Some thoughts on the game:
- Congrats to Murray on climbing past Wuerrfel. And when you consider the sheer number of receivers he's had to work with (both during his career and especially this season), it's that much more impressive.
- I liked the way the coaching staff handled Gurley. When the goal was just to give him enough work to get his feet underneath him after missing three and a half games, I think they did just that with 13 carries for 75 yards.
- Receiving corps is also looking healthier and more complete. Wooten has really stepped up as a target all over the field that Murray trusts. Bennett just does Michael Bennett things. Rumph will be a difference maker, hopefully very, very soon.
- If you ask me Bobo showed more of the playbook than he wanted to. But I was very glad that he kept it open a bit once Mason took over. Sure, the passes the backup quarterback was asked to make were mostly conservative in nature. But he was very crisp and confident. I think that was well designed.
- The defense has made great strides. Granted, this was a lowly Div II team, but we're starting to see the secondary and the linebackers specifically play much more instinctively. And the defensive front continues to add plenty of pressure in the backfield.
- Ramik Wilson I believe has made great improvement in just the last couple games. In short, making more plays/tackles moving towards the line of scrimmage instead of away from it.
- How much different would the first half have been had Chris Mayes been able to intercept that pass that went just off his fingertips?
- Faton Bauta!!! The only thing missing from the third string quarterback's appearance as the clock drained was Larry Munson attempting his name. My guess would be "FuhTawn Buttuh".
- That was fun, now onto some of the not so good stuff...
- The fake punt was a bad call, obviously. But it looked like the blocking was there for Davis. It's just that everyone in the stadium could see it developing, so the defenders reacted swiftly and at least two of them went virtually unblocked.
- I kinda hope that was called to set something up for The Plains.
- The penalties. Well, more on that in a minute.
- Murray's interception was yet another case of locking onto a receiver. And he had JJ Green on the underneath route for a good gain. If he just looks at another receiver there the linebacker who intercepted it wouldn't have been nearly as deep and either been a mismatch against Green or have left enough room to get the pass into Rome.
- Speaking of underneath routes...Malzahn is busy this morning installing several more into his offensive attack. I think the Mountaineers completed another one as I typed this bullet.
- Although the receivers are stepping up as a whole, they left some drops out there. And the routes aren't as crisp as we need them this late in the season.
The flags. This is something we need to look at from two perspectives. On one hand you have players making dumb plays - like Leonard Floyd letting a Mountaineer get so far under his skin that he takes a cheap shot at him and draws a meaningless penalty. I mean really?
However. The goal of every officiating crew should be to make an entrance and an exit from each stadium without drawing unnecessary attention. This season has seen whatever is the opposite of that. The targeting rule is one thing, and will surely be altered in the off season. But there comes a point in time when as an official you have to decide if that flag in your pocket is making a bigger impact than is necessary. And it's not just flags of course. How in God's name can a shitty call be made - AND THEN UPHELD!! - on Herrera's interception and then subsequent "phantom fumble"?
Overall, great day in Athens! Thanks go out to all the Redcoats, players and cheerleaders that came back to make it what it was. Glory Glory to ol' Georgia!