UGA Paint Line

Supporting the Dawgs For 15 Years and Counting

UGA Paint Line - Supporting the Dawgs For 15 Years and Counting

UGA v Charleston Southern Preview 2014

You can check all the boxes for Georgia’s win over Auburn last Saturday night: Lights-out defense. An impenetrable D-line. Great tackling on the edge by the secondary. A dominant ground game. Success through the air. Execution on special teams and another authoritative win in the turnover battle.

Hard to ask for a better performance before a passionate crowd in primetime between the hedges. The only drawback was the unfortunate loss of Todd Gurley to a torn ACL that’ll spell the end of his season, and likely his career at Georgia.

But tons of promise awaits him in the NFL, and the future is equally bright for the Dawgs’ ground game behind the tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. We’ll officially turn the page to that new era this Saturday in Georgia’s next-to-last game of the regular season versus Charleston Southern.

This’ll be the last tune-up before a home grudge match against Tech next Saturday and whatever awaits the Dawgs past game 12, be that a bowl or the SEC title game. But Georgia can’t gaze ahead so intently that they overlook a Charleston Southern team that’s more than your prototypical cupcake.

Second-year head coach Jamey Chadwell has the Bucs back in the FCS playoff conversation again this year. But at 8-3, they need a win in this final game of their season to make a convincing case to be included among the field of 24 in the tournament. Though the odds of that are rather slim, the Dawgs will still get their best shot on Saturday.

Give them one more quarter last month and they might’ve knocked off Vanderbilt. Southern held the Commodores scoreless in the second half, but fell a point short in a 21-20 loss. Admittedly, Vandy is the worst team in the conference at 3-7 overall, but the fact that the Bucs challenged them in their home arena shows they’re not lacking for the confidence it takes to pull off an upset.

Whether there’s a difference against a top 10 opponent or not, Charleston Southern deserves to be taken seriously. Their across-the-board talent and depth won’t measure up with that of the Dawgs, but they have plenty of weapons.

Junior quarterback Austin Brown has thrown for just short of 2,000 yards on the season, and delivers the ball effectively to a diverse group of wideouts headlined by leading receivers Nathan Perera and Colton Korn. They spread the ball around even more when running it. Eight guys have carried the ball more than ten times for them this season, and the Bucs have outgained their opponents on the ground by more than a thousand yards.

Georgia could use some of the same defensive dominance they displayed last Saturday in the first quarter this week. Shut Southern down on their first few possessions and they’ll lose hope quickly as the Dawgs start to put up points. Get off to a fast start, and this one’ll be in the bag from the get-go.

But if the Bucs are given the opportunity to hang around, that could be a different story. Georgia can’t let them get too much yardage and move the chains in the first half, or this game’ll be longer and more frustrating than anticipated.

The Dawgs should have no trouble putting Charleston Southern away, but getting an early burst will be key to doing that early and turning this game into an enjoyable lead-in to the Thanksgiving Holidays.

But this game is no picnic. It’s preparation for that never-easy matchup versus the pesky Jackets in a week’s time. Georgia needs to bring the same kind of intensity on Saturday that we’ll all have when going after Turkey and the fixin’s on Thursday, so they’ll be fully prepared not to choke on the wishbone next weekend versus Tech.

The Prediction: Georgia 59, Charleston Southern 13

Highs will be in the upper-50s on Saturday in terms of weather, and point-scoring. For one, the temperature will make dressing in paint a much more suitable fashion choice than it was last Saturday. But all that offense also means a ton of push-ups between scores, likely enough to push the Paint Line above 1,000 total on the season. Let’s hope our arms hold up.

A sunny day at Sanford and some sore upper-body muscles make for a win-win on Saturday if you’re Georgia. Come out with us and let’s enjoy another great fall afternoon as only the Bulldog Nation can.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

UGA v Auburn Preview 2014

It feels like it’s been forever since we last saw a Georgia Football game in Sanford Stadium. Oddly enough, it’s been the same amount of time since we watched Todd Gurley carry the football.

That was October 4th. Saturday will be November 15th. In between was 42 long, hard days for the Bulldog Nation that included four road trips of over 4,000 miles in total, three impressive wins marred by one disappointing loss and six weeks without getting to witness the dominance of a player who’ll go down one of the greatest backs to ever don the silver britches.

But the wait is over.

The Dawgs get back between the hedges Saturday night, and for the first time in over a month, Gurley will suit up with them as Mark Richt gets ready to turn him loose on Auburn in the 118th renewal of The Deep South’s Oldest College Football Rivalry.

And there couldn’t be a finer venue than Athens, with the chill of late autumn in full effect and Northeast Georgia’s fall foliage at the height of its beauty. We’ll get to enjoy all of that during a long afternoon of tailgating, then join together with 92,746 of our closest friends for a primetime kick in a game that’s certain to be yet another classic battle in this rivalry series.

