Rinse and repeat.
For the third week in a row, Georgia is coming off what’s best summed up as an empty win.
Sure, being 5-0 is nice. But while Saturday’s performance was good enough to beat an overmatched Tennessee team, it was marked by significant inconsistent moments as well. The showing was good enough on Saturday, but probably won’t be enough to get through a tougher now than two months ago gauntlet of LSU, Florida and Kentucky.
Coming into Saturday, there were three keys to a Georgia win. Here’s how the Dawgs met them.
It does not matter what gameplan Georgia devises. The Dawgs need to avoid some of what happened a week ago - execute and avoid mental errors. We’re looking at you, dropped ball before the end zone. This is, oddly enough, a statement game for Georgia. It needs to come out, set a strong early message and not appear sluggish. Between a sloppy first half on offensive last week and losing the battle in the defensive interior, this team has much to prove this week.
Oh, so much to say here...and not much of it is good. First off - thank goodness that Isaac Nauta just so happened to have a fumble jump into his hands - or Georgia only leads 3-0 for a good spell. Jim Chaney’s offensive gameplan could not have been more ideal - trouble was, between Fromm airmailing a few passes, receivers not running routes or D’Andre Smith not quite hauling in a screen pass that had long catch and run written all over it, a game that was a 10-0 Georgia lead should have been around 28-0 by halftime. If that happens, the dynamic of the game is totally different.
As was documented late last night - Cade Mays may be solid - but Ben Cleveland, he aint. Given the rotating in and out on the offensive line as the game went on - Georgia is not comfortable with its offensive line play - and who could blame them with the way that UT’s front seven found a measure of success on Saturday?
Mental mistakes were also troubling to see. Penalties for aggressive play are one thing. Mental penalties extending drives? Luckily it only resulted in one Tennessee score on Saturday - a better team can turn that into a big momentum swing, and Georgia faces those teams really soon.
UT’s Marquez Callaway is a dying breed - a holdover from the era of in-state players that Georgia was unable to win over. With his athleticism, Callaway can make plays, and look for UT to be creative with getting him the ball.
This one turned out to be a non-factor with Callaway leaving the game with a third-quarter injury. Until then, he had two catches for 21 yards.
Lead By Double Digits At Half
Tennessee, logically can’t play as bad and turn it over as much as it did last week (or can they?). Regardless, the Vols have the look of a fragile team. If Georgia can get an early lead on a team that does not appear to have a lot of self-confidence, it’ll grind Tennessee into submission.
I said it to myself all week - this Tennessee team could not possibly be as bad is it showed against Florida. Not turning the ball over until late in the game certainly helped.
Georgia did indeed lead by double digits - up 17-0 at half - but a sputtering offense in the third quarter allowed Tennessee to be a break or two from getting back into the game, which is exactly what happened, making it closer than desired until Georgia’s late-game grind it out drive - begging the question - ‘where was this all second half?’