Beating an upstart Tennessee program in their stadium and on that horrible field is one of those things that just makes life good. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
1. I am very thankful that Kirby & Co. kept the stomach bug outbreak under wraps for as long as they did because it literally would have driven my stress level higher than pre-game normalcy. Back on point: There are not many things worse than the stomach flu. I understand that Jalen Carter, Warren Ericson and John Fitzpatrick and others were affected by this malady. These guys tried to go, but eventually had to be replaced. More on this in a bit..
We had about five guys sick. Jalen didn’t feel well. We tried to IV him. He had over a 100 degree fever and we had to pull him at half because of his temperature. Warren Ericson was sick with the flu. Fitz (John Fitzpatrick) was sick with the flu. We had several guys that were struggling, a little sick and under the weather. - Coach Kirby Smart, post-game
2. As soon as I saw who the lead official was in this game, my heart did sink a little bit. This particular crew have been an abomination all season and we’ve had them for a few games already this season. Hell, they’re all bad. I’m not in the business of bashing the SEC officiating as a rule, but this year has pushed me over the edge. The end of the Arkansas-LSU game comes to mind as well when that crew couldn’t figure out a 10-second run-off for a good 10 minutes prior to overtime. I’m never in the business of defending Auburn (I hate Auburn), but the targeting call in a critical moment on a Tiger defensive lineman against Mississippi State QB Will Rogers was something the rules committee really needs to look at. That was about as bad as the call against Ray Drew vs. Vandy several years ago now. As far as we’re concerned, Tennessee got away with holding in the interior and on the edge frequently, and with very little consequence. The pass interference call on Christopher Smith during the Vols opening 2nd half possession ended up not hurting us, but Smith was literally tackled by the Vol receiver. Everyone deserves better. Except Florida.
3. Tennessee opening drive resulted in a touchdown that felt inevitable. Hendon Hooker - who is a very talented kid - had a wide open, long touchdown pass overthrown on the Vols 2nd play. They marched down the field and put it in the end zone as the defense was reeling. Our answer was huge, when James Cook burst through the left side of the line for a 39 yard score. Tennessee would answer that with a field goal, but the Dawg defense adjusted and survived the crowd, the quick tempo and the refs for basically the rest of the day. Awesome job by Dan Lanning and his staff.
4. Georgia’s 11-play, 90 yard drive before the half was beautiful and stressful all wrapped into a big blanket of win. Georgia had to overcome a 2nd and 20 (they called Brock Bowers for a non-existent hold on the edge. Really?) to keep the drive alive, but Bennett was stellar as was Adonai Mitchell who made a couple of great catches, including one of the top of the turf that was reviewed. The capper was Bennett’s perfect ball to James Cook in the back right corner of the end zone when #4 burned a linebacker. This was the same wheel route he burned Alabama on last year with a similar, if not longer, result.
Great call, great execution. Shut up anyway, Gary.
5. At that point, with the Dawgs up 24-10, did anyone feel like this one was over? I did. This ain’t your daddy’s defense. This defense is your daddy. I love watching those guys ball.
6. Matt Luke pulled Warren Ericson in favor of Xavier Truss at right guard. Ericson was more than a step slow early on and the right side of the line was simply getting abused by Tennessee’s front. Kirby cited the flu and this certainly had an effect on Ericson’s play. Truss performed the best he ever has in this opportunity which was huge. Jalen Carter couldn’t continue because of the flu. Zion Logue stepped in and stepped up as well. Depth, folks. You either have it or you don’t. This team might not have survived everything it had going against it if it had been played any other year prior to this one. Everyone had a role in this victory.
7. Stetson Bennett’s ability to run is a difference maker when the line is struggling. The designed runs were highly effective when called, but this touchdown was pure freelancing. Look at the reaction of his teammates after he hops up. They love him and you cannot put a price on that.
In this case, Gary was spot-on. Shut up anyway...
8. This was a game where Georgia was very hesitant to take any deep downfield shots. The longest pass play of the game was Cook’s aforementioned wheel route touchdown in the corner. There were opportunities and again when this game is broken down we’ll see more than a few opportunities that were there for the taking. A couple of times I saw Jermaine Burton practically naked and alone, but Stetson generally checked to a safer alternative.
9. Cook just glides through the holes, doesn’t he? He is so deceptively quick and I really wish we would’ve fed him more in the 2nd half. Nothing against Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh, but Cook was the hot guy and his 147 total yards could’ve easily been augmented by a few more touches. I suppose we didn’t want to over expose him...
Sedrick Van Pran is good at football...
10. ...on the other hand, why did we have Devonte Wyatt still in the game late? I understand the desire to keep Tennessee at 10 points, but that’s just vanity. Wyatt went down a few times in this game and came out for good with what is being called a sprained knee. Folks, #95 is every bit as important as #99 on that line. We have capable backups, but Wyatt is special and we’d better give him the week off.
