Where do I begin?
1. If we are really honest, we have seen some chinks in our armor going back to the Samford game. These issues seemed to vanish against South Carolina (a red herring?), but against Kent State they returned. By the end of the first quarter last night in CoMo, much of what was being discounted for the first 1⁄3 of the season were being attributed to as “noon starts,” or “playing down to the level of our competition" were exposed as simple excuses. The these are the facts: We have a very good football team at the moment. And a very young football team. Elite? Perhaps it can be, but right now we are not.
Mizzou came out with an edge that more than made up for any “lack of talent” they may (or may not) have at any given position. It took an entire half for our guys to match it. Better late than never.
We’re going to get everyone’s best shot forever. Better get used to it.
2. I didn’t have a drop to drink during the game. Typically, I pour myself a cold and/or stiff one after we score, and over the last 4 weeks I’ve been imbibing early and often. By the time we finally kicked a Jack Podlesny field goal with 6:36 before halftime, my desire to drink anything except hemlock was pretty much out the window. I also wore out the “Jump” button on my remote to the Braves-Mets affair.
It was only after we took the victory formation that I went for the bottle. I think it was Buffalo Trace, but in my state of mind at that particular moment it could’ve been Formula 409. No matter. I slept the sleep of a winner.
3. Getting whipped for 3 quarters of football on both sides of the ball is no way to go through life. But football is a 4 quarter game, and if you are going to win in this Conference, on the road, you have to win the 4th quarter. We are damn lucky to have made a few defensive plays because that game could have been over by the half.
4. Here is the good stuff: Georgia amassed 315 2nd half yards and scored on every drive until the last one when we ran out the clock, largely behind Daijun Edwards and a suddenly effective offensive line. Our 2nd half drives were as follows:
- 16 Plays, 66 yards (Jack Podlesny field goal)
- 6 plays, 64 yards (Jack Podlesny field goal)
- 10 plays, 75 yards (Kendall Milton touchdown)
- 7 plays, 68 yards (Daijun Edwards touchdown)
- 8 plays, 42 yards - game over
5. I thought all of our running backs played great despite the poor showing of the offensive line, particularly in the first half.
“Gettin’ yo ass whipped up front. That’s what the finger was,. When you put on pads and you’ve got to strike another man, and he’s across from you and he weighs 300 and you weigh 300, somebody wins and somebody loses. So, the finger is we’re gettin’ our butts whooped, OK?” - Head Coach Kirby Smart, post game when asked to identify first-half issues
Kendall Milton ran the best he has all season. The fumble on Georgia’s 2nd possession can’t be purely placed upon his shoulders. The Mizzou defender made a great play, punching the ball out from behind. Kenny McIntosh ran tough and had a couple of chunk runs, especially in the 2nd half when the offensive line began to wear down Mizzou’s defense.
6. Daijun Edwards continues to impress me. Not because he’s going to get you that tough yard and is dependable. It’s because for much of his career, his only real opportunities have come in garbage time, hence his nickname “The Human Victory Cigar.” His stats on the night aren’t going to wow anyone, but 11 tough carries for 49 yards and his contribution on Georgia’s last drive of the game to seal the deal were huge. Huge.
6A. Stetson Bennett got the hell beat out of him all night. He had a few misses, but he also threaded the needle on more than one critical occasion. He’s my quarterback.
7. When they designed the Hadron Collider, they printed a 3-D model of Darnell Washington. Then they built the thing. Big “0” had his best game in his career. He caught the ball and took shots, often from multiple defenders - in traffic, and held onto the rock when a mere mortal probably would not have. He had to block like our lives depended on it because they did. A complete game for Big 0.
the physics of Darnell Washington pic.twitter.com/njotqqROAJ— Wes Blankenship (@Wes_nship) October 2, 2022
8. I can’t say enough good things about Dominick Blaylock (3 receptions, 42 yards), who made the most of his opportunities as he’s gradually rotated back into the fold. He made some tough, vital catches in traffic as did Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (3 receptions, 46 yards).
Unsung hero for Georgia: Dominick Blaylock pic.twitter.com/ja9Oqhucai— Dayne Young (@dayneyoung) October 2, 2022
Ladd McConkey had an early drop, but came back strong when targeted with 4 receptions for 39 yards. It took a while to get Brock Bowers involved, but he ended up with the most yardage of the receiving bunch with 66, including a long of 33. Arian Smith (!) had a catch and Dillon Bell got in on the action.
But “red zone” woes are a reality. I thought our tight ends were supposed to cure this? This has got to get fixed, pronto.
8A. We’ve got to get a deep threat back. Could Arian Smith actually become a factor going forward? Right now, we do not have anyone who can really take the top off the defense, despite our wealth of slot/TE talent. We need that homerun threat. And we really need A.D. Mitchell to get healed up.
9. The Jalen Carter chop block was bad enough, especially when it wasn’t flagged. I think this should be a reviewable call going forward and the offending player should be ejected, similar to the targeting rule. If you chop, whether with intent or not, you should be gone.
Looks like a dirty play to me on UGA’s Jalen Carter….. no? pic.twitter.com/5W54GDCSPj— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) October 2, 2022
Classic chop block, no flag. Stevie Wonder would’ve made this call. Dirty as hell, too.
