Remember the movie Hollywood Knights? Maybe Georgia had a little Turk in them Saturday night. Watch around the 8:30 mark to see what I mean.
So we made some huge mistakes. We threw a pick six. We gave away the ball deep in our territory two other times. We mishandled a punt and a kickoff making us start at the 1 yard line twice. We did most of this in a 6 minute span in the second quarter that saw our 27-10 lead become a 30-27 deficit. I'M GLAD WE DID IT.
So we were unable to get first downs or score in the fourth quarter causing our defense to stay on the field entirely too long and play with the narrowest of leads in a game that should have been put away much earlier. I'M GLAD WE DID IT.
So we failed to stop the run or get a QB sack and yielded a Willie Martinez-like total of 37 points in defense. I'M GLAD WE DID IT.
We looked great, we looked terrible and everything in between, but we got a victory over Tennessee and tied the all-time series with the Vols for games played in Athens. I'M GLAD WE DID IT.
I have been a long believer in the adage "Success is a terrible teacher." Here are two more adages... "Iron is forged in fire" and "The hotter the fire, the stronger the steel." Without a doubt, in the fourth quarter Saturday night, the fire was hot and the Dawgs had their backs against a wall to prevent Tennessee from tying the game or taking the lead. The pressure was dialed up and the coaches, players and fans all had to hunker down not just "one more time" but several more times. The result (defensively)... interception, forced fumble, interception.
Obviously, there are some "coachable moments" as a result of the mistakes made Saturday night from special teams to pass coverage to blocking assignments to catching the football on third down conversions. I am a glass half-full guy, so I will construe this as a positive.
Suppose we had not had the meltdown in the second quarter that handed Tennessee 20 points and the game had been an easy cruise to a comfortable victory. We would feel great about the win and more confident about the game with South Carolina this coming Saturday. But, what would we know about how this team would respond under tremendous pressure? The only other evidence we have is from the fourth quarter in Columbia West when, in a similar situation, Missouri had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead and we intercepted and forced a fumble on consecutive possessions to put the game away. The other three games were blow outs in which our starters basically only played three quarters. Now, we have had to fight, scrap and dig deep for the full 60 minutes and found a way to win. In my opinion, that should serve us much better than a comfortable win would have. So yes... I'M GLAD WE DID IT.