Georgia ran the damned ball, and it really paid huge dividends. There’s a lot to like about our SEC East-clinching victory in an amped-up environment.
1. Sam Pittman has really done a magnificent job building the type of offensive line that is so functional, versatile and interchangeable. All during spring and summer camps, I kept tabs on how some guys would play with the “1’s” one day, the “2’s” the next day at a different position, and so on - intense cross-training. Pittman is the best in the business and to be able to not miss a beat when we got so banged up early on Saturday is proof of that. What if our offensive line was actually healthy? Cade Mays had to leave with a shoulder stinger, and Lamont Gaillard hyperextended his knee only a few plays into the game. Mays could have returned, but Gailiard’s is more of a wait and see for now. You want to see how a future pro pushes guys around? Watch Andrew Thomas on the clip below:
The video quality ain’t great, but DAYUM!
2. True freshman Trey Hill played most of the game, and played well despite a high snap that resulted in a Jake Fromm fumble as Georgia was driving late in the first quarter. All these kids getting big-game experience now - often out of necessity - but mostly by design are getting better. I read somewhere that Hill has been cross-training on the D-line. Interesting.
3. So the plan was to run the ball early and often against one of the better rush defenses in the nation. Fifty rushes and 331 yards later (6.6 avg/3 TD’s), mission accomplished. I thought Isaiah Wilson did a very good job of keeping Kentucky’s Josh Allen in check, although he did recover 2 gift fumbles. This will get cleaned up.
4. D’Andre Swift is a d’light to watch. When he’s healthy, there is no one who has a better plant-foot-cut in football at any level, anywhere. Swift broke his own personal rushing record set a week ago; his totals: 16 rushes/156 yards/9.8 ypc/2 touchdowns. His 83 yard run notwithstanding, this one was special:
I’m just gonna play this on a loop for a while. Sweet.
5. Elijah Holyfield ain’t too shabby, either. Eighteen rushes/116 yards/6.4 ypc/1 TD. Both Holyfield and Swift have pretty much taken over the running back by committee rotation, and both look to be as healthy as they’ve been all season.
6. Jake Fromm was as efficient as he needed to be, completing 14/20 passes for 113 yards and a nifty first quarter TD toss to Isaac Nauta that was set up by Mecole Hardman (not Hard-a-mon as the horrendous CBS “C” crew liked to call him) 65-yard punt return. We have had great success in special teams play up Lexington in recent years. This return and subsequent score really quieted the raucous Wildcat crowd right off the bat.
Mecole Hardman gets things going for the Bulldogs. pic.twitter.com/u4voQsdwFd— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) November 3, 2018
6A. How could Rick Neuheisel not know that Justin Fields has thrown the ball this season? Aaron Taylor needs to study the King’s English a bit better, too. Explosivity? (In fairness, one of my favorite non-words is irregardless because it is stealthy). Anyway, at least we weren’t yelling, “Shut up, Gary!” all afternoon.
7. Speaking of Justin Fields - and Hubert Owens’ crew of officials: Justin’s minutes were important and he flashed a bit, especially on a much-needed first down run deep into Kentucky territory where he flat ran over some dudes in blue. He was also speared in the back of the head while laying on the turf which was as bad a late hit as I’ve seen all year. C’mon, SEC. Do you guys even grade these officials who are consistently bad? They’re bad. The pass interference call of Deandre Baker was horribad. Right in front of the Georgia bench. Kentucky’s receiver probably knew that Bake was about to make a pick and literally tackled him. That was a third and long play that ended up keeping Kentucky’s first touchdown drive alive. It shouldn’t have been. I have absolutely no faith that we’ll get a fair shake in the SECCG, either. I don’t care which crew they trot out there. I wish all member SEC schools (except ‘Bama because they’re never affected) would stand up and do something about this. It’ll never happen.
8. Why can’t we figure this out?
- First and goal from the UK 4: (13:26 - 4th) D’Andre Swift run for 3 yds to the UK 1
- Second and goal from the UK 1: (13:04 - 4th) D’Andre Swift run for no gain to the UK 1
- Third and goal from the UK 1: (12:38 - 4th) Jake Fromm run for no gain to the UK 1
- 4th and goal: (12:04 - 4th) GEORGIA Penalty, False Start (Jamaree Salyer), back up 5 yards.
