Georgia falls apart late, loses at Vanderbilt 31-27
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Georgia falls apart late, loses at Vanderbilt 31-27

Georgia led Vanderbilt 27-14 early in the fourth quarter, but a second wrongful “targeting” call on a Bulldog player set off a chain of events that led to a 31-27 defeat in Nashville.

Early in the 2nd quarter, UGA defensive lineman Ray Drew was ejected after “allegedly” targeting Vanderbilt quarterback Austin Carter Samuels. Video evidence proved otherwise, but the replay booth upheld the call.

Then late in the 3rd quarter with the Dawgs still up 27-14, Georgia’s Damian Swann muffed a punt. Vandy would recover and take their ensuing drive into the fourth quarter. A few minutes later on fourth and 4, Georgia stopped the Commodores and should have taken over on downs.

But the refs struck again with a late flag for targeting, this time on UGA linebacker Ramik Wilson. The targeting was overtuned by the replay booth, but the ridiculous NCAA rules gave Vanderbilt a 15-yard penalty and a fresh set of downs. They later scored a touchdown to make it 27-21.

The Bulldogs then went too conservative with their play calling and went three-and-out. Vanderbilt would then drive 60 yards and kick a field goal to cut Georgia’s lead to 27-24.

Richt and Bobo’s habit of sitting on a lead continued to haunt the Dawgs as they again went three-and-out. But this time, Georgia’s poorly coached special teams struck again with a high snap that went over punter Collin Barber. It took one play for Vanderbilt to run it in and take a 31-27 lead.

On Georgia’s next possession, Aaron Murray completed a pass to Brendan Douglas who again fumbled the ball at a costly point in the game. The Dawgs got the ball back one more time with 14 seconds remaining, but only mustered an incompletion and an interception on a Hail Mary to end the game.

If the loss wasn’t bad enough, UGA wide receiver Chris Conley injured his ankle on that final play. Also, Josh Harvey-Clemons left the game with an injury.

It was a terrible ending to a sloppy game, and possibly one of Georgia’s worst losses ever.

Aaron Murray finished the game 16-of-28 for only 104 yards, one interception, and no touchdowns through the air. Murray did have two rushing touchdowns.

Overall, Georgia finished with a mere 211 yards of total offense, 104 passing and 107 rushing. The defense played better today, but still couldn’t get the necessary stops in the 4th quarter even though they were put into bad situations by the sputtering offense and abysmal special teams.

The officials certainly didn’t help UGA and definitely changed the tide of the game with the second targeting call. After that, Vanderbilt had 108 yards and scored 17 points, while Georgia had only 34 yards, two punts, and two fumbles.

Georgia is off next weekend and then travels to Jacksonville to face Florida on Saturday, Nov. 2. The game will be televised by CBS at 3:30pm ET.

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