Halftime analysis: Seven thoughts

semerson@macon.comNovember 23, 2013 

Seven thoughts as Georgia leads Kentucky 35-10 at halftime.

1. Aaron Murray, for the first time in his four-year career as a starter, had to be helped off the field, and looks questionable to play in the second half. That's the story right now. Murray was limping noticeably for much of the second half, and at one point literally waved off Hutson Mason, who had started to run off the field. Then after Murray's pass was tipped and picked off near the end of the half, Murray had to be helped off the field. (Kentucky's Za'Darius Smith threw Murray to the ground after the throw.) Trainers immediately ran to Murray and helped him up and to the locker room, which was close by. As Murray was helped off, fans clapped and some chanted his name. It was a sad scene. And hopefully he can return to the game for at least one play, so that his final pass at Sanford Stadium isn't an interception. (Albeit one that was tipped and thus not necessarily his fault.)

2. Before all that, it was Murray's night. Four touchdown passes, 183 yards, and surpassing 3,000 passing yards for the fourth straight season. Only two other college quarterbacks have done that: Hawaii's Timmy Chang and Boise State's Kellen Moore. Murray is 18-for-23. At one point in the second quarter he was even leading the team in rushing, with 32 yards.

3. The offense is showcasing the seniors. The first play was Murray to Lynch, the first receiver targeted was Rhett McGowan (for a touchdown), and Rantavious Wooten got an end-around carry early in the second quarter. McGowan has five catches for 59 yards, Lynch has three catches for 18 yards, and the two have combined for three touchdowns. Wooten has three catches for 12 yards.

4. But Todd Gurley is still very good. The sophomore has touched the ball 11 times for 140 yards, and has two touchdowns. He's also doing a lot of his damage just barreling through Kentucky defenders, making them look overmatched.

5. Mason looked pretty good on his one drive. I believe this is the first time in his four-year career (including last year's redshirt) that he has even played in the first half of a game. It's certainly the first time he's had to come in when the game was in doubt. (If you consider 28-10 against Kentucky to be in doubt. Which maybe it wasn't.)

6. Take away one play - I know, I know - and Georgia's defense is having a sterling night. The first three drives saw Kentucky held to minus-1 yards and turn it over. And given a short field after the muffed punt, it held the Wildcats to a field goal. So not including the 69-yard touchdown run by Dyshawn Mobley, and Kentucky has been held to 37 yards on 26 plays. Yeah, it's only Kentucky. But remember Georgia's spotty performances against Appalachian State, North Texas and the worst offense it has faced all season - Florida? Relatively speaking, this is encouraging for Todd Grantham's unit. It's also pretty late in the season.

7. As for the team in general, yeah, no hangover from last week's heartbreaker. During several radio interviews this week, I was asked each time whether there was any danger of one, and I was absolutely sure there wouldn't be. (Check the tape!) Kentucky was a big reason for that, as was the rallying effect of senior night. But it's also that Georgia had already had such a mentally exhausting season that it would make it easier to recover.

Bonus: A.J. Green is here, and when he was shown on the videoboard he got a big ovation. He's not the only former Georgia player here though. Bill Goldberg - you just know him as Goldberg - was the honorary captain. He wasn't the only former Georgia player here: John Jenkins (whose New Orleans Saints won in Atlanta on Thursday night) is here, along with Akeem Dent of the Falcons. And Clint Boling is here, with his Cincinnati Bengals on bye. Finally, Matt Stinchcomb is also here, in fact he's hanging out in the press box.

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