Once again we take this day to count our blessings and to spotlight the best and brightest from this weekend’s Georgia football contest, this time a thrilling 27-24 win over SEC East leading Kentucky
and you can’t take that away from me.
Let’s get to it.
Offensive MVP: Sony Michel. Michel’s 19 rushes for 127 yards led all Bulldog rushers. But his 26 yard scamper to pay dirt put Georgia on top in a game which we now know would likely have been lost had the ‘Dawgs settled for yet another field goal on that drive. Honorable mention: Nick Chubb and the entire offensive line. Chubb ground out some hard yards on the day, though his stat line doesn’t fully reflect it. Also, I saw holes. Not on every play. And each of Georgia’s senior offensive tackles committed a false start penalty at a bad time. But, you know, baby steps.
Defensive MVP: Julian Rochester. The freshman had a key sack and led the team in tackles on the night with 8 stops. His emergence over the course of the season along with his fellow freshmen is, to my mind, the story of this season in the long run. You would not have been surprised if I told you before the season that Jacob Eason would be pretty good.
If I’d told you Georgia could start Rochester, David Marshall, and either Tyler Clark or Michail Carter up front and you’d probably be okay with it, you’d have been shocked. Once again, Tracy Rocker has proven why he’s one of the best in the business, and his charges have bought in to what he’s teaching. The future for the UGA defensive line looks very bright.
Play of the day: No doubt, Rodrigo Blankenship’s game-winning 25 yard field goal. Confidence is an absolutely critical component of successful kicking. The best way to be a clutch kicker is to go out and boot it like you’ve done it a million times. Blankenship is getting that look about him. Getting more settled and consistently striking the ball well. Perhaps it’s Kevin Butler’s influence. Perhaps it’s Blankenship’s innate talent. Perhaps it’s the specs. I think it’s a combination of the three, and I dig it.
Low light: Let’s be honest, I had some material to choose from here. But I think I’m going to go with Tyler Catalina’s twitch on fourth and 1 in the third quarter that led to a false start penalty and prevented Georgia from being able to go for it from their own 49. It was far from the most costly error of the game.
But it was just so emblematic of what’s been wrong with this unit, and to an extent this team, all season. A mental error at the wrong time from a guy who knows better. As I said on Twitter during the game, if you asked this Bulldog team to bake you a cake they would no doubt read the recipe twice. They’d gather their ingredients. They would measure carefully.
And then once the thing went in the oven they’d realize that they’d added two cups of salt rather than sugar. It won’t always be that way. But it’s incredibly frustrating to see the lapses in mental toughness. This team isn’t good enough yet to give away yards. Until later . . .