Halftime analysis: Seven thoughts

semerson@macon.comNovember 3, 2012 

ATHENS - Ole Miss took the lead on the opening drive, and then led Georgia the whole way ... until there were three seconds left in the half.

Here are seven thoughts as Georgia leads Ole Miss, 14-10, thanks to a freaky 40-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Tavarres King.

1. It's not pretty, but good teams find a way to make back-breaking plays like that. Or perhaps the Murray-to-King play was an example of why Ole Miss just isn't there yet. How was King that open? Whatever the case, Georgia is making enough plays on offense, and its defense, with some hiccups, is playing solid. The potential is there to run away with the game in the second half, especially because I suspect Ole Miss has exhausted its ability to exploit Georgia's defense with short passes.

2. The note of caution: At one point late in the first quarter, Ole Miss was outgaining Georgia, 104-16. That's why Georgia is still far from a team capable of beating Alabama (or LSU) in the SEC championship game. Assuming it gets there.

3. The bigger note of caution: Georgia's offensive line is back to being terrible, giving up five sacks in the first half - after not giving up any to Florida last week. What surprises me is that Georgia is spending a lot of time in the I-formation, rather than just opening it up the way it did early in the season, going to the spread to account for the struggles of the line. I'll be curious if Mike Bobo changes up at halftime to go back to the spread and pistol.

4. That play-fake by Murray on the 66-yard touchdown was a thing of beauty. I was following the handoff and saw that Murray had kept it, but Murray stood there so long even I began to think he didn't have the ball anymore. But everyone on Ole Miss bit, and Murray hit a wide-open Marlon Brown downfield. That turned the game around right there.

5. The exchange of four turnovers over five plays was ridiculous. Ole Miss went to driving, to Georgia was driving, to Ole Miss taking over, to Georgia back in possession at midfield. Ridiculous. And it all happened without a long TV timeout to calm everyone's nerves.

6. Georgia's defense is having trouble on short passes, but it has good coverage on (most) deep passes: There was Alec Ogletree's interception on a deep heave, capping that run of turnovers. And Branden Smith and Damian Swann each had big pass break-ups on third down, on what would have been a long, momentum-turning first down conversion. The exception was Shawn Williams gambling on the first drive and not getting the pick, allowing the long completion that led to the Rebels' field goal.

7. The late hit call on Williams, just before the Rebels scored their touchdown, was pretty terrible. Williams appeared to just be standing out of bounds when the play came to him. That said, it wasn't the reason the Rebels scored there. They had the Bulldogs on their heels on that drive, and luckily for the Bulldogs they were able to recover on ensuing drives.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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