Georgia and Auburn have played a lot of good ones, the most recent last year’s 43-38 heartbreaker that the Dawgs should’ve won, but wound up losing thanks to “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare.” Together with the “Kick Six” two weeks later in the Iron Bowl, that play helped set up a storybook ending to the Tigers’ season that concluded with a loss to FSU in the BCS National Title Game.

2014 hasn’t been nearly as fateful for the Plainsmen. Lady Luck showed up for them in most ballgames, but when your schedule has a midseason stretch of six consecutive opponents that are or were ranked in the top 25, she can only help you out so much.

Auburn fell to Mississippi State on the road back in October, then dropped a tight one at home to Texas A&M last Saturday. The latest loss all but eliminated them from contention for the SEC West Title and a spot in the playoff, but make no mistake, they’re a team that’d still be able to win the national championship if they weren’t playing in such a brutal division.

The 566 yards the Tigers put up last year is evidence to the potency of Gus Malzahn’s offense, which is always a turned-corner away from scoring with the speed of quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Cameron Artis-Payne.

Last year, it was mainly the ground game that ate the Dawgs alive on defense, but this year Auburn’s improved enough in the passing game that they no longer need deflections to complete throws downfield.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a majorly-talented receiving corps, but Marshall has developed an uncanny ability to throw strikes on the deep ball in his second season as the starter behind center. Duke Williams, his No. 1 target at wideout, will be out for this game with a knee injury, but Sammie Coates, Ricardo Louis and Quan Bray are still a group of route-runners that’ve probably kept Jeremy Pruitt up a lot at night this week.

No defense has managed to stop Auburn this year, and that stacks up as an extremely tall order for a Georgia D that had all the trouble in the world with Florida’s backs when they got in space on the edge two weeks back.

The experience could be very similar on Saturday. Only difference is the Dawgs are expecting it, and the defense they’ll be facing the other way is about ten times weaker than the Gators’.

So the key to winning? Simple: score more points than they do.

Whatever number you’ve got in your mind as the point total Georgia needs to win, add two touchdowns to it, and there’s your scoring target for the game.

Turnovers and mistakes will be a bonus, but neither team will be able to rely on them to make a difference. You can also throw your time of possession, field position and ball-control stats out the window for this one. And defensive stops? HA!

If this is the shootout we expect it to be, Georgia can settle for nothing short of endzone visits at the end of drives. Punting the ball on short fields and attempting long-ish field goals will more than likely prove to be a waste of time in a game where touchdowns are at a premium. The Dawgs have to put points on the board when there are opportunities to… and hey, every possession is an opportunity.

The outcome of this one could hinge on who ends up with the ball last. The odds of that played in Georgia’s favor the last time they had a game of this caliber in Sanford Stadium last year versus LSU. We’ll find out if the toss of the coin is as kind to the Dawgs this time around.

More than chance, this game is about playmakers. Auburn’s got several of them, and Georgia just got its biggest one back this week. In a game that’s about as huge as huge games get, it’ll be great to have a difference-maker like Todd Gurley back dotting the I in the Dawgs’ backfield.

He’ll surely be running with a vengeance. And his team would do well to climb back on his shoulderpads and fasten their seatbelts for what oughtta be a wild ride to victory.

The Prediction: Georgia 56, Auburn 55

We’ll see you Saturday evening around 5:45. Wear your red and black, dress warm and come ready to witness yet another classic Georgia-Auburn matchup and will the Dawgs on to a win.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

UGA v Kentucky Preview 2014

The Bulldog Nation had its collective spirit crushed last Saturday in a demoralizing loss to Florida that stole away most every hope Georgia had of contending for a national title.

It was a kick to the gut in more than a few ways for a team that expected to extend a five-game win streak it carried into Jacksonville and a fan base that was painfully reminded of what it’s like to lose to the Gators for the first time in three years.

It’s probably little consolation that the Dawgs still remain in the hunt for the SEC East Title. Wins over Kentucky and Auburn combined with a well-placed conference loss for Missouri can punch Georgia’s ticket to Atlanta, although potentially beating the SEC West representative in that game is unlikely to earn a playoff berth, barring further chaos within the ranks of the once-beaten in the coming weeks.

The hope of what might have been that Georgia fans left in Jacksonville last Saturday will no doubt color the remainder of the regular season, regardless of what happens in its final four weeks. And the Dawgs have that heartbreak and disappointment to chew on as they make the trip to Lexington this weekend for the final road game of the 2014 campaign.

Georgia will attempt to pick up the pieces and rebound versus Kentucky, whose fans, for a change, have a relevant football team to occupy their attention until their basketball squad’s home opener next Friday. The Wildcats have a winning record a week into November for the first time since 2008, thanks to revivalist Mark Stoops, who’s turned the Kentucky program from bottom-dweller in the conference to a team you really don’t want to have to play just a year and a half into his tenure as head coach.

