You don’t eek out a victory over a team that barely has enough players to field a team without somebody stepping up.
Wait. That came out wrong. Let’s start again.
You don’t battle back from a wrenching Cocktail Party loss and overcome key injuries without a few players stepping up to scuttle the Pirate. Those players are your MVDs, the most valuable ‘Dawgs from Georgia’s 31-24 victory over Mississippi State.
Yeah. That’s better.
Offense: JT Daniels/ Jermaine Burton. Daniels is certainly a no brainer after throwing for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. But I simply couldn’t leave out Burton, who more than doubled his prior season total for receiving yards by going for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns on 8 catches.
Burton and the other Bulldog receivers looked completely different with Daniels throwing to them. We’ve talked all season about Georgia having receivers open, but not getting the ball to them. Burton has been one of the prime examples of that, and tonight may have been his coming out party.
Defense: Azeez Ojulari. Honestly, not a lot of positives here, but it might not be as bad as it seemed. While it may have seemed like Mississippi State moved the ball at will the Bizarro Bulldogs actually only tallied 358 yards of total offense. The Red and Black tackled well, but rarely stopped MSU quarterback Will Rogers from finding his check downs, and rarely got pressure on him.
One guy who did get in Rogers’ face some was Azeez Ojulari, who also notched the fourth down sack that salted this one away. In the land of the blind men, the man with one key play is king.
Special teams: Jack Podlesny. Sure Hot Pod was 4 of 4 on extra points. But he also hit that early 41 yard field goal. I can’t prove this, and thankfully don’t have to, but I fear that Georgia might have started pressing a little more if he misses that kick and the ‘Dawgs find themselves down 17-7. I don’t want to think about where that alternate timeline leads.
Podlesny has been quietly effective this season, and the fact that he hasn’t left us grumbling “Man, I really miss Rodrigo...” is the best evidence of that. Good job, Jack. Next time you see me at Gnat’s Landing I’ll buy you a cole slaw.
As always feel free to debate these selections in the comments.