Georgia lost an absolute heart breaker of a game Saturday evening against Tennessee. Nevertheless there were good things going on out there on the Sanford Stadium turf. This is where we recognize those things, our Sunday Superlatives.
Offensive MVP: Jacob Eason. Eason finished 17 of 28 passing for 211 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and an interception. It's not a hall of fame stat line to be sure. But as he did against Missouri, Eason shook off the pressure to deliver when it mattered most, hitting Riley Ridley on what very nearly went down as his own Hobnail Boot play. He still needs to do a lot of things better. But Eason’s making better decisions with the ball from week to week. And as strange as it sounds, five games into his UGA career he’s already answered the most perplexing question most quarterbacks ever face: can he be counted on in pressure situations? Eason’s already answered in the affirmative on multiple occasions. Honorable mention: Sony Michel, whose 16 carries for 91 yards were his most since last year’s Georgia Tech game. It’s good to have him back, especially with Nick Chubb still iffy with a high ankle sprain.
Defensive MVP: The entire defensive line. Trenton Thompson tallied 6 tackles on the day. Julian Rochester (who got his first career start) notched 4, Daquan Hawkins-Muckle 3. But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of how the Bulldog front played. They bottled up the dynamic Volunteer duo of Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd most of the day, helping the Bulldogs to a surprising lead in rushing yards in the game (181 to 127). They also harassed Josh Dobbs for much of the game, but especially when Georgia needed stops in the fourth quarter. While he was only sacked twice, Dobbs spent a lot of time moving around a collapsing pocket. With junior John Atkins the only upperclassman on the two deep, this group could be primed for great things soon. Honorable mention: Natrez Patrick, whose 10 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss were career highs for a guy who’s quickly becoming a physical presence in the middle of the Bulldog defense.
Play of the day: Gotta go with Eason’s strike to Riley Ridley. Eason had some moderate pressure up the middle, but looks the safety off before delivering a perfect strike to his fellow freshman. This won’t be the last time we see this combination.
Fun fact: Georgia scored 10 points off 3 Tennessee turnovers, nearly equally the 13 points off turnovers they’d scraped together for the season. More of that, please. Until later . . .