Aug 30, 2013
by Dave McMahon
Game Week! It's what every fan loves to hear, well maybe not as much as Game Day, but this is close. Although next week's game is the first home game and the first conference game, this game is still incredibly huge. Most Dawg fans know at least someone that went to Clemson and it's my bet so do many of the players and coaches. As a result, this game is a like a grudge match against someone you either like or maybe even dislike. Also, these are two of the more successful teams of all-time especially during the early 1980's. In fact, these might have been the two best teams in the nation back then as each won a National Championship and now they both want to get back to those heights. So whether you remember the Kevin Butler kick that was attempted at 100,000 miles or the time where freshman Eric Zeier came off the bench to beat the number one Clemson defense on what could be the greatest day for the state of Georgia fans. Either way this is the game was meant for you.
So for all you passionate fans, here are some more notes, nuggets and tidbits of information all things Georgia Bulldogs, statistically speaking of course. For the most complete information on a specific upcoming game please check out the individual sport and game you are looking for on www.georgiadogs.com and for even more statistical insights you can follow me on twitter @dave_mc_stats.
Growing up I was excited about September because it meant football is here. So it is strange for me to think August means football. Maybe you were like that too. But did you know that in the first season of Georgia football (way back in 1892) the two games that year were played in January and in February? The next season in 1893 was the first game played in November. In 1894, it was in October. Georgia did not have a September game until 1911. It took another 11 years, 1922, before Georgia saw two Bulldog games in September. I was more shocked that it not until 1971 that the Dawgs had three games in September and not until 1980 that they had four.
Georgia's first August game was in 1991. The Bulldogs have had six prior August games and oddly enough two of them came against Saturday's opponent the Clemson Tigers. Here are the six games that the Dawgs have played in August.
Georgia has defeated Clemson 41 times in their history, which is 7th most over any opponent. It is also the 2nd most by any non-SEC team. Here are the seven most:
Of those 41 times, Mark Richt has faced Clemson twice and have won both times. He also was undefeated against the Tigers when he was an assistant at Florida State. Here is the record by Georgia head coach vs Clemson since 1939.
As we continue to speak of 41, statistically speaking of 41 of course, Mark Richt owns a 41-11 record in opponent's stadiums as a head coach. That record has had its ups and downs and good news for the Dawgs it is currently on an upswing.
First 34 opponents (2001-08) - 30-4 record
Georgia has only lost to Clemson 17 times in a series that dates back to 1897. Of those 17 losses, 7 happened between 1900 and 1906 and most of those seasons Clemson was led by a coach by John Heisman. As we all know, Mr. Heisman wasn't losing too many games. So majority of the history between these teams have been good for the red and black.
Season openers have also been good for the red and black on the whole. A lot of it has to do on who you open the season with, but it is still fun to look at. Here is a breakdown on season openers by decade.
Clemson has been our season opener 8 times with the first one being back in 1897, which was also the first time the Dawgs faced Clemson. The last time they faced was the season opener in 2003. As you see 3 of the 4 times, Georgia faced Clemson in season openers during the SEC era (since 1933) the Bulldogs ended up winning the SEC, the only other time, Georgia won the SEC East. So they have that going for them (which is nice.) Here are all 8 times.
One of the hard parts on playing on the road is the crowd noise from the hometown fans against the Georgia offense. Sometimes the players can't hear the quarterback "barking" out the signals. In case you are wondering, this is how Aaron Murray has done on true road games during his career.
Last season Murray threw for 258 yards vs Buffalo. Not bad, but it didn't make the top 3 all-time in season openers under Mark Richt. In fact, not one of Murray's previous 3 season openers are on that list. Here are the top 3 performances in terms of pass yards in a season opener since 2001.
From the air to the ground, Todd Gurley rushed for an impressive 1,385 rush yards which was 2nd in the conference last season to Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. Only two running backs at Georgia have had multiple of 1,000 rush yard seasons in the collegiate career: Herschel Walker and Knowshon Moreno. Lars Tate and Garrison Hearst were each less than 50 yards in one of their seasons to be part of that group.
Gurley's 100 rush yards in last season's season opener vs Buffalo was very impressive, but it was in the top 3 in most rush yards in a season opener by a Mark Richt player. Here are those top 3.
One hundred yards is something special for a rusher. During Mark Richt's tenure a player has rushed for 100 yards or more 66 times. Gurley did it 9 times last season. (nine times, Mrs. Bueller) If you count bowl games, that total makes it tied for the 3rd most by a Bulldog in one season. Here are top the 6. (bowl games started counting in 2002, but I counted it for all seasons and all players.)
Herschel Walker's 11 times in both 1981 and 1982 came in 12-game seasons when counting the bowl game. The one game that Herschel did not reach 100 in 1982 was against Clemson in the season-opener where he netted a career-low 20 yards mostly due to a broken thumb. He played Clemson 3 times in his career and never scored a touchdown.
Here is a list of the top 4 players with the most 100-yard games while playing for Mark Richt.
The other running back that Bulldog fans were excited about last season was Keith Marshall. Marshall had 759 rush yards of his own and a touchdown catch against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl that Dawg fans are still talking about. He is one of eight different Georgia true running backs (tailbacks/scatbacks/non-fullbacks) that have had a receiving touchdown under Mark Richt. (I am counting "Mr. Hobnail Boot" Verron Haynes as a fullback) Some of the players did it more than once.
