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Sunday Morning Hangover: Georgia vs. Notre Dame Edition

NCAA Football: Georgia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Sunday Morning Hangover, where we cope with the joys and sorrows of yesterday. Here are ten items of note from Georgia’s big win over Notre Dame to get you rolling.

Clip of the Week:

We are all Rodrigo Blankenship this morning. And we all like to party. Good on ya, kid.

Was the Offense Offensive?

Yeah, it kind of was. Not to be “that guy,” but why on earth did Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both have single-digit carries midway through the fourth quarter? I was pretty offended by that, because it’s not like the Bulldogs weren’t able to run and it’s not like Georgia was consistently moving the ball with the passing game.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of the names on the back of the jersey, it seems like two running backs averaging a combined 5.23 yards per carry should get more action than a true freshman quarterback averaging 4.86 yards per attempt.

That general strategy was a bit puzzling, but someone smarter than me can probably explain this. It’s too early.

Was the Defense Defensible?

Oh yeah. This Georgia defense is a real joy.

At least one really smart analyst questioned whether Brandon Wimbush would prove to be a threat with his legs against a strong Georgia front-seven (emphasis added):

Everyone gets nervous when they see that Georgia’s playing a mobile quarterback, and the Dawgs might be playing one on Saturday. But they also might not be. Brandon Wimbush ran for 106 yards on 12 attempts last week, but that was against a Temple team with significantly less talent than Georgia (and frankly, most teams in the nation) under a new coaching staff. It’s possible that he has success on the ground against the Bulldogs, but he’s only played in three games over the course of his career. In two (including last week) he proved adequate on the ground. But he also found himself scrambling behind the line more often than not against Pittsburgh a few seasons ago.

Wimbush is being talked about like he’s the Madden 2004 version of Mike Vick. He’s not.

Wimbush ran 16 times for one net rushing yard. Woof.

That power Notre Dame rushing attack was held to 55 yards after running for 422 seven days ago. And it was the defense (quite obviously) that won the ball game for Georgia.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

This was the best game I’ve seen Lorenzo Carter play. Davin Bellamy was an animal. Assignment football paid off and the talent advantage was incredibly evident.

Notre Dame had a few successful plays through the air, but Wimbush connected on fewer than 50% of his passes and looked generally erratic.

How Special was Special Teams Play?

This certainly wasn’t a flawless performance. A few penalties cropped up and 44-yard field goals are firmly in the “makable” category. But as referenced at the top of this post, special teams made plays when it mattered.

Stat of the Game

An allegedly “good” Notre Dame team went from 606 yards of offense against Temple in Week 1 to 266 yards of offense in Week 2.

Something You Really Shouldn’t Read Into

Georgia committed 12 penalties for 126 yards. During the game’s opening moments in particular, it seemed like Georgia would never get out of it’s own way (or at least like the officials wouldn’t let them).

I’m not sure we should view those numbers -- which are staggering with or without context -- as a read-through into a lack of discipline. This was a hard-fought, physical game in which Georgia was the aggressor for the entirety. More than a few penalties were questionable for both sides and the referees were generally flag-happy.

Something You Really Should Read Into

The opening moments of this game felt distinctly like the type of game that would come off the tracks for some recent Georgia teams. Notre Dame’s opening drive was prolonged by a penalty and the defense gave up a big passing play. Trailing 3-0, Georgia did nothing with its first drive and Notre Dame got the ball back with pretty good field position. But Georgia didn’t let a less talented team race to a larger lead.

Georgia faced a fair amount self-inflicted adversity in the form of turnovers, penalties and play-calling oddities (in my opinion), but Georgia won. And that outcome never really seemed in question regardless of the score.

This team is going to be scary if it puts it all together and figures some things out on offense when its starting quarterback comes back.

Goal Check-In

At this juncture, everything’s still on the table for the 2-0 Bulldogs.

  • Georgia needs to go just 7-4 over its next 11 games to win nine games (an improvement over last year).
  • The SEC East remains in play and though Notre Dame isn’t Michigan, Georgia looked better in its early-season national game than Florida.
  • The SEC Championship and the College Football Playoff go hand-in-hand, and both could technically still be on the table. I’m not saying they’re likely, but I’d take these things off the table if Georgia had been blown out by Notre Dame.

What the Other Guys Did this Week

  • Auburn lost to Clemson and savior/future Heisman winner Jarrett Stidham looked downright regular.
  • South Carolina stifled a previously prolific Missouri offense. The Gamecocks are looking better than I would have pegged.
  • Florida’s offense didn’t show up, but this time it was because the game was postponed.
  • Mississippi State (Georgia’s opponent in two weeks) improved to 2-0 with a win over Louisiana Tech.

Premature Prognostication

Two weeks of Bulldog on Bulldog violence coming up. Samford won’t be a problem, because I think Georgia is the better team (hot take!).

Georgia 52, Samford 10

Be blessed.