Georgia didn’t play its best football on Saturday. Far from it.
It didn’t matter. Tech sucks, more so today than usual.
I could fret about Jake Fromm’s accuracy or the turnovers or any number of other nagging imperfections.
But we just beat the Yellow Jackets 52 to flippin’ 7 and I hope none of those jokers forgets it. It was this kind of day.
INCOGNITO SURRENDER COBRA!!! pic.twitter.com/Fv8hXiPQ30— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) November 30, 2019
The Jackets certainly did the kinds of things a 29 point underdog has to do to stay in the game. Despite falling behind 17-0 after one quarter the Nerds didn’t hang it up (well, quite yet), recovering a Dominick Blaylock fumble and cashing in to put their first points on the board on a Tyler Davis touchdown catch from James Graham. They would be the only points the home team (sic) scored all day.
Graham finished the day 5 of 20 passing for 40 yards, a line that would have made even Reginald Filbert Ball exclaim “Come on, dog! It’s Georgia!” Geoff Collins’ offense scratched out a total of 139 yards on the day, a measly total for an offense that essentially got three extra possessions courtesy of two fumbles and a recovered onside kick. The Jackets were an impressive 3 of 17 on third down.
We’ve joked grimly at times about Georgia’s bend but don’t break defense. But against a truly mediocre offense the bending wasn’t even necessary. Tech gained a total of 38 yards on their first 8 possessions. They nearly doubled that with 32 yards on their final possession of the first half . . .before missing a field goal to get within a touchdown.
The Bulldog offense on the other hand auditioned a handful of playmakers for the position of “Lawrence Cager.” James Coley called plays we haven’t seen in weeks and involved skill position players who’ve been hanging out on milk cartons with encouraging results. James Cook had 64 total yards, including a 14 yard run and a 19 yard reception. Eli Wolf broke loose on a 47 yard reception that by the looks of it surprised no one quite so much as it did Eli Wolf. It was as if Coley spent the week poring over Twitter threads and Dawg Sports game threads and decided to try all the stuff armchair coordinators have suggested. Crazily, about 48% of it worked.
Jake Fromm finished the day 14 of 29 for 254 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s not a terrible line, and it looks a little better when you remember he missed on his first four passes before connecting on some nice throws downfield. But Jake still doesn’t look like he’s 100% comfortable and in rhythm.
That’s a bad sign for next Saturday, when he’ll be going possession-for-possession with the presumptive Heisman favorite in Joe Burrow. But then, he also looked just okay last year before coming alive against Alabama in the SEC title game. Stranger things have happened than Jake stepping up to go 17 of 27 for 260 yards against an LSU defense that’s ranked 11th in the SEC versus the pass.
D’Andre Swift has another nice day and, if you forced me to guess, should be a go for next week. As I said in the fourth quarter thread, if there was a doubt about whether he’d be available next week he’d have been in the locker room within moments of coming out, or at least have some ice or a sling on that shoulder. The fact that he was sitting on the bench looking bored and not surrounded by medical personnel is a pretty good sign.
George Pickens on the other hand will likely miss the first half of the SEC Championship Game with a case of aggravated immaturity. Dan Orlovsky may be a third string QB turned third string broadcaster, but he’s right about one thing: Tre Swilling will be sitting in his dorm room next week, not playing for a chance to go to the College Football Playoff. In that situation you have to keep your emotions under control, disengage, and then point to the scoreboard.
I get it, it’s not a normal thing to have someone try to gouge your eyes out and respond by just turning the other cheek and walking away. But it’s a coaching point, something I expect Pickens has heard before, and has to internalize. Either he’s going to get his emotions and mental preparation right and become the next great Bulldog receiver, or he won’t. At this point it’s entirely up to him.
Also, George, you can grow up and be great whenever you decide to.— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) November 30, 2019
In the meantime Dominick Blaylock looks like he’s gaining the confidence required to become a weapon as a punt returner. He muffed one, then came back with a series of excellent returns. That’s incredibly encouraging. Because while offensive trends may change good field position never goes out of style.
Today’s pasting of an inferior football team didn’t really tell us much about Georgia’s matchup next week in Mercedes-Benz Stadium against LSU. We’ll certainly dissect that one in great detail in the coming days. But for now, take heart in the fact that it’s now been 7,308 days since Georgia Tech won a home game against Georgia. Kirby Smart can now start measuring the place for drapes since Mark Richt has officially allowed him to take over the lease on the place.
We run this state. And don’t you ever forget it.