They’re only 5-4, but the Cats have made a ton of noise in all of their losses, save for LSU. They took Florida to three overtimes, gave top-ranked Mississippi State all it could handle and fell to Missouri last week by just 10. Games on the road haven’t been particularly good to them this year, but they’re only once-defeated at home, where they’ve played their most inspired football.

At this point, Kentucky is in no position to play for anything in the postseason more than a bowl game, but they’ll get a great deal of enjoyment out of trying to wreck the Dawgs’ conference title chances in the process of becoming bowl-eligible.

Georgia would seem another upset win ripe for the taking. And Commonwealth Stadium is a place the Dawgs have had plenty of trouble playing in the past, especially seasons of late. They lost to the Wildcats in Lexington with a freshman Matthew Stafford at quarterback in 2006, and very nearly got a run for their money there on subsequent visits in 2008 and 2012.

2014 has every bit of potential to become another nightmare if Georgia allows the effects of last week’s loss linger in another overlookably-tough conference game against a hungry team in a hostile atmosphere.

But hunger isn’t the only feather in Kentucky’s cap. They’re a very talented and well-coached team with a number of emerging playmakers on either side of the line of scrimmage. Perhaps the best of those is sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles. He’s got an NFL arm, but also features impressively as a scrambler, with some size and durability that makes him tough to bring down outside the pocket.

The Wildcats spread the ball around offensively. They have four backs with 40 or more carries in the season, and eight receivers with double-digits in catches. Running back Jojo Kemp and wideout Ryan Timmons lead their respective skill departments in yardage, but not by a lot.

Kentucky’s defense isn’t gonna shut you down, but will frustrate you if you give them the opportunity to. They’re a unit that normally keeps their offense in a spot where it can win games if it takes care of business.

And that’s what the Georgia defense didn’t do last Saturday. Though the Dawgs’ struggles were multifaceted, more than one turnover and an answer for the speed of Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor on the defensive side would’ve helped greatly in preventing that game from getting out of hand so early. The defense needs to return to form on Saturday, or another boatrace might be in store.

For the Dawgs, winning this game is as simple as moving on from Florida and returning to the solid football they were playing in the two weeks prior. But that’ll be a challenge given the confidence of the Wildcats, who have absolutely nothing to lose. They know this is a winnable game, and they know they’re getting a Georgia team that’s on the ropes after having their hats handed to them last Saturday. The Dawgs have to bounce back from the loss in every way, especially mentally, or it will indeed be another long day in Lexington.

A loss to Florida really deserves a week dedicated to statewide mourning, but alas, this is the SEC, where every game is one you can lose. And if the Dawgs still are a team that belongs in the SEC title game, they’ve got to prove it in this difficult contest on the road.

The Prediction: Georgia 24, Kentucky 21

Not all is lost. The 6-2 Dawgs still have a lot to play for with four games to go. So don’t lose heart, ‘cause once this trip to Lexington is in the books, we’ll at long last be back between the hedges, where we’ll see you next Saturday to watch Georgia #FreeGurley and beat up on Auburn.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

UGA v Florida Preview 2014

After a short hiatus from Georgia Football last Saturday, we now turn down the home stretch of the season toward Lexington, Atlanta and a hopeful destination in the January College Football Playoff, but more presently, toward Jacksonville and that yearly rite of fall: the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

This weekend, the Dawgs and Gators meet down on the St. John’s for the 88th-consecutive renewal of their 110-year-old rivalry – a matchup that, year-to-year, has produced some of the greatest moments in either program’s history.

That’s particularly true for Georgia. The classic games and highlights come by the dozen when you look back over the series history. But there have been plenty of them to take place as recently as the last three years – the first period in which the Dawgs have beaten the Gators three seasons in a row since Jimmy Carter was president.

2011 saw Georgia pick up just its fourth win over Florida in 22 years – a four-point decision that came thanks to two fourth-down conversions and some inspired running by Richard Samuel in the fourth quarter. In 2012, Jarvis Jones and the Georgia defense stepped up to force six turnovers and silence their critics, while a freshman Todd Gurley rushed for 118 yards to vault the Dawgs over the Gators 17-9. Then just last year, Gurley returned from injury to rip off 187 all-purpose yards and carry the load on a game-ending drive that swallowed nearly half of the fourth quarter, allowing Georgia to hang on and win 23-20.

Saturday’s game sets up to be another memorable one, if only for its implications in the Dawgs’ hunt for the division, conference and national championships. Beating Florida would put them a step closer to running the table and getting back to Atlanta for a shot at redemption after an SEC title so narrowly escaped them two years ago.

More than that, this is an opportunity for Georgia to make it four straight wins over their most hated rival, and that’d be the first time that’s happened since 1983. A win Saturday would virtually turn the tide on nearly three decades of dominance by Florida in the rivalry series. A four-game win streak would signal a return to the position of superiority on the field, in the conference landscape, on the recruiting trail, and most importantly, in the department of bragging rights.

