When I wasn’t washing down Pepcids with cold beer during the first 22 1⁄2 minutes of the game last night, I was thoroughly entertained - except for the obligatory poor officiating. Georgia faced some real adversity - both before and during the game - and this time the offense really stepped up until the defense could make adjustments which I am happy to say they did.
1. Prior to the game, I had a brief text-exchange with MaconDawg that went something like this:
MD: “...I am getting the feeling that this one will be closer than Dawg fans seem to think.”
Me: I wouldn’t be surprised if it got interesting, but I think we could also score well into the 50’s.”
MD: “You are a gentleman and a scholar”*
*He didn’t really say I was a gentleman and a scholar.
Well, 696 yards later, we racked up 53 points and were it not for a few drives that ended in Rodrigo Blankenship field goals (he was perfect, BTW), this game most certainly would have been north of 60 points. The offense continues to evolve and is becoming multi-dimensional. This makes me happy.
2. You want offensive balance? You’ve got it. Georgia gashed Mizzou’s defense for 370 rushing yards, collectively rushing 51 times for a 7.3 average. Mizzou sold out early in the game to stop the run and they were effective. What to do? Unleash the passing game...
3. ...which was the other side of the offensive see-saw. Jake Fromm was 18/26 for 326 yards, two touchdowns (another rushing) for a 12.5 average. His single pick came early in the game. Fromm shrugged that off and threw the ball very well, not shying away from the kind of mistake that would make most freshmen a bit hesitant. This kid trusts his line, his weapons and, more importantly, himself. He is our quarterback.
4. This was the perfect game to unleash the talents of Mecole Hardman and the kid responded: His first touch resulted in a 35 yard jet-sweep TD in the first quarter and later had a catch-and-run for 59 yards and a score that really showed off how fast he is. In the 4th quarter, ESPN’s knuckle-headed color guy Jordan Rodgers was actually arguing against the obvious targeting call perpetrated against Hardman after Mizzou kicked off following their final score of the evening. Hardman shook it off. He’s a tough kid. This game will serve him well in terms of confidence.
5. Mizzou really keyed on Nick Chubb early, and his yards were tough to come by for most of the night. He still gained 70 yards on 16 carries. DeAndre Swift continues to impress and our 4th and 5th options - Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield - ran hard when they were given their opportunities. Sony Michel is referred to as “lightning” to Nick’s “thunder” (a point seemingly made ad nauseum last night). Sony is every bit the thunder that Nick Chubb is:
mama said knock you out...
6. Leaping Dawgs! Nick, Deandre Swift and a Charlie Woerner Woerner Woerner Woerner sighting! That was fun. Hey, now...got to get #89 more touches. This kid is a weapon, he’s big, he’s fast and, well, he’s a Woerner.
Charlie Woerner can hurdle too pic.twitter.com/v52i0YMCuE— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) October 15, 2017
Charlie hauled in 2 catches for 66 yards. We have some weapons, don’t we?
7. How about Riley Ridley’s catch? That was sweet. Fromm has great chemistry with Javon Wims and Terry Godwin. If we can get Ridley involved more things will continue to open up. Ridley has tremendous athleticism.
8. So, the defense had some issues early. Give Mizzou some credit, and especially Drew Lock. That kid has a pro arm and is very, very accurate on the deep ball. To Georgia’s credit, we did adjust and managed to get some pressure on Lock in the 2nd half. I’m thinking the two long touchdown passes are more of a function of poor communication than anything else, which is entirely fixable. Both plays were nearly in terms of blown coverage.
9. Here’s hoping all our big guys on the D-Line are healthy in two weeks. Tyler Clark got dinged, although he did return. Not sure how much he played in the 2nd half. We’ve got depth, but we need Trent Thompson, David Marshall, DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle and Clark. Hopefully we’ll be getting Reggie Carter back as well.
10. Still, the defense held Mizzou to 59 yards rushing with the guys we had holding down the fort. All this defensive attrition has forced some young guys to play...
11. ...and Monty Rice played a lot. So did Juwan Taylor. These and other freshman are getting better and better, gaining valuable experience, entrenching themselves in the depth chart and confirming what Kirby preaches to recruits: You come in and compete the right way, there’s a good chance you’ll play. You might even play a lot.
12. I’m just glad we won this thing, warts and all. Hopefully, everyone gets healed up and we fix the defensive lapses in the secondary. We might not face a better passer the rest of the way.
13. In a week full of top 10 upsets, sometimes it’s good to just win and move on. That is pretty much what last night was all about in a nutshell. Beat a team you are supposed to beat, get to the bye week with every single goal still intact.
14. When Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia Tech and Florida lose on the same day, everyone in America should get free ice cream. It was a treacherous weekend to be highly ranked, as you know. Yesterday, Washington and Washington State got knocked out of the undefeated ranks as did Clemson on Friday. S#!ts gettin’ real, yo.
Again...win and move on. That’s the name of the game from here on out, baby.
15. 696 Total Yards. We do this again in two weeks and I’m buying butter for err’body.
Despite missing a ton of guys on defense, and having a few lapses early on, Georgia still leads the SEC in total defense. Think of the possibilities if we get all our guys healthy in the next few weeks.
That’s all I got for now. Enjoy your bye week. As Always,