- (11:44 - 4th) Rodrigo Blankenship 23 yd FG GOOD
Kirby Smart, man up 18 points in the fourth quarter on the brink of another division title...about that. pic.twitter.com/ip06YCBrc7— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) November 3, 2018
I’m thinking a certain OC is getting a collect call here...
9. We played better on defense yesterday against the run than we have, perhaps, all season. Kentucky has some athletes, and we were able to hold them in check. Benny Snell ended up with 73 yards on 20 carries and a score, but his yards were all contested and he got rolled up just before the half and was obviously in pain. I figured many weeks ago that by the time we got to this particular game, Snell would be showing the signs of a long, hard season of being the featured weapon in a one-dimensional (for the most part) offense. I think this is what we saw. Anyway, best of luck in the League next year Benny.
10. Four sacks? Be still my beating heart! Monty Rice and Jonathan Ledbetter got to Terry Wilson for a sack apiece. True freshman Brenton Cox and Channing Tindall also got in on the action when Tindall trucked Benny Snell to drop Kentucky’s QB. Wowzers.
11. I think we’ll see much more of some really talented freshman linebackers down the stretch. These guys have had an entire season to watch, learn and grow and now they’re being brought along at the perfect time to hone their skills. Adam Anderson and Otis Reese each registered a tackle in this game. A TON of young guys got to play on defense.
12. The goal all week was to slow down Snell and limit Terry Wilson. Georgia did this as effectively as anyone has all season. Kentucky’s two touchdowns were fluky, and the touchdown should have never happened we it not for the previously mentioned drive-prolonging gaffe by the officials. Georgia also left a lot of points on the field, as the two fumbles happened deep inside UK territory. All that aside, this was an impressive win for a team that is - let’s face it - still learning how to shave.
13. Rodrigo Blankenship was perfect again in extra points and field goals, hitting two and a long of 38 yards to completely ice the game late. Jake Camarda only punted one time, for 55 yards.
14. Polls at this point don’t matter. We’ve got to beat Auburn next week (7 P.M., ESPN) and get some guys healthy this week. Then we’ll worry about UMass (uh, actually not worried...and a good opportunity to sit a ton of guys), and then gear up for Paul Johnson’s Band of Merry ChopBlockers.
15. SEC East Champs! For the second year in a row. We have run the table on every eastern division foe since losing to Florida in 2016. This team is growing, learning and getting stronger every day. They’re pretty damned good. They will be pretty damned great, probably sooner than later.
Another sobering reality in the SEC...— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) November 4, 2018
This is as “beatable” as Georgia is going to be for probably the next 5-10 years and they still won the East with ease.
Quit picking against us, Pete...
- Back in the 70’s and often in the 80’s, Florida would more often than not lose to to Georgia in Jacksonville. Many times, those Gator teams would fold like a cheap tent down the stretch and never recover, and often lose the game on the schedule right after the Cocktail Party - often against Kentucky. Yesterday, Mizzou shellacked the Gators in Gainesville and there seems to be some real locker room drama now regarding their QB situation. Yes, Mullen has done a good job in year one, but all those warts from the McElwain era didn’t just disappear overnight. Anyway, Georgia may have beaten Florida twice this season. Good times.
Locker room issue. Where are the leaders???? pic.twitter.com/XbRkELh2w2— Jerry Brown Jr. (@JBreezyII) November 4, 2018
Hey? Wanna play Uno? I’ll kick your ass.
- This really pisses me off.
- Miami lost to Duke last night in a monsoon (south Florida is where November cold fronts go to die, hang up, and rain themselves out, sometimes for days). Mark Richt is 5-7 over his last 12 games. The natives down here are not happy.
- Dana Holgorsen don’t like ties. Loved the call.
- Yeah, Bama is good. Very good. We knew that already, and we’ll worry about them when the time comes. Until then...
- ...we’ve got to take care of Auburn. I hate Auburn. If we don’t beat them, everything up to this point will be tainted. Beat. Auburn.
- Her name is Kaileigh Thomas. She is real and she is spectacular.
- Tennessee had 192 yards. Of Total Offense. Against UNC-Charlotte.
That’s all I’ve got. As Always, GO DAWGS!