And the last two seasons haven’t been much to boast about for Gator fans.

It’s been well-documented that Florida is a program in dire straits. At 3-3 on the year (7-11 since 2013), they’re fighting to maintain relevance under Will Muschamp, whose job is clearly in danger as the Gators’ season rapidly goes south.

That, and the way Florida has played in a lot of games this year would make you think this’ll be one that the Dawgs run away with. And although we’re due for a woodshed game sooner or later, Georgia very rarely beats the Gators in Jacksonville by more than a few.

And what hope the Dawgs had of hanging half a hundred on the scoreboard Saturday was dealt a major blow Wednesday when the NCAA announced Todd Gurley will be suspended for an additional pair of games beyond the two he’s already sat out in penance for accepting thousands of dollars in a memorabilia scandal. Now, barring a successful appeal of the suspension, he’ll also miss the Florida and Kentucky games and be slotted for a November 15th return in a home matchup against Auburn.

After the Dawgs’ offense dazzled in two games without their Heisman contender, many would argue they can make it in this game without him. But let’s remember how his role against Florida the last two seasons was probably a deciding factor between a win and a loss.

Without Gurley’s transcendent play, Georgia probably doesn’t have the offensive efficiency to win in 2012, nor does he help create the early lead that kept them in control of the game last year. His contributions will be dearly missed.

But one guy the Dawgs also didn’t have either of those years was Nick Chubb, an All-American back in the making who’s gotten better and better each week as the new go-to in the Georgia offense. He will undoubtedly continue to provide the offensive horsepower that fueled solid wins over Arkansas and Mizzou. The Dawgs will definitely need it.

Florida provides probably the stiffest defensive test this offense has seen the entire season. I guess that’s really not saying much seeing how Georgia has shredded the defenses that were previously given that label, like Missouri, Arkansas and South Carolina. Still, for what it’s worth, the Gator’s D is one of the best in the conference, and in the country. They’ve allowed the second-least yardage total of any team in college football this year, and are 12th in the nation in average yardage allowed per game. Featuring a shutdown corner and future pro in Vernon Hargreaves, they have guys who can make plays on that side of the ball.

 

Too bad their offense is in such dreadful shape. Nothing good has really happened for the Gators with the ball in their possession this year, mainly because they can’t manage to keep the ball in their possession. They turn it over a lot. Between quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Treon Harris, Florida has thrown 11 interceptions this year (the 10th most in the country). They’ve also lost a whopping five fumbles.

 

They gave up three turnovers apiece in their losses to Alabama and LSU, and turned it over six times against Missouri. Georgia can only hope to get that kind of help from the opposition on Saturday.

 

Key to a winning effort is converting those turnovers when they happen. The Gators aren’t likely to give up many big plays or long drives, unless they simply come unglued. The Dawgs need to focus on pounding away offensively and then make them pay for those mistakes.

 

One thing Georgia can’t do is let Florida hang around. That nearly came back to bite them last year, and it will do the same this year if Mark Richt and Mike Bobo don’t keep their foot on the gas. The Gators may be a tired, demoralized team, but they still have some fight in them – fight to prove themselves to their doubters and fight to win for their beleaguered head coach.

 

Dangle a chance out there, and they’ll grab it.

 

But duplicate the dominant performances we saw in the last two weeks, and Florida will have no chance.

 

The Prediction: Georgia 35, Florida 13

 

If you’re a Dawg fan, Georgia-Florida is one of the best college football weekends out of the year. Enjoy it, whether that’s from your living room or a tailgate around EverBank Field. To those headed to Jacksonville and the coast for the weekend: Have fun. Be Safe. And bring back another win.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

 

UGA v Arkansas Preview 2014

Another week. Another long road trip. And another Saturday the Dawgs will be without their top tailback in a key SEC ballgame.

Todd Gurley didn’t travel with the team to Little Rock on Friday morning, meaning he’ll remain suspended on allegations of NCAA rule-breaking for a second week as Georgia goes to face Arkansas.

The Dawgs hope they can manage to win without him, as they did last week, when Hutson Mason, Nick Chubb and Brendan Douglas threw a combined shutout of Missouri. The defensive unit put together its best performance of the season – a product that, together with near-flawless execution in every other aspect of the game, amounted to a 34-point win which’ll go down as one of Georgia’s most impressive in the Mark Richt era.

Even without Gurley, the 5-1 and now 10th-ranked Classic City Canines have a lot of positive momentum following their fourth-consecutive win.

But, to quote the great Earl Weaver (and stay with the baseball theme), “Momentum is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher.”

As great as last week’s win was, it only means something if Georgia can follow it up with another one over Arkansas. Finding a way to beat them on the road would put the Dawgs back in “the conversation,” and establish them as the favorite to oppose the eventual division champion out of the West in Atlanta.

