Did you suffer an injury during Georgia’s 27-0 victory over Missouri? Are you sure?
If not you were the only one in red and black who did not. Georgia sustained game-ending injuries to three of its five starting offensive linemen and its top receiver. How costly that will be next week against #11 Auburn is hard to say.
The good news from the night? The Bulldog defense is as good as we could have hoped for. Sure, the Tigers were without starting quarterback Kelly Bryant. But the Athenians pitched their second shutout in three games, surrendering only 189 yards of total offense on the night. You simply can’t play better than that on the defensive side of the ball.
Georgia played fast, physical defense all night. Dan Lanning’s charges are good enough to keep the ‘Dawgs in the game against just about anyone in the country.
The bad news? Georgia continues to look pedestrian on offense. The Red and Black’s 339 yards of total offense was 123 yards below their season average. A George Pickens drop and touchdown called back for illegal procedure (Pickens failed to get set up on the line of scrimmage) would have just about made up the difference. Nevertheless Pickens finished the night with 5 catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns. He’s going to be a special receiver very soon.
And the answer is George Pickens https://t.co/RAvKhbVftq— Graham Coffey (@ProfessorSEC) November 10, 2019
The problem is that Lawrence Cager is pretty special right now, but he’s about the only one, and we don’t know if he’ll get the chance to be special next week. Without Cager, you get Jake Fromm going 13 of 29 for 173 yards, an adequate performance to best a Missouri team that was clearly never going to get to 14 points.
Even the normally impressive D’Andre Swift looked, well, pretty good. Swift’s 12 carries for 83 yards sounds pretty good on the surface. But 47 of those yards came on a single run early in the third quarter. Save for that one play Swift got enough yards per carry (3.27) to remain an option.
But at no point did the UGA offensive line appear to be in danger of taking over and allowing Swift to run downhill unchecked as he has at times this season. First Trey Hill, then Cade Mays, and finally Isaiah Wilson went to the sideline with injuries.
Things would likely have gotten more out of hand more quickly but for a stretch in which Georgia went 1 of 9 on third down, leading to five Rodrigo Blankenship field goal attempts. Georgia got 12 points out of the whole affair, if it had managed two touchdowns and two field goals instead this game would have looked like a walk-over before fans got back from their halftime concessions runs. But, and this is kind of the theme for the night, Georgia will find itself in significant trouble next week if it cannot convert opportunities to points on the road against the Plainsmen.
Normally I’d be pretty pleased with a 27-0 victory over a 5-3 SEC opponent. Objectively speaking, that’s a good night’s work. But in this moment I’m too busy imagining Georgia facing likely the SEC’s best defensive line in a little less than a week with its third string center, a backup guard, and a backup tackle. Those guys may well be blocking for Jake Fromm while he tries to find someone who can replace Lawrence Cager by doing things like actually getting lined up on the line of scrimmage.
Georgia won’t win next week unless some players who haven’t done much this season suddenly step up in a big way. More than perhaps any other week this year Bulldog fans will be parsing Kirby Smart’s injury report. Look for a host of Bulldogs to play next week at less than 100% because there just isn’t much choice. No one is 100% by this point in the season. But Georgia may have won this one at a very high cost going forward. Until later...