I don’t know how long Carter will be out, but his absence is extremely worrisome. After coming back from an ankle injury, he is now dealing with an MCL sprain. Sucks.
10. Play of the game? Possibly. This carried more weight at the time than we realized. On the next play, Mizzou jumped for a 5-yard flag and ultimately settled for a field goal.
Mizzou gashed our interior a few times like this. Yeah, losing all that beef from last year mattered.
11. Jason Dumas-Johnson (7 solo tackles, 1 TFL) was seen chewing out (actually, going a bit nuts) on Kamari Lassiter shortly after Mizzou QB Brady Cook, scrambling for his life on a 3rd and forever play, rolled towards his right and hit a Mizzou receiver downfield to keep a drive alive that should’ve died right there. “Pop” is the unquestioned leader on defense. We need that.
12. Jack Podlesny is 12 of 13 on field goals in 2022; perfect in extra points. Last night, he had to be perfect and he was. Kirby doesn’t like to kick field goals, but if you must, you’d better make them especially on the road in this Conference.
13. You can’t run on the edge against Georgia, and I’m a bit surprised Mizzou didn’t try many perimeter passes that Kent State used to great effect. We managed 2 sacks, and Mizzou only threw a few deep balls, but a large part of their passing success came as a result of Brady Cook getting away from trouble and finding someone.
14. Mizzou gained 294 total yards: 192 passing, 102 rushing. It seemed like a ton more and the bulk of this came before the half. The Tigers 2nd half drives were thus:
- 3 plays, 7 yards - punt
- 5 plays, 42 yards (Harrison Mevis field goal)
- 7 plays, 37 yards (Harrison Mevis field goal)
- 5 plays, 14 yards - punt
- 3 plays, 0 yards - punt
So, we effectively shut them down after the half, giving up 6 points. Mizzou had a short field virtually all night and certainly in the first half.
15. You have to credit Missouri. They came out fired up and showed absolutely no ill effects from their heartbreak at Auburn the week before. Yeah, I was drinking the Georgia -30 point-spread Kool Aid, too.
But, credit our guys, too. The defense, though gashed at times, bowed up when it had to and kept us in the game with some very youthful players make veteran plays. These guys are growing up right before our eyes, but still have a lot to learn.
Our offensive line is a mystery. They got bottled up for much of the night, but in the 4th quarter looked like a steamroller and did wear down the very good Mizzou front, but only after switching up our blocking philosophy from Zone to Gap. Mizzou has always had a very good defensive front, at least while they’ve been a member of the SEC. Last night, they stuffed the box and always had a defender off the edge on every play, it seemed.
We won the game, and that’s all that matters. We’ve got a reeling Auburn team coming up at 3:30 on CBS, so let me be the first to go ahead and preemptively say, “Shut up, Gary!”
There’s a lot to fix, but a lot to build upon.
“Two things we talk about all the time is composure and resiliency and we had to OD on those tonight because we certainly didn’t start very well, start in good field position. Look, I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. At halftime, nobody blinked, nobody questioned. It was the most together I’ve ever seen our team.”- Kirby Smart, post-game.
Here are some stats for you to consider. Put the ball in the end zone more, boys.
Final lines:— Jon Tweets Sports (@jontweetssports) October 2, 2022
Georgia’s offense: 481 yds / 6.1 yds per play.
Georgia’s defense: 294 yds / 5.5 yds per play allowed.
3rd down: UGA 4/13 - Mizzou 3/13
Turnovers: UGA 2 - Mizzou 0
Stetson Bennett: 24/43 for 312 yds 0 TDs & 0 INTs.
Kenny McIntosh: avg 6.3 yds on his touches. pic.twitter.com/MdzsEukvYL
I don’t care what we’re ranked after last night. I only care about beating Auburn. I hate Auburn. Assume they are going to bring everything they’ve got on Saturday.
- Alabama was well on its way to blowing out Arkansas, who were simply outclassed, until Bryce Young hurt his shoulder. I hope the kid recovers. But they didn’t miss a beat when the backup arrived and the delayed beatdown resumed. Arkansas’ defensive secondary is offensive.
- Auburn blowing a 17 point lead at home to LSU is pretty much the death knell for Bryan Harsin. I’m sure it’ll be a bigger relief for him and his family than it will for the Auburn family when the shoe finally drops.
- Georgia Tech beat Pitt. I bet Vegas cleaned up big-time on that one.
- The Kentucky - Ole Miss game was quite entertaining. Not necessarily for the football, but the frat-boy fight in the stands
The Founding Fathers risked their lives to ensure we would have the right to do exactly this. God bless America pic.twitter.com/LNLvYGltea— Three Year Letterman (@3YearLetterman) October 1, 2022
Man, is there going to be some polyester destroyed tonight!
- This you gotta see. If you were to create in a lab a person that combined The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and an offensive lineman (I’m thinking David Andrews), this is what you’d get. Now, I play some guitar and drums and can even sing a little bit. But I can’t do this. Dayum!
Folks, before I go please consider giving a donation - anything will help - to the Hurricane Ian relief effort. I don’t want to post links here, but Google is your friend and there are some great local support organizations that can get help immediately to those in greatest need. Thank you.