You don’t beat the #3 team in the country in a four quarter junkyard brawl without a total team effort. But even in a game where lots of players stepped up to make it happen, a few Bulldogs went above and beyond. They are your MVD’s, the most valuable ‘Dawgs from Georgia’s 10–3 victory over Clemson.
Offense: Brock Bowers. I struggled with this one because, let’s be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot going on offensively for the Red and Black in this one. That was down to a combination of an excellent Clemson defense and a receiving corps that was somehow even thinner than we realized headed into the night.
I was certainly tempted to go with Zamir White, who cracked off a handful of key late runs to put this one on ice. But I just couldn’t not go with the true freshman out of Napa, California, who hadn’t played a live fire football game since 2019 (California cancelled high school football last year), yet caught 6 passes for 43 yards. There was nothing spectacular about those catches, but especially in the early going Bowers was there to help Georgia move the ball juusssttttt enough to get its feet under it. On this night that was about the best possible contribution.
Defense: Dan Lanning. You may not have noticed, but the Georgia defense that absolutely shut down Clemson last night placed exactly one player (Jordan Davis) on the SEC’s first and second team all-conference teams. That was, well, pretty stupid.
And while just about everyone on the Bulldog defense could lay claim to this award, I was particularly impressed with the game Lanning called. He dialed up a variety of pressures, and his team showed phenomenal gap assignment discipline.
On the television broadcast Kirk Herbstreit in particular wanted DJ Uiagalelei to run more. The truth is he didn’t really have anywhere to go, even if he’d had time to get there. The seven sacks on the night are the headline, but Georgia’s technical excellence on every down was the story, and that all goes back to Lanning.
Special teams: Jake Camarda. You can’t win a low scoring, field position game without excelling in the punt game. Camarda punted five times on the night, four of them were downed inside the Clemson 20. The other landed at the 25. The coverage on those kicks was gorgeous, and had a lot to do with the results. But Camarda was characteristically consistent on the night, setting up the defense in solid position, and getting the ball out quickly against a Tiger team that came after him a couple of times looking to create momentum in the kicking game.
As always feel free to take issue with these selections and to propose your own MVDs in the comments. Until later…