Even in a loss, there are some Georgia Bulldogs who display guts and grit worthy of recognition. They are your MVDs: the most valuable ‘Dawgs from last night’s totally predictable yet still bewildering loss to the Crimson Tide.
Offense: James Cook. Coming off an injury Cook was a one man wrecking crew in the first half, never moreso than when he flexed out and caught a well-thrown ball from Stetson Bennett that he took for an 82 yard touchdown. Cook was singled out by Saban at the half as the UGA weapon the Tide had to stop in the second half, and they more or less did. But his 101 receiving yards still led the team, and he chipped in 16 yards rushing on 5 carries.
Defense: We had a defense?
In all seriousness, Georgia faced the top offense in the country and held fairly well save for a handful of big plays. Take away three interceptions that each resulted in sub-60 yard touchdown drives and the unit performed as well as anyone has.
To the extent there was an MVD on that side of the ball, I’d say it was inside linebacker Nakobe Dean. Dean finished the night with 5 tackles, 4 of them solo, and a third quarter sack that halted an Alabama drive and briefly looked like it might return momentum to the Red and Black.
Dean also recorded a quarterback hurry and played pretty solidly in pass coverage. That’s still not his forte, but for this night he did a solid job. In a linebacking corps that could be the deepest in the country the sophomore continues to stand out.
Special teams: Jake Camarda. Camarda’s punting was once again sterling, averaging 49.0 yards per kick on the night. That soundly beats Alabama’s punting because, and I hate to point this out if you hadn’t already noticed, Alabama never punted last night. Camarda also did solid work on kickoffs, putting 4 out of 5 into the end zone for touchbacks.
Honorable mention however has to go to the trio of Zamir White, Kearis Jackson, and Kenny McIntosh (along with all the other members of the kickoff return team) who each returned two kickoffs for an overall average of 26.8 yards. To the extent the UGA offense struggled, it was certainly not due to poor field position. Until later...