Bill Shanks

Georgia’s luck finally runs out

Georgia receiver Michael Chigbu drops a pass from Jacob Eason in front of the bench Saturday against Vanderbilt.
Georgia receiver Michael Chigbu drops a pass from Jacob Eason in front of the bench Saturday against Vanderbilt. bcabell@macon.com

No SEC team is ever supposed to lose to Vanderbilt at home. There is nothing more embarrassing than to lose to the conference’s historically worst team on your own home turf.

It happened to Georgia on Saturday. In a way, no one should be surprised. With the way this year’s script has played out for Georgia, it fits the storyline.

They dodged a bullet only so long. The luck simply ran out.

Against Vanderbilt.

When the Commodores stopped the Bulldogs on the 4th-and-1 play with less than a minute left, Georgia’s players were forced to watch as the visitors celebrated all over the Sanford Stadium field.

You talk about punishment? That was enough for a lifetime.

All Georgia had to do was to play well. Most teams that play well against Vanderbilt win. That’s just not something Georgia can do right now. They really haven’t played well all season, which is scary. The season is more than halfway over.

The comeback win over North Carolina was good, but when the head coach talked the next week about how lucky his team was, it seemed ordinary. The win over Nicholls State was awful, although it was a win. And if not for a miracle pass by Jacob Eason, Georgia would have lost to Missouri.

The Mississippi blowout loss brought Georgia back to Earth. It showed us really what we were dealing with — a very ordinary team that was fortunate to be undefeated through the first three games.

Then there was the Tennessee ending, which spoiled a decent performance and a miracle throw by Eason. It was the most heartbreaking loss in Athens in decades.

Last week’s South Carolina game was uneventful. It was a win, but it wasn’t pretty. Nothing has been really impressive this season. Nothing.

There was no reason to have high expectations for this team. Sure, they might have been lucky and won the SEC East, but that was more about the East being so mediocre even a team like this could win it.

Georgia has a rookie head coach, a freshman quarterback and a poor group of receivers and offensive linemen. If that’s not a recipe for disaster, what is?

The growing pains for this program have been excruciating. The games have been weird, but the Vanderbilt loss was just awful. Georgia didn’t score a touchdown until the third quarter, and it turned out to be the only one of the day.

Georgia’s tackling was atrocious. The special teams for this program are a joke. It was as sloppy of a performance as you will ever see.

Against Vanderbilt.

The Commodores held Georgia to 75 rushing yards. The Bulldogs need to run the ball effectively to win. But it didn’t help that on that big fourth-down play, the coaching staff ran a toss sweep with 175-pound Isaiah McKenzie.

And how could the Georgia defense allow Vanderbilt to mount an eight-play, 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter?

A lot has to change. The talent needs to improve. The players there now simply must get better. And the coaches need to do a better job. Yes, Kirby Smart is in his first year, but come on. This is not what Georgia fans expected.

Nick Saban is not walking through the door anytime soon with magic dust to fix this. It’s Smart’s job to get this right.

It’s been said your record says what you are as a football team, and for Georgia — at 4-3 — it says all you need to know. This is not a very good football team. It has been lucky to win two of the four games it has won, and, moving forward, it will be dicey to see how many more it can win.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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