Arkansas is no longer in contention to get there after two consecutive losses that dropped them to 3-3, to last place in the SEC West and out of the top 25. The Razorbacks were taken down by 6th-ranked Texas A&M in overtime and No. 7 Alabama in a one-point decision last Saturday. Both were games that could’ve easily gone the other way.

Georgia will be Arkansas’ third-straight top-10 opponent. And still without a win in SEC play, you’ve gotta know they’ll be hungry to get one versus the Dawgs.

This year’s edition of the Razorbacks play a different brand of football than they did the last time they met with Georgia. Under second-year head coach Bret Bielema, they’ve moved from slinging the ball downfield every other play to a system that focuses on pounding it. And they’ve done that well this season.

Their ground game, led by co-feature backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, is 11th in the country in average yards per game and 13th in total yardage. The Razorbacks are also the 19th most productive scoring offense in college football.

They run the ball eight ways from Sunday behind an offensive line that doubles as a road-grading crew for the Arkansas Dept. of Transportation during the offseason. And though they do throw the ball more than their reputation would advertise, their offense lives and dies with the rush. For the first time in a while, the Dawgs’ defensive success won’t depend on coverage and pass pressure, but on whether or not the front seven can make key stops.

Can Mike Thornton, Sterling Bailey and Ray Drew eat up the rush at the point of attack? Can Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera make stops when those ballcarriers get into the open field between the hashes? And can Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Floyd and Lorenzo Carter seal off lateral runs to the edges? These are the questions that’ll probably dictate most of whether or not Georgia can win on Saturday.

Arkansas averages 6.2 yards a pop on the ground – the 7th best in the nation. Can you guess who’s 6th with 6.3 yards per attempt? Georgia.

With or without Gurley, the Dawgs’ offense is at its best when it uses the run to set up the pass. Last week, Nick Chubb and Brendan Douglas’ 210 yards on the ground served as a great foil to the passing game, which in its second week with Malcolm Mitchell back, produced 169 yards through the air. That’s the second-best game this year behind South Carolina.

Versus an Arkansas defense that’s really good in the trenches, Mason and his corps of receivers will need another good-looking game to put Georgia in a position to win.

The Dawgs and Razorbacks look like two pretty equally-matched teams. Barring something unexpected, neither team should run away with this ballgame. The outcome will more than likely swing on changes in momentum and who makes the least number of mistakes.

Georgia has what it takes to get a win, but they’ll have to avoid turning the ball over and capitalize on the opportunities they’re given. It’d be unrealistic to say the Dawgs can put together a performance as sharp as the one they had last weekend in Columbia. But play a game that’s more than half as good and they’ll be flying back from Little Rock Saturday night with their sixth win in hand.

The Prediction: Georgia 27, Arkansas 24

Let’s hope the ride back for Georgia fans is as pleasant as the one we made from Missouri last weekend. That drive down 78 is a lot longer when you’re 5-2 than when you’re 6-1.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

UGA v Mizzou Preview 2014

Now’s the point in the season where the Paint Line trades its body paint for road paint.

With roughly the first third of the season in the books, the Dawgs now leave behind the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium and start a stretch of pivotal conference road games that will put a stretch on both their resolve and their odometer.

The Georgia bandwagon will be laying some serious tire tracks over the course of the next four weeks, making three trips of over 1,500 miles in total: 733 miles to Columbia, Missouri (11.5 hours), 588 miles to Little Rock, Arkansas (8.5 hours) and 306 miles to Jacksonville (5.5 hours, that is, unless you’re going by bike, in which case it’s more like 30).

But figuratively just as much as literally, this is where the rubber meets the road for the championship-minded Bulldogs.

Thanks to a pair of consecutive losses by Carolina, Georgia (4-1 overall) is back in control of its own destiny. But the Dawgs could quickly put themselves back in a deep hole if they lose to Missouri this coming Saturday.

That was what finally derailed a promising season for an injury-riddled Georgia team a year ago. The Tigers effectively buried the title hopes of the 7th-ranked Dawgs when they marched into Athens and handed them a 41-26 upset.

Tigers starting QB James Franklin went down in the fourth quarter of that game with a shoulder injury, pressing freshman Maty Mauk into his first service behind center. He would go on to start the next four games in Franklin’s stead, and this season took the helm as their full-time signal-caller.

He’ll be the principal weapon the Georgia defense concerns itself with on Saturday, mainly for his dual-threat potential which headlines a potent spread offense that’s rolled up exactly 2,000 yards to this point in the season. Mauk is the third-leading rusher behind RBs Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy, and has found leading wideouts Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White over 15 times apiece.

This is a totally different cast of characters than the one that shredded a young defense last year, but it does have the potential to be just as surgical in taking apart a Georgia secondary that’s getting thinner by the week.

