Georgia didn’t play anything close to perfect football in Athens tonight.
It made absolutely no difference. The Red and Black overwhelmed an outmanned South Carolina squad to notch their first SEC win of the season.
There were real moments of concern. Not so much for this game, which was never really in doubt. More for the future if some things don’t get worked out. The offensive line continued to suffer some costly busts. Ameer Speed was not up to the task of spending a whole night one-on-one with Josh Vann, and other offensive coordinators will take note of it.
It’s probably possible to come up with a logical rationale for inserting Stetson Bennett on the third series of the game, effectively squelching all offensive momentum. But then I can probably come up with a rationale for getting a paisley-patterned wombat tattooed on my rear end. Doesn’t make it a good idea. I’d love to know what the nation’s top 2023 quarterback recruit, Arch Manning (he was at this game in case you hadn’t heard) thought when we pulled our former five star recruit quarterback after two touchdown drives to start the game in favor of Stetson Bennett. I’m sure it made perfect sense to him, too.
But in the end, these are nits one must hunt for in order to pick them. This Bulldog team has reached the point at which they decimate opponents even without their best stuff. Georgia churned out 491 yards of total offense, including a season high 184 on the ground. The defense surrendered its first touchdown of the season following a blown fumble call, but it was a mere footnote. Georgia could have kneeled out the fourth quarter and was playing guys with no names stitched on the backs of their jerseys by the end. Kirby Smart beat South Carolina as badly as he wanted to.
JT Daniels ended the night with 303 yards passing on 23 of 31 passing and 3 touchdowns. He had one bad interception on a ball thrown late to a stationary receiver, a surefire way to get one picked off. Daniels knows better and he’s unlikely to make a habit of it.
On the ground Kendall Milton led the team in rushing for the first time with 66 yards on 10 carries, including some really nice yards after contact. Every member of Georgia’s five-headed tailback hydra got at least one carry on the night.
Defensively the Gamecocks tallied 96 yards on the ground, easily the most surrendered by Dan Lanning’s unit all season. But for context, essentially half (47) of those yards came on the Fightin’ Beamers last, futile fourth quarter possession. All that accomplished was giving Kirby some stuff to grind on the freshmen about in film study.
The ‘Dawgs will now prepare to travel to Nashville to take on a Vanderbilt Commodore squad that may be even more physically overmatched than the Gamecocks. Until later...