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Georgia 63, Murray State 17: We didn’t learn much, but at least we had fun.

NCAA Football: Murray State at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Murray State came out ready to play some honest-to God college football on Saturday afternoon in Athens. The problem for the Racers is that they made it look so fun that the Georgia Bulldogs decided to join in.

A bigger, faster, stronger, and deeper UGA squad pummeled Murray State 63-17 this afternoon in a game that was just as close at it sounds. On a day when the hallowed field at Sanford Stadium was christened in honor of legendary coach Vince Dooley, it was fitting that the Athenians took on the kind of team Coach Dooley used to fret about with clock-like dependability. Coach Dooley would have almost certainly told us this week all about MSU quarterback Preston Rice and how accurate he is. And about receiver Daquan Green, he’s a transfer from Florida who knows what SEC football is all about.

But in the end this Georgia team, like so many Dooley teams of yore, was far more talented than their opponent, and could have won this one if they’d let Coach Dooley take a couple of snaps under center.

The Racers rushes for 249 yards last week. Against Georgia they managed 23 yards on 26 carries. By way of comparison Georgia bruised it’s way to 269 yards on the ground and 561 yards of total offense. That’s even more impressive when you remember that most of the UGA offensive starters never made it on the field after halftime. Jake Fromm completed 10 of 11 passes and had his trusty baseball cap on by the time the Powerade made it around the halftime locker room.

That’s how Stetson Bennett ended up seeing a solid quarter and a half of action before even he gave way to freshman walk-on Nathan Priestly. Bennett completed 9 of 13 passes for 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He threw two nice touchdown passes, but also a pick six and another pass that really should have been intercepted.

The Gunslinger is strong in this one, and learning to be a little more judicious with the football might be to his benefit. But frankly the reason you build a 35 point halftime lead is to put the young guys in and watch them make coachable mistakes. Mission accomplished.

I predicted on Friday that James Cook would lead the team in rushing but frankly even he was cooling his heels before the sun sank low in the Clarke County sky. And that’s how Zamir White came to lead the Bulldogs in rushing for the first, but likely not the last, time in his career. White’s 8 rushes for 72 yards and a touchdown were a nice step forward, getting him a few more carries and a little more confidence. True freshman Kenny McIntosh also showed the combination of quickness and toughness that we heard whispers of in fall camp. When the fifth string tailback goes for 6.8 per carry, you’ve got an embarrassment of riches.

Speaking of which, we may have seen George Pickens grow into himself on a single drive today. Pickens was the Red and Black’s leading receiver with 4 grabs for 78 yards. He barely outpaced tight end Eli Wolf, whose 4 receptions for 73 yards on the day we’re almost exactly half the total Charlie Woerner pulled in all of last season. This sorcery, I like it.

We’ll certainly go through the full newcomer participation chart on Monday, but suffice it to say Kirby Smart and played just about everyone except the water boy and the State Patrol trooper standing next to him on the sideline. And the trooper didn’t get in because he doesn’t have any eligibility left. That and no apparent serious injuries were exactly what the doctor ordered.

The challenge for this Bulldog team in games like this is going to be staying interested. Playing a lot of young guys with a lot to prove is one way to do that. We were never going to learn anything significant about this UGA team based on whether they beat Murray State 38-0 or 45-7 or 63-17. But if you’re not going to learn anything important you might as well have some fun. And this one had some fun moments that should keep ‘Dawg fans salivating over the future. Until later...

Go ‘‘Dawgs!!!