1. As the regular season drew to a close yesterday afternoon in the comfy confines of Sanford Stadium the moment wasn’t lost on me. Georgia, as expected, dispatched their in-state rival by another comfortable margin in a game that was hardly comfortable for the first 30 minutes. In reality, we could’ve covered the spread had we chosen to and perhaps made some people who put good money on things like this a bit more happy. The bottom line is this: We got the win, got some young guys snaps for the better part of an entire quarter, and re-established the natural order of things: We run this state.
2. I fully expected a slow start to the game and I wasn’t disappointed. Well, actually I was, but you catch my drift. Tech had a very good opening drive dialed up and we just sat back as Tech dictated things with the quick sideline route to Tech’s Nate McCollum that we didn’t defend. On 4th and 9, Tech hits McCollum again for 34 yards down to our 7. Two plays after that, we forgot how to play edge contain and Tech’s 7’ 4” running QB scored. Not an ideal opening.
3. There was no way we were going to have the same kind of intensity we had when Tennessee was in town. Such are the facts for noon kickoffs, little brother rival-be-damned. Kirby said it best when he described how it’s difficult to adjust for the Thanksgiving holiday and the disruption in the standard game week routine. That’s a real thing. Sometimes, playing on the road is better for early focus. Last year, we jumped all over Tech from the get-go. Fortunately, that's the last nooner for a while.
4. The defense, eventually, would find their footing and shut down Tech - although the Jackets had their chances. Tech could’ve added to our angst on their second possession, but their tight end dropped a sure-fire big play as their QB hit him in the hands and in-stride over the middle. Eventually, Tech would punt and we’d kick a field goal. Tech would punt again and we’d finally get the offense somewhat in rhythm, gashing the Jackets for 80 yards in 5 plays, most of which came on a big Kenny McIntosh 45 yard run. Stetson Bennett hit Marcus Rosemy Jacksaint for a 5 yard score and we’d never look back.
5. Tech’s only hope to pull an upset would be to A: Shorten the game. B: Get a big special teams play: C: Win the turnover battle. Tech won time of possession in the first half and we certainly aided their efforts with some penalties, especially in the defensive backfield. Tech targeted Kelee Ringo and it took #5 a while to adjust to this bold new strategy. Eventually, he did but not without a few bad moments and a really bad whiff on a tackle. Kelee was hardly alone early on in a few bad plays. He was simply picked on early.
6. The officiating during Thursday night’s Egg Bowl was about the worst I’ve ever seen. Yesterday was a damn close to eclipsing that. Brock Bowers got called for an offensive face mask as he was being horse-collared. I think the ref that was standing 5 feet away was the only person in the stadium that didn’t see it. The more egregious flag was the non pass interference penalty in the end zone that should've been called on the Tech defender that was draped all over Brock Bowers in the back of the end zone. Somehow, Ladd McConkey got called for a PI pick play. Warren McClendon got flagged (rightly so) for pushing a Tech defender in the back after the play was dead, but twice Tech got away with post-whistle pile jumping. Anyway, in the 12th game of the season you expect to see improvement in any particular football team (unless they’re really bad). Same thing with the officiating. The more I watch, the worse the officiating gets across the spectrum.
7. I thought Stetson scored and had extended the ball across the goal line before his elbow touched down. Arian Smith pinned the ball in his lap and nearly caught a beautifully thrown pass from Stetson that was ruled incomplete. This was probably the correct call, but it was close.
8. Tech couldn’t run the ball after we allowed them to gain a bit of hope early in the ball game. Jalen Carter was his usual disruptive self, and had a few nice plays in the backfield. I loved what I saw out of big Bear Alexander when he got his chances. Tech gained 40 yards on 28 attempts on the day, and QB Zach Gibson was sacked 4 times. Smael Mondon had another very good afternoon. Smael will probably be tasked with tracking LSU’s athletic QB next week, so rest up young man.
9. Once Georgia began to establish the run game the issue was never in doubt. The entire script was still very vanilla, probably by design. I did see Adonai Mitchell line up a few times to get some in-game reps. I’m not sure how game-ready he is, but we’ve come this far without him and hopefully the version of A.D. that we see in the next 5 weeks will be the best version of him.
10. It is good to see Ladd McConkey regain his confidence in the punt return game. He’s is so deceptively quick and “slithery,” especially in traffic.
