Commentary

Dawgs have bad memories at Neyland

Tennessee has handed Mark Richt two of his worst losses in his last two trips there

Updated: October 7, 2011, 9:04 PM ET
By Radi Nabulsi | DawgNation

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia Bulldogs players and coaches would love to forget their last two trips to Knoxville, Tenn. But some losses leave marks that just don't go away when the bruises heal.

The last two games Georgia played against the Volunteers in Neyland Stadium found the Bulldogs being outscored 80-33. The point disparity was not the only painful memory.

"I just remember waking up on Sunday being so sore," tight end Aron White recalled of the 2009 contest. "Anytime you get beat down, anytime you get physically dominated, you wake up the next day and you feel terrible. We really got outcoached, outplayed, out-physicaled and out-everything that day. That is something that has stuck with me."

[+] EnlargeEric Berry
AP Photo/Wade PayneAll-American Eric Berry had an interception in Tennessee's 45-19 rout of Georgia in 2009.
White echoed the Bulldogs fan base that was shocked at the outcome two seasons ago.

"That was definitely a low point for us that year because we didn't expect to go up there and get beat," White said. "We didn't feel they had a spectacular team, unbeatable or anything like that. That is probably the worst loss of the season because they did just top to bottom outplay us and beat us down."

Christian Robinson was playing in his first series as a linebacker at Georgia when Tennessee's Montario Hardesty unveiled what would be the bane of the Bulldogs defense.

"Bootlegs," Robinson said. "For some reason we couldn't stop them. They just kept throwing deep over routes on us and somehow we were unable to stop it."

Quarterback Aaron Murray went to Knoxville as a redshirt and did not play. Watching from the sidelines didn't insulate him from the ugliness. When asked what he remembers most, he is to the point.

"Just getting spanked," Murray said. "That was definitely not one of our best games that year. They put it to us, so we are looking for a little bit of revenge this time when we go back there."

Mark Richt does think about the score differential in those two losses, but not because of the criticism he suffered afterwards. Rather it was the sense of futility at the end of the games that bothered him the most.

"My single worst memory? Just the margin of defeat," Richt said. "When you get to end of a game like that and you know there is no hope, it is hard to coach hard. It is hard to play hard. When the game gets away from you that much, there is not a whole lot you can do except try to fight like heck and look like you are trying to win when you know you can't.

"Once you know the clock gets to the point where you just can't come back and win, that is a miserable feeling. There have been very few of those in the time that I have been at Georgia. Very few. And two of them have been the last two times we have been to Knoxville."

Radi Nabulsi covers University of Georgia athletics for DawgNation. He can be reached at RadiNabulsiESPN@gmail.com.

Radi Nabulsi | email

Reporter, DawgNation