The Tyson Browning vs LSU touchdown went for 93 yards and tied a school record for longest touchdown reception by any player with Kevin Maxwell and Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott, Lindsay Scott. Speaking of receiving, Georgia loses two big playmakers in Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, but they return a ton of talent in the wide receiving department including junior Chris Conley. Conley had a huge reception against Nebraska in the bowl game that went for 87 yards and a score that was the 2nd longest reception by a Bulldog under Mark Richt. The one mentioned above was the longest.
One of the tight ends on this season's Bulldog teams is Jay Rome. Rome played some basketball too for Mark Fox and his bunch. Rome's father was Stan Rome who was a two-sport star of his own and played his college ball at Clemson during the 1970's. Defensively the Dawgs lose a lot of star power, but return some quality players including cornerback Damian Swann. Swann had 4 interceptions last season including two in the bowl game against Nebraska. The 4 picks are tied for the 6th most by a Bulldog in a season under Mark Richt. Here are those defensive leaders.
Steve Holeman and the soccer game began their 2013 campaign last week on the road and the split a pair games and sit at 1-1 on the season. The soccer program at the University of Georgia began in 1995, but starting in 2000 things began to get "odd" from 2000 to the current season of 2013 it seems like the Bulldogs do extremely well in "odd" numbered years. Since 2000, Georgia is 62-66-15 in even number years, but rebounded nicely in odd years and have netted a 85-40-8 record in those contests. Good news for Dawg fans is that this is an odd year (next year, they should end that even streak and "kick" you know what) This week the soccer team returns home to challenge Mercer on Friday and Sunday they take on Furman.
Lizzy Stemke begins their 2013 season on Friday in a home match vs Lipscomb. Coach Stemke is beginning her third season as the top dawg of the volleyball team. If she does somewhere around how other coaches have done in their third season as head coach then she and the Georgia fans would be very happy. Here is a list of coaches on how they did their third season at Georgia.
Feldman, Iams and Buczek also reached the semifinals of the SEC tournament their third season as well.
BULLDOGS IN THE ATP ---
John Isner is having a fantastic 2013. He is currently ranked 17th in the world and has won tournaments in both Houston and Atlanta. Earlier this summer he lost in the finals in Cincinnati to Rafael Nadal but earlier defeated three straight top 10 players including number one Novak Djokovic. This week is the U.S. Open and Isner has done very well there. Entering this year he has a career 13-6 record in Flushing Meadows and in 2011 he reached the quarterfinals, the highest in any grand slam in his career. Isner is seeded 13th and looking at the top 8 seeds he has had some success against the majority of them. Here is how many career wins he has against the top 8 seeds entering this year's U.S. Open.
BULLDOGS IN THE PGA ---
If you are like me, you are bald, kind of short and watch a lot of sports. Also if you are like me you are a hack at golf. I am extremely inconsistent. I can hit a great shot and then moments later, I can hit hook the ball to the left (at least I don't gamble at Bushwood and I never slice). So I am amazed when I see how well the pros hit the ball and when I see scores in the 60s I just shake my head. So recently I looked at the list of the PGA golfers with the most rounds in the 60s this season and I noticed some familiar names near the top. Two former Bulldogs are currently near the top of the list. Both Harris English and Chris Kirk have really made a name for themselves with their scores. Here is that top 5 list of PGA Golfers in terms of most rounds scoring in the 60s.
Former Bulldog Brian Harmon is not too far behind with 26 rounds and he is tied with Phil Mickelson with that number. Russell Henley has 24, Erik Compton has 23 and Bubba Watson has 22 and in case you are wondering Tiger Woods has 18. Yes, I know a lot of it matters on how many tournaments you play, but this list is still impressive no matter what.
BULLDOGS IN THE CFL ---
It looks like former Bulldog Rennie Curran is back to his old self again. Curran is among the top 10 in the Canadian Football League in special teams tackles with eight, but recently he was moved up into the Edmonton Eskimo starting lineup. In his first game Curran registered 6 tackles in a game against the Toronto Argonauts and in next game he led the team with 8 tackles against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
BULLDOGS IN THE MLB ---
Many Bulldog fans are also die-hard Braves fans so when former Diamond Dawg Alex Wood was drafted and signed with the Braves, Dawg fans were super excited. On May 30th of this year, Wood made his major league debut in relief against the Blue Jays, he pitched one inning of scoreless relief. That was just the beginning. Due to injuries or maybe just Wood's success, he became a starter and has continued his domination. Currently he sits at 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA. The southpaw has 66 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings of work and opponents are hitting just .222 against him. But Georgia fans as well as Braves fans should check out this stat. Of all the rookie pitchers with at least 5 starts in Atlanta Braves history, as of right now, Alex Wood has the lowest ERA of any of them. Here are the top 5.
Tommy Hanson was 6th on this list with a 2.89 ERA and as of Tuesday's stats Julio Teheran was 8th with an ERA of 3.08. Former Bulldog Derek Lilliquist was 24th with an ERA of 3.97 and future superstars John Smoltz and Tom Glavine were 47th and 48th respectively with ERA's of 5.47 and 5.48.
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