22 Minutes of Hell

ATHENS – Georgia's defense has been the talk of the Bulldog Nation for some time now and with good reason.

The Bulldogs gave up more than 30 points five times this season – and in all three losses. While the offense didn't do much to help the Dawgs against Florida and Alabama, the defense struggled to get off the field without allowing a touchdown in many critical spots during the Dawgs' stretch run.

Many of Georgia's defensive problems, it turns out, happened during a short spans in each of the five contests. Against Florida, Georgia Tech and Alabama specifically the Dawgs allowed 65 points in exactly 22 minutes of game time – a brutal statistic for any defense.

23 points in 7:05 minutes vs. Tech (all in 3rd Q)
21 points in 4:22 minutes vs. Florida (all in 3rd Q)
21 points in 10:33 minutes vs. Alabama (all in 2nd Q)

Georgia's defense allowed 307 points in 2008 – 21% of them came in just over 2% of the time the Dawgs were playing this season. If nothing else this defense, with little help from the position it was placed in by its offense or special teams, could not get off the field in critical times. – at least not without allowing a touchdown. When the ball started rolling against the Dawgs the defense was unable to stop it. It should be said that the defense made plays to win at the end of the South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn games. It should also be noted that the Dawgs allowed 14 points or less in five contests this season – just below Martinez's average for his career as defensive coordinator at Georgia. Martinez's defenses at Georgia have allowed 14 or less 24 times; 2008 – 5, 2007 – 4, 2006 – 7, 2005 – 8.

The offense had its problems during this 22:00 of game time, too. The offense failed to score once during that stretch. In fact, it was probably the worst offensive stretch for the Dawgs during 2008. The Dawgs turned the ball over three times – not counting the Stafford interception which set up Florida on the one-yard line – during the 22-minute period. Georgia only turned the ball over 17 times in 2008 – 24% of Georgia's turnovers happened during this 2% of the season.

The Georgia offense accounted for five drives with 16 plays for 32 yards with two turnovers and three punts. During this stretch of time the opposition had an average starting field position at the Georgia 36 yard-line. Of the nine times the opposition took over, all but three were on the Georgia side of the 50-yard line.

vs. Alabama
Georgia offense – 2 Drives… (3 plays, 19 yards; fumble); (4 plays, 10 yards, penalty; punt)
Tide starts on GA 48 (TD), GA 33 (TD) and AL 37 (TD)

vs. Florida
Georgia offense – 2 Drives…(3 plays, one yard; punt); (3 plays, 33 yards; fumble)
UF starts on GA 1 (TD), FL 44 (TD), GA 10 (TD)

vs. Tech
Georgia offense – 1 Drive (3 plays, two yards; punt)
GT starts on GT 40 (TD), GT 44 (TD), GA 23 (TD)

While the defense was put in a horrible situation during most of the 22 minutes, they still allowed turnovers to quickly turn into points – three scoring drives by the opposition were one-play drives... another was a two-play drive.

In the end, the Georgia defense played fine the other 698 minutes of the year – allowing 0.346 points per minute. By contrast the 22 minutes of hell saw the defense allow nearly three points per minute.

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