One might argue the defensive unit gained a little bit of confidence in last week’s win over Vanderbilt: a solid performance marked by a Devin Bowman pick-six and stops on all but two of 13 Vandy 3rd downs. But the Tigers’ wide-open offensive attack is a different animal than any Georgia’s seen this year, and keeping it under control and out of the endzone will be a tall order.

The Dawgs’ concerns in this game are augmented even further by the potential loss of Todd Gurley, who Thursday was implicated in an autograph scandal that allegedly paid him $400 for signed materials. Barring something unforeseen, the Heisman favorite will be sidelined on Saturday, shifting the onus of offensive production to Nick Chubb, who’s had flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign, though it remains to be seen whether he has the stamina and durability to carry the mail for an entire ballgame.

Much will also be asked of Hutson Mason, who spun several good deep balls last Saturday, but still threw a glaring interception that raises some major questions as to whether he can make stuff happen versus a true SEC defense. He definitely can’t afford any mistakes in the passing game, and will have to hit on several big plays to keep drives, and his team, alive.

The kicker with Mizzou, also 4-1 overall, is that their single loss this year came out-of-conference to Indiana, unlike Georgia’s, which was to a division opponent. That means if the Tigers win this game, they’ll own a two-game advantage in the division standings AND the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Dawgs. In that scenario, it’ll take a near-impossible three SEC losses on their part to put Georgia back in a spot where they can contend for the East title.

Put simply, this is a must-win ballgame.

And it’ll take more than just a good game from the Dawgs’ combined units to win. They all have to play the game of their life, and then some. The loss of Gurley stresses a need for perfection, and even a little bit of luck.

If Georgia can put together a crisp performance and get a few favorable bounces of the ball, they’ll be right in this game. But to come out on top, they’ll have to call on their star players not named Gurley to step up and make the key plays.

The Prediction: Georgia 28, Missouri 27

The road to Columbia, which includes stents on six different interstate highways, is a long one. And most of those highways are marked with plenty of yellow and black. This weekend, let’s add some red to the trail there and back that’ll remind everyone along the way that the Dawgs are still on top of the SEC East.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

UGA v Vandy Preview 2014

It’s October – probably the greatest month out of the year if you’re a southerner, a sports fan, or both.

With this month comes the first chill in the air you feel in advance of winter, trees turning all kinds of amazing colors, baseball’s postseason, and, most importantly, the stretch run in the SEC.

Does it get any better?

Thanks to an unprecedentedly-competitive balance, SEC football in October – always exciting – will be even more so. The conference rolls out about half a dozen marquee matchups this Saturday and each one after. That sets us up for a run of can’t-miss football that makes out to be one of the most fiercely-contested conference races of our time.

So a lot of how the SEC and national title races shape up in November and December will hinge on what takes place this month, especially so for the 3-1 Dawgs, who entered the meat of their schedule last week against Tennessee.

The toughest portion of the campaign continues Saturday at home versus Vanderbilt, after which Georgia goes on the road in consecutive weeks to take on Missouri and Arkansas before a bye week and the annual meeting with Florida in Jacksonville (a game that’s actually in November, but for all intents and purposes belongs in the great month of October, so we’ll lump it in).

For the Dawgs, this is where the SEC East title will be won or lost. And an undefeated mark over the next four games starts versus Vandy – a game which figures to be a warmup for the next three, but will be more than just a tune-up against a glorified practice squad.

Vanderbilt has been a trap game for Georgia in the past – in fact, just last year they knocked off the injury-riddled Dawgs in Nashville thanks to a successful fake field goal and some ill-timed penalties and turnovers.

But a lot has changed in a year. The Commodores are now without the Admiral James Franklin, who bolted to replace Bill O’Brien as skipper at Penn State. He was the driving force behind their resurgence as a program – a lot of which looks to have been undone in the first season under a new coach.

Former Stanford Offensive Coordinator Derek Carr has seen his share of struggles so far in five games at the helm in Nashville.

His team was routed at home by Temple and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks to start the season. But ever since a 34-31 win over UMass in week three, they’ve looked considerably better. The ’Dores gave Carolina a scare and played a close one with Kentucky on the road last Saturday.

Though still 1-4 and winless in the conference, Vandy has proven it’s at least a decent team.

They’re better than you think at stopping the run: 69th in the country, averaging 161 yards-allowed on the ground, ahead of both Tennessee and Carolina. So on paper, this is the best SEC rushing defense the Dawgs have faced.

The Commodores have been a lazy Susan at the quarterback position this year. Wade Freebeck, their best passer statistically, will start on Saturday, and should see most of the snaps with Patton Robinette still on the shelf due to effects of a concussion.

The offense has found its stride of late, but they still don’t score much. Vandy has just three passing touchdowns in four games and two on the rushing end, so there’s no way they win a shootout.

