Another Saturday, another statement win for the Dawgs.
Dominance was again the common thread on Sanford Stadium with Georgia taking an easy 37-0 win. In truth, it could have been worse. It’s hard not to think that if it had been a coach on the opposing sideline whose team lost to Kentucky on Saturday night, it could have been a bit more of a walkover.
Here’s how Georgia met the three keys to a win.
Win The Start
Sadly, nobody thought about going to the SEC offices and walking around it seven times in order to force the kickoff time for a top-ten matchup to be moved from an absurd time of Noon.
Like it or not, the game’s at Noon. That means that the team that’s mentally ready to play gets a big leg up. For starters, the crowd needs to be a factor. Fans need to arrive early and be loud and causing an early Arkansas timeout or delay of game would be huge as far as momentum.
Georgia cannot afford to come out flat. It needs to avoid early three-and-outs as well as pre-snap penalties.
Georgia took a fast start to a whole new level. For starters, Georgia’s fans took Kirby Smart’s challenge to heart and it showed, not just from how loud the stadium was, but how it impacted the game. You could tell that the noise rattled Arkansas based on its mannerisms. As the younger crowd says, the Razorbacks ‘were shook.’ Not only that, but they had two false start penalties before even running an offensive play. The crowd had an impact there’s no doubt about that. Georgia also got the offensive start that it needed, scoring twice. Add in the blocked punt, and it was a runaway thanks to the early start.
Wreck The Hogs O-Line
Simply put, Georgia needs to have a game similar to Clemson, when its defensive line straight up dominated things. Disrupting what Arkansas wants to do by clogging running lines and prevent passing plays from getting outside the pocket will go a long way in gaining an upper-hand.
Georgia yielded 162 yards to Arkansas, holding it to 75 rushing yards. The Razorbacks didn’t get lots of chunk plays, having a longest rush of 14 yards. The bottom line is that Arkansas did not move the ball up and down the field, and Georgia’s defensive play was the reason for that.
The offensive line needs to dominate
This is a huge game for Georgia offensive line coach Matt Luke. Here’s why. Georgia is two years into a new philosophy under Luke, who replaced Pittman after he departed Athens. That is to recruit and design blocking schemes around linemen that weren’t quite as big.
For Luke and his linemen, this is the chance to show that they and the new offensive line regime can take over games. Against an Arkansas team that prides itself on effort and physicality, this could be the biggest test of the season for this group, which to be successful will need to give JT Daniels plenty of time to throw and clear out running lines for Georgia’s backs.
Stetson Bennett threw the ball just 11 times on Saturday. That didn’t have anything to do with a lack of confidence in him. It had everything to do with the fact that Georgia knew that it could play hard-nosed, smash-mouth football against the Razorbacks, and did just that. Georgia put a pair of early rushing touchdowns on the board with Zamir White and Kendall Milton, but there was more to it than that as the Dawgs rushed for 273 yards. Georgia never allowed Arkansas to disrupt the game through momentum-changing defensive plays. Georgia allowed no sacks and of the four tackles for a loss given up, none were more than four yards of lost yardage. Georgia came in aiming to control the line of scrimmage and did just that.