And this just in:
“Devonte Wyatt is fine.” - Rusty Mansell, Dawgs247
11. I thought we might’ve lost Nolan Smith, too. The reports on his elbow - as of this writing - are good. He’s probably got a mild hyperextension but not sure.
12. As great as Nakobe Dean played and, for that matter, all of our linebackers, Channing Tindall was simply outstanding. He accounted for 8 tackles, 6 solos and 3 quarterback sacks and a forced fumble. Dean led everyone with 11 tackles and a sack. You want to know how you help yourself to win convincingly on the road? Force 2 turnovers and protect the ball yourself. Georgia could’ve had more had a few bounces gone their way.
13. That was a tough game early against a very motivated and dangerous passing team. In the secondary, we missed a few tackles and it is so out of character to see Lewis Cine - who played an overall excellent game - miss one that resulted in a large gain. Tennessee played hard, but in the end they have no depth. We took it all.
13A. Tennessee got away from their hurry-up offense as the game progressed, although they didn’t totally abandon it. Time of possession was fairly close: UGA 32:40 to UT’s 27:20. Tennessee ran 73 plays which is well below their average; Georgia ran 70.
14. It’s really good to see Jack Podlesny rounding back into form. His 40 yard field goal to tie the game at 10 apiece is what we need as we head into the stretch run of bigger and better things. Jake Camarda punted 5 times for a 51 yard average and hit a bomb of 62 yards that Tennessee nearly fumbled away. Jake’s kickoffs were generally non-returnable in that cold, dense November Tennessee air.
15. I really cannot express how impressive this victory was on the road, in front of a suddenly rejuvenated Tennessee crowd that, for the first time in years, believes in something. Georgia took the lead and controlled 2 1⁄2 quarters of football after providing a little rug of hope and then yanking that sucker right out from under ‘em. I love this team. We’re not perfect, but this year I don’t think we need to be. We still have to get better, particularly in the passing game because there was money left on the table. But we are 10-0 and cruising towards a date in Atlanta. Charleston Southern will frankly be like a bye week and after we get up by 4 scores, Kirby will clear the bench. Tech is Tech, which rhymes with “Yech,” or “Blech,” or heck, let just beat the crap out of them again because we will.
15A. Instant Poll! (Sponsored by Viagra):
What SEC East Team has a Brighter Future (in the race for 2nd place)?
This poll is closed
Not Vandy (Sorry, Vandy).
Gawd a’mighty Texas. You sure you don’t just wanna hop on over to the Sun Belt? You signed the contract? Well, that was dumb!
KANSAS WENT FOR TWO AND GOT IT.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 14, 2021
THE JAYHAWKS STUN TEXAS. pic.twitter.com/h6VlqqWiQA
Will the Longhorns be searching for a new head coach at the end of next season, too? And while we are on the subject of Texas Trollin’, this is truly art:
- So, Lincoln Riley got a bit miffed because Baylor’s Dave Aranda kicked a field goal late to extend the score (and, game)? Little Linc Linc got his fee fee’s hurt? Whatevs, man. I don’t care, but I did enjoy watching you lose. Sometimes, you bite the scoreboard. Sometimes, the scoreboard bites you. You signed that big, fat SEC contract, too? Pity.
- Let’s talk about Florida. Better yet, just hop on over to any Florida board and let Florida talk about Florida. No one is defending Dan Mullen any longer. That is one mad-as-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore fanbase and I couldn’t be happier. Fifty two points (uh, that a 5 and a 2) to Samford? Dan Mullen’s post-game presser was interesting as he was asked point blank about giving up that much yardage to a cupcake. Search YouTube this week, type in Dan Mullen and enjoy. I don’t see how he survives, even if he does win out at Mizzou and against FSU. Oh, and they’re still not bowl eligible. By the way, Florida paid Samford $550,000 yesterday. That, my friends, is money well spent.
Dressed like a UPS driver because he’s about to have to pack some boxes pic.twitter.com/HYTRqEdHfC— Bunkie Perkins (@BunkiePerkins) November 13, 2021
- Remember a few weeks ago when Auburn beat Ole Miss and they were suddenly back in the SEC West conversation, Bryan Harsin had the team on track and OMG Bo Nix is playing the best football ever? That was fun. Lately, the noon slate has been full of really good games and schadenfreude. Watching Mississippi State score 40 unanswered points on Auburn was classic Auburn folding on an SEC Network noon kickoff. Mike Leach, according to Lane Kiffin, is the best offensive coach in America. I don’t know about that, but Mike Leach is a pirate and never underestimate a pirate. State completed their largest comeback ever. How ‘bout those Dogs?
- Tech lost. Looks like Geoff is going to go 3-9 for the 2nd consecutive year as they close out against Notre Dame and then Georgia at beautiful Mark Richt
GrantField at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Still can’t overlook ‘em, but I don’t think we will.
That’s all I’ve got. As Always,
GO YOU #1 DAWGS!