It’s time to once again recognize the players who keyed a UGA football victory. While it’s a little harder job when so much goes right, it is oh so satisfying.
Offense: The big uglies. The clear offensive MVP for Georgia was the whole dang offensive line. Mississippi State’s vaunted front seven spent much of the night being pushed around by them on the way to giving up 203 yards on the ground. They also kept Jake Fromm’s jersey clean for most of the night, allowing the young quarterback to get comfortable in the pocket and stay that way.
Honorable mention: Jake Fromm. Fromm hit his first 8 passes. He finished 9 of 12, but the 3 incompletions were 2 drops and a pass he threw away. All but a perfect night, and a solid AJ McCarron impression. You can go a long way in the SEC with a great defense, a solid rushing attack, and a quarterback who just doesn’t screw it up.
Defense: Roquan Smith. Honestly the defensive MVP could be Smith every single week. Sure, he had 8 tackles and that’s great. But the biggest contribution from Montezuma’s finest was the constant harrassment he doled out to Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald. By the end of the third quarter Fitzgerald had stopped lowering his shoulder when he ran. He didn’t want any more on this night. And that was all about Roquan Smith.
Honorable mention: JR Reed. Reed was solid in coverage with 3 pass breakups, including one that led to a Dominick Sanders interception. He also contributed a career-high 10 tackles. Pretty amazing.
Special teams: In Rod we trust. Rodrigo Blankenship kicked off 6 times on the night. All were touchbacks. Every. One. Remember when we used to wonder how hard it could possibly be for Mark Richt to find somebody to just boot the dang ball out of the back of the endzone? Well, we found one, and it is a gorgeous sight. Rod also hit a 49 yard field goal which, while not essential to the outcome, was still a really nice kick.
Honorable mention: Cameron Nizialek. "Boomer" punted 4 times for a solid 45.5 yard average, with none of those kicks being returned. It is hard to overstate how Blankenship and Nizialek making opponents go 75-80 yards on every series against that stout defense is making life easier for the Bulldogs. It’s just how football is supposed to be played. Until later....