Georgia won a close football game against a pretty good Missouri team tonight, and I have no idea how in the Hell it happened.
Well, that’s not true. Intellectually, I know that Missouri turned the ball over five times. That probably took some potential points off the board even though Georgia didn’t actually score any points off those turnovers.
I know that on 4th and 10 from the Missouri 20 the Tigers went to Cover 0, playing man-on with no safety help over the top in hopes of getting to Jacob Eason. Eason responded by finding Isaiah McKenzie singled up against Missouri’s best cover corner.
I know that McKenzie finished the night being targeted 17 times, catching 10 passes for 122 yards and rushing twice for 19 yards. He dropped a couple of balls. He wasn’t alone in the Bulldog receiving corps. In the end, that didn’t matter.
I know that Jacob Eason threw the ball 55 times for 308 yards, which is not what any of us wanted to see. Unless “us” means the Missouri defense, which stacked the box all night, daring the Bulldog offense to lean on Nick Chubb. The plan was to make the true freshman quarterback playing in his first SEC road game beat ‘em. In the end, he did.
I know that Sam Pittman has got to get the edge rushing game integrated into the game plan. This offensive line is just not physical enough to blow open the A gaps against the defensive fronts they’ll be facing this year. And even if they were, it would be difficult to do it with nine defenders in the box. In the end, this offensive line gave up 4 sacks and 7 tackles for a loss on the night. And the defensive front they’ll face next week is better than the one that harassed them tonight.
I know that I didn’t predict Christian Payne having 5 receptions for 41 yards, and you didn’t either.
I know that I hate to make a harsh judgments about college kids. Especially three games into their college football careers. But I’m reasonably certain that William Ham is not the long term answer at placekicker for Georgia. He has the leg. I’ve seen him boom the ball. And that first missed field goal was from a terribly hard angle. But the second, missed 38 harder was a terrible kick which was rushed from the get-go.
That and the series of knuckleball extra points we’ve seen was enough to convince me that Georgia needs another answer at that spot. The problem of course is that Ham obviously beat Rodrigo Blankenship for the spot. Which means that there’s likely no one on the roster who can ride to the rescue, at least until next season. That being said, the extra point he hit to make it 28-27 was the most beautiful football play I’ve seen in a long time.
I know that if anyone ever finds a cure for blindness, they should call SEC officiating czar Steve Shaw stat.
I know that Nick Chubb’s 19 rushes for 63 yards were deceptively important in this game. Chubb often left Georgia 2nd and 6 or 7 when a lesser back would have left his team in 2nd and 10. Teams are selling out to stop Chubb and stuff an offensive line that’s just not as big and physical as it needs to be, and they’ll do so until Jacob Eason wins one or two more with his arm.
I know that we’re going to see more battles between Eason and Drew Lock in the future. Those guys can both sling it.
I know that Georgia’s 3-0, and has a lot of warts. There are young football players all over the field making lots of mistakes at full speed. Juwaun Briscoe was abused tonight in ways that normally require authorization from a FISA court. Kirby Choates committed a dumb special teams penalty that could have cost Georgia the game. And Eason, despite throwing a beautiful game-winning touchdown, also had some bad throws for which Missouri could have made him pay.
I know that the building blocks are there for this to eventually be a pretty good football team. They’ve escaped so far, but they’re going to lose some football games this season. That was going to happen regardless of who the head coach was this season. No, the cupboard is not bare. Yes, Georgia is starting new guys all over the place and played 11 true freshmen on the night (including the debuts of Mecole Hardman and Elijah Holyfield).
I know this Bulldog team is going to be pretty good pretty soon. But tonight they trailed for much of the night and never gave up, fighting until they got a couple of breaks and then made the most of them when it counted. I know that’s a valuable trait to build into a football team.
But I have no idea how Georgia won that football game. Really, no clue.