A lot of their success on Saturday should depend on what their defense can do against the best running back in college football and Hutson Mason, who feels insulted after a decent-at-best performance versus Tennessee and is ready to rip off a big game.

Good luck.

Going by their last two games, it’s safe to expect another respectable showing out of the Commodores. But that shouldn’t be anywhere close to enough against the Dawgs at home, who, with some early momentum, can easily turn Saturday into a similar game to the 48-3 bloodbath that took place on the Commodores’ last visit between the hedges in 2012.

They’re getting better, but Vandy is still a struggling team with an inexperienced roster and an as-yet unproven head coach. Sanford Stadium won’t be the place they make a statement and earns their first conference win.

The Prediction: Georgia 44, Vanderbilt 9

Oh, one other thing about October: It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And for the second-straight year, the Paint Line will be painting pink instead of red for this first (and only) home game in October. To the thousands of women in the U.S. each year who fight this disease, and the millions of others affected by it: This game’s for you.

Join us on Saturday as we remember this great cause, celebrate homecoming, ring in the great month of October, enjoy some cooler weather and take in another Dawgs win.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

UGA v UT 2014 Preview

Georgia’s two victories so far on the year have given us plenty to feel good about. But five weeks into the season, the Dawgs still have a zero in the SEC win column.

They’ll have an opportunity to do something about that this Saturday, as the Tennessee Volunteers come calling in another noon kickoff between the hedges. If this Georgia team is to live up to the hype, this is the game where they’ll have to prove they’re worth it.

That’s certainly been the case historically.

When you talk about make-or-break games since 2000, the Dawgs’ annual meeting with Tennessee has always been right up there on the list. Losses to the Vols have repeatedly wrecked promising seasons. In those years when Georgia teams were fortunate enough not to get tripped up by Rocky Top, it’s those wins that have vaulted them to great seasons. Beating Tennessee was one common denominator of the Dawgs’ five SEC East Championship campaigns between 2002 and 2012.

Hard not to think of all the great moments in the last 15 years of Georgia football history that have come against the Volunteers.

The rivalry produced the last-recorded Sanford Stadium field storming after a drought-breaking win in 2000, the “Hobnail Boot” play to score the game-winning touchdown the following season in Knoxville, Sean Jones’ 91-yard scoop-and-score before halftime in 2003 and last year’s come-from-behind effort to set up a game-winning field goal in overtime.

Saturday figures to be another classic that’ll be doubly special if the Dawgs can follow it up with a run at the SEC title.

What’s more, a Georgia win in this game ties up its all-time series with Tennessee at 21-apiece, a hard-won victory of the last decade and a half, in which the Dawgs have unseated the Vols as an SEC power.

Georgia’s taken 10 out of its last 14 games against Tennessee, including the previous four meetings. Their current win streak has run alongside a stretch of rough years for the Vols that’ve been marked by unprecedented turnover in the coaching ranks.

Butch Jones, hired last season, has the program back on the rise.

2-1 to this point in the season, the Vols clearly don’t have talent that stacks up with the heavyweights in the conference, but they are a team that’ll play you tough and scrap for everything they can get.

They were seconds away from handing the sixth-ranked Dawgs an upset last year in Knoxville.

Down 31-24, Aaron Murray connected with Rantavious Wooten for a touchdown with five seconds to play to force overtime. In the extra period, Tennessee’s Pig Howard, on what appeared to be a touchdown, fumbled the ball into the endzone as he dove for the pylon, invalidating the score and turning the ball over. Georgia would win on a 42-yard Marshall Morgan field goal a few plays later.

That should give you a sense of what the Vols are capable of doing against a team that no longer has the battle-hardened Murray calling signals. With two wins over cupcake teams at home and a loss last Saturday to a very tough Oklahoma team, they look to be in a similar position to the place they were last year – and that’s the perfect spot to spring up and surprise you if you’re not careful.

Much like Carolina, Tennessee would love to do everything it can to stuff the run and put Hutson Mason in a position where he’s forced to produce through the air, and – they hope – make mistakes. That alone shouldn’t turn things for the Vols. But fail to produce a pass rush – something that was hard for the front seven versus the only SEC offensive line it faced this year – and Justin Worley will have a chance to slice up a Georgia zone defense that’s resembled swiss cheese.

Tennessee’s receivers have to be taken seriously. Howard, Marquez North and Josh Smith don’t put up huge numbers, but are guys that can tear you apart if you let them get the ball.

Georgia will predictably feature the rush in another game sans its three most athletic wideouts. You can more than expect a fourth-consecutive 200-plus yard combined rushing performance, but versus an SEC defense, it’ll take more than that to win.

The Dawgs should score ample points, but will have to D up to keep Tennessee from sticking around and trying to steal the momentum on a late mistake or turnover, as they did in 2013. Luckily, Georgia managed to steal it back. We’ll see if they can find the same kind of luck at home this time around.

