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Rating The Three Keys To A Georgia Win

The Dawgs did a lot well, but there’s also much to work on

Georgia v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Maybe it’s the feeling that this could be a special season. Perhaps it’s that Kirby Smart’s cutthroat expectations are fully in sync with those of the fan base.

But Saturday’s overall sound win had its sloppy moments.

In the end, it was a decisive win against an opponent in a venue that Georgia has through the years had tough matchups with.

Here’s how the Dawgs held up against the three keys to a win.

Control the run

Swift? Herrien? White? Hopefully Prather Hudson? No matter who totes the rock, Georgia needs to have a big night here. The thing to look for here is not so much someone hitting the century mark, but the back, whoever it is, take advantage of Georgia controlled the pace up front and getting chunks of yards and put the game in the Dawgs favor.

From the start, the mission of Georgia to impose its will on the ground was clear. Between D’Andre Swift controlling the game, complementing power runs from Brian Herrien James Cook’s bursts of speed out of the backfield and short-range passes and the feel-good moments of the second half with Zamir White entered the game, it was a night that the Dawgs could not have asked much more of from the run game standpoint. Swift finished with 149 yards, Herrien with 65, White with 51 and Cook with 22 yards - Georgia rushed for 325 yards overall.

Control their run

The other thing I look for here is how Georgia’s defense does against the run. Georgia’s defense, especially in the interior of the front seven, took some lumps last year against the run on more than a couple of occasions. They have a point to prove and I look for them to be motivated to do so against one of the SEC’s better overall backs in Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

When you don’t give up a touchdown, it usually means you do a lot right on defense. That proved true Saturday night. The Commodores were held to 116 yards on the ground, 74 by Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

As a result, it was tougher for Vandy to move the chains.

Limit miscues

Georgia needs to play crisp, sound football. In short, a good showing devoid of a lot of mistakes and pre-snap penalties sets things up for good momentum going out of week one. Playing sloppy on national TV, even if its during a win would not be good for Georgia’s eye-test. And as late last year showed, the eye test is awfully important.

When you have high standards, you tend to look for things to nitpick. And some mental errors will give Georgia’s coaching staff plenty to focus on this week. Multiple scoring drives ended against Vandy that set up Rodrigo Blankenship field goals (shades of 2003 and Billy Bennett, anyone?)

Both Commodore field goals were drives kept going by personal foul penalties, and Georgia missed out on a likely touchdown when Kearis Jackson fumbled inside the 10-yard line. 117 yards on 10 penalties is not something that this team will exit Nashville being proud of, and it’s a big teachable moment for this coaching staff moving ahead.

Mental errors happen in season openers, and Georgia was lucky to have a cushion to make those on Saturday. That cushion won’t exist later in the season.

Go Dawgs!