11. Kenny McIntosh is probably playing his best football at just the right time. He has been dealing with a deep thigh bruise all year, but he’s a physical runner that we must have down the stretch. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is probably his greatest attribute. This was beautiful:
Stetson Bennett ➡️ Kenny McIntosh on the wheel route for 83 yards— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 26, 2022
McIntosh punched it in on the next play pic.twitter.com/z5tRbPY9ZN
12. Kendall Milton is feeling pretty good, too. Kendall had 56 yards on 4 rushes including our last score with a dagger right through the heart of Tech’s defense:
MILTON RIGHT UP THE MIDDLE— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 26, 2022
44 yards untouched and five straight scores for the Dawgs! pic.twitter.com/pgWLFCtPYy
On the day, Georgia rushed the ball 41 times for 264 yards, the vast majority in the 2nd half as we came out of the break and scored 27 unanswered points. Like I said, it could’ve been more, but get the win, get some lunch and enjoy the rest of the day getting treatments for the upcoming game in Atlanta.
13. Brock Bowers might have the best hands in the entire history of the world and whatever other alternative universes that are out there.
How did Brock Bowers snag this⁉️ pic.twitter.com/ySsCBONiCv— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 26, 2022
14. Shoutout to Jack Podlesny. The kid is in a total groove. I’d prefer he didn’t have to be in that total groove, but the fact that he is in that groove when we need him to be in that groove is groovy. And I, for one, think that groovy should be a more popular word than it is today and I’m doing my very best to make it so.
As mentioned before, Ladd McConkey had 2 punt returns including one for 39 yards. A newcomer back there is Mekhi Mews, #87 in your program. Mekhi is from Grayson High School and there has been some buzz all season in practice about his quicks. Mekhi had a nifty 21 yard scamper late in the game that got my attention. He’s a dangerous type of returner at just 5’ 8” and 170 pounds. Like Isaiah McKenzie, he can just get lost for a second in the wall of bodies and then, BOOM! He’s gone. Hmmm.....color me most intrigued.
Mekhi Mews #87 getting some run here after a nice punt return. Folks who watched scrimmages during fall camp raved about him. Lots of people feel he’s going to be a contributor for UGA at some point in his career— Graham Coffey (@DawgOutWest) November 26, 2022
15. I just want to congratulate this team and all of the coaches. For the first time in school history, we just completed an undefeated regular season in back-to-back years. I was thinking about, at the end of the SECCG in 2012 when we lost the heartbreak to Alabama, if that kind of “near” success was good enough. That had been a magical season and we we so close to breaking through. Ten years later we are now in the best spot in program history. What Kirby has done is remarkable, especially in the Age of Saban. And what he has done is sustainable because his model for success incorporates the best of what Nick has done (and continues to do), but with Kirby’s own imagination. These are, truly, the glory days. Long may they reign for many years to come.
Thank you to all the seniors, too. My heart still breaks for Nolan Smith because he came back for a 2nd helping of ultimate success. I’m sure his input is invaluable for some of the younger guys that had to step up in his place.
- LSU just lost a late-night, physical game to Texas A&M and now all their playoff hopes have come crashing down. TAMU had 274 yards rushing, 215 courtesy of Devon Achane. I had a feeling this game was going to trip up the Tigers. As bad as TAMU’s season has been (and it’s been epically bad), their crowd showed up last night. We'll see how LSU responds. I have no doubt we'll get "their best shot."
- Boy that ACC Championship Game is going to be one hot ticket. What a craptacular conference. Clemson’s D.J. Uiagaleilei was 8 for 29 passing...99 yards. It’s amazing what Dabo Swinney can do with a generational QB.
- Mascot Fight!
WEVE GOT A MASCOT FIGHT IN ARIZONA!!! pic.twitter.com/clKbewCdXS— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 25, 2022
- Nick Saban, ladies and gentlemen. He’ll be here all night. Tip your waiter!
Nick Saban on the cut on his face— Chris McCulley (@ChrisMcCulleyTV) November 27, 2022
"You should see the other guy" pic.twitter.com/ep95PY7P0y
Of course Nick is going to do his very best to convince the CFP committee to find a spot for his Crimson Tide, too.
- Michigan absolutely pantsed Ohio State yesterday. The Buckeyes are, in a word, soft. Michigan bullied tOSU on both lines. We will whip either team.
- USC in the Final Four? Looking mighty probable at the moment. TCU handled things as well.
- Oregon blew a 31-10 lead and lost to Oregon State, 38-34. Then, an Oregon player lost cool and a fan nearly lost his head.
Not the first time an Oregon player has thrown a sucker punch…… pic.twitter.com/48dESdmz3V— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 27, 2022
That’s all I’ve got, err’body. THWGT!