The Vols are no juggernaut, but beat them and you know you’re a tough team. They’ll provide the first of several mid-season tests for Georgia on Saturday. If the Dawgs are, in fact, playoff material, they’ll show us in this ballgame.

The Prediction: Georgia 26, Tennessee 13

This will be another Spread the Red Saturday in Sanford Stadium. Come early, come loud, and most importantly, come red and ready to help support the Dawgs in a conference showdown.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)

 

UGA Paint Line Fan of the Week (Troy 2014)

After a heart breaking loss in Columbia, the Bulldog Faithful were able to enjoy a sound victory over Troy on Saturday! It was a game for the record books marking the largest margin of victory for the Dawgs since 1958!

The UGA Paint Line, as always, enjoyed being in Sanford Stadium with the best fans in the country! In between doing 357 push-ups we were able to meet some awesome people and take some pretty great pictures Saturday!

It is with great pleasure that we deem one of the many fans we met the UGA Paint Line – Fan of the Week! We introduce the Bulldog Nation to Walker and his cousin Evan!

Walker

Usually fans ask to take pictures with us, but not the case with Walker. We actually asked his mother if we could take a picture with him because of his sweet hairdo! It wasn’t until after the game that we realized we were in the presence of a die hard Dawg fan. His mom, Mellie, sent us an email with her pictures and told us that at only 4 years old Walker owns a set of season tickets and loves Athens and the Dawgs dearly! We also didn’t realize that Walker has taken pictures with our group before. Here is Walker at his first Georgia game three years ago!

UGAPaintLine-3

 

We have no doubt that Walker has what it takes to be a future member of the UGA Paint Line, and we look forward to seeing him several more times this season! Walker, congratulations on being named UGA Paint Line – Fan of the Week!

 


 

Here are some other great Bulldog Fans that we had the honor to take pictures with this week! Thank you all for sharing your pictures with us! Go Dawgs!

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UGA v Troy Preview 2014

Last weekend’s trip to Columbia ended less than favorably for the Dawgs. But the debacle, disappointing though it was, concludes nothing about their football season.

Georgia returns to Athens to begin a three-game homestand Saturday with all its hopes and dreams for 2014 still firmly intact. They remain ranked in the top 15 – ironically one spot ahead of Carolina at No. 13 – though the Gamecocks now own the head-to-head tiebreaker in the SEC East. The Dawgs still have every hope of clawing their way back into the division race and potentially vying for a spot in the SEC title game and ensuing college football playoff, though there’s still a lot of pavement between that destination and where we’re at now.

That stretch of highway will include several more tough matchups, one coming as soon as next Saturday, but Mark Richt and his staff can breathe easy knowing their team will get a break after consecutive top-25 opponents this week as Troy State ventures between the hedges.

Georgia’s last meeting with the Trojans came in 2007, a week after the Dawgs marched into Jacksonville and upset Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators 42-30. They provided a rather stiff test. Though Georgia remained in control for most of the ballgame, Troy hung around far too long for comfort.

Now-Giants wideout Jerrel Jernigan led Trojan receivers with 11 catches and two endzone visits to keep his team within 10 points of the Dawgs in the final count. Georgia hung on thanks to the rock-toting of Knowshon Moreno, who racked up a buck 96 in rushing yardage and three touchdowns on the game. The final score was 44-34.

In classical literature, Troy is the mighty city the Greeks brought down after a near 10-year siege by conning their peace delegation into accepting a rolling wooden horse with soldiers stowed away inside as a gift of surrender.

For much of the school’s FBS history Troy has flipped that script and played the role of giant-killer, recording a number of marquee upsets, the foremost of those a win over No. 19 Missouri in 2004 and a defeat of Oklahoma State earlier in that 2007 season.

But recently the program has stumbled upon a stretch of hard times. After a five-year run of consecutive eight-plus win seasons from ’06 to ‘010, all but one in which they made bowl appearances, the Trojans put together three straight campaigns with records at or below .500.

Their 2014 season has gotten off to a less-than-encouraging 0-3 start. Their most recent game was a three-point loss to Abilene Christian.

Hard to think the Dawgs will have any trouble with them on Saturday.

This is a rebound game. After a tough loss to South Carolina, Georgia needs a confidence-builder. And playing a team they won’t have their hands full with gives them an opportunity to roll out some kinks in all areas of the game after getting several needs-improvement marks on their report card from last Saturday.

Beyond simply getting back in the win column, this matchup will provide a chance for the Dawgs to get their feet back underneath them, and correct some issues that’ll help them put the best-possible product on the field a week from now versus Tennessee.

Unfortunately for the visitors, that also involves a rather lopsided outcome.

The Prediction: Georgia 59, Troy 10

Some nice weather looks to be on tap for Saturday. Should be a perfect atmosphere to watch Georgia take care of business between the hedges. Come join us in cheering the Dawgs to their second win of the year.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in previous years. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)