiver, Tavarras King said after the loss,
“We prepared hard for this game. We spoke about not being a trivia question. We didn’t want to go out with a losing record, now we have to focus and prepare for next year. That’s all we can do.”
Reaching a new low point in an already tumultuous season the Bulldogs performance was simply underwhelming. The defense looked slow and effortless while the offense never got in rhythm. Scoring only 6 points in the 10-6 loss, Quarterback Aaron Murray completed just 55% of his passes with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The lone highlight in the game for UGA was the play of Junior A.J. Green whom likely made his final appearance in Red and Black. Eligible for the 2011 NFL draft many feel he will forgo his senior season as he is likely a top 5 pick in the draft. Green caught 8 passes for 77 yards including a critical 13 yard reception on 4th down with less than 2 minutes to play, giving the bulldog nation hope that UGA could mount a last minute touchdown drive. The game subsequently ended a few plays later when Murray took an ill advised sack with 30 seconds remaining forcing UGA to try a last play Hail Mary that ended with a UCF defender swatting the ball to the ground securing UCF’s first bowl victory in school history.
Richt whom has been in the hot seat all year certainly was hoping to avoid this loss but it appears for the time being that he will get at least one more year to turn things around in Athens. For what it’s worth, I personally believe UGA should allow him the opportunity to right the ship. He is too good of a coach and more importantly too good of a person to let go. It’s like a marriage, you will have your ups and downs but through it all you remain together. Richt has certainly had his high points here, most notably the 2008 Sugar Bowl victory against Hawaii. UGA will bounce back next year and it will because of Richt that they do so. As many of you are aware recruiting plays a large role in the success of top tier college programs. Under Richt, UGA has always had a top ranked recruiting class and this year should be no exception. February 2nd marks National Signing Day where high school football players sign a letter of intent to play for their school of choice. Richt has already secured 16 verbal commitments for the class of 2011 although they are not considered binding commitments until national signing day. UGA is also in the running for many other highly recruited players including Carver/Columbus running back Isaiah Crowell whom many feel will make the same impact as a freshman that Marcus Lattimore made at South Carolina this year. Crowell and 3 other prospects that have narrowed their college choices down to 2 schools including UGA will be playing in the Under Armour All America bowl this Wednesday, January 5, 2011 and will be nationally televised on ESPN. At least one of the 3 players, Quan Bray, will be announcing his decision live during the game. UGA could largely benefit from the exposure and would certainly help Georgia close strong on the 2011 recruiting class should Bray commit Georgia.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, the December 30th game not only marked the end of the season but the end of a year that all of Bulldog nation would like to forget. You can bet Georgia has already made its New Year’s resolution- Don’t repeat 2010.