Dawgs 50, LSU 30. Georgia took the wraps off an offense that could’ve scored into the 60’s had Kirby Smart not called of the Dawgs after we hit the half-century mark early in the 4th quarter last night. Who can stop us? I can’t think of anyone...except, perhaps, us. And now, the other marquee B1G school awaits. Yankees in Georgia? Bring ‘em!
After learning our December 31st opponent, this iteration of “15 Thoughts” almost seems a bit anti-climactic. But wait! Lots of .gifs!
1. I’ve got a serious question for you: When this run is over, whether we win back-to-back Natty’s or not, should Stetson Bennett’s jersey number be retired? I think it should.
Is Stetson Bennett the greatest Georgia QB to ever do it? @aaronmurray11 sure thinks so pic.twitter.com/ew9ldkr66k— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 4, 2022
This is quite the endorsement...
2. I don’t think we’ll see a “perfect” game (whatever perfect is) from this team at any point this year. But this team is perfectly calibrated to overcome any warts (and there were a few) at any time. Whatever was going on in our secondary last night will get addressed, but I think Macondawg summed it up what happened pretty well.
“There’s certainly a temptation to say that LSU exposed a weakness in the Bulldog defense that some team could exploit in the playoff. I’d caution that LSU was winging it in a way that’s not really sustainable (as the two turnovers showed), and that Georgia was playing some serious prevent defense. Still it will create some nice teachable moments.” - Your friend and mine, Macondawg
Once LSU’s gritty Jayden Daniels was replaced by Garrett Nussmeier, the “nothing to lose” offensive philosophy that Brain Kelly ordered was bound to hit some plays, make some mistakes and cause a few headaches. Yes, nice teachable moments.
3. I’ve watched a lot of Georgia football in my lifetime. I’ve seen some really cerebral players come through Athens that overcame whatever lack of “talent” they had by their ability to critically think during the heat of battle. The best I ever saw was rover Terry Hoage who played from 1980 to 1983. I think Christopher smith is on-par. If for some reason the NFL doesn’t work out for #29, he’s probably got a career ahead teaching the game. If he’s a stock, I’m buying.
BLOCKED— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 3, 2022
TOUCHDOWN GEORGIA! pic.twitter.com/ZYQMLhMpGX
An awesome block by Nazir Stackhouse got even awesomer...
4. We had quite the visit from ‘ol Lady Luck in the first half. After this bizarre interception and proof that the “tip drill” is a real, spectacular thing, the first quarter onslaught was on. I did not think this was an interception in real time. Notice who is around the ball? Christopher Smith. He’s good at football. Smael Mondon got the pick.
Can't make this one up.— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 3, 2022
INTERCEPTION OFF THE HELMET! pic.twitter.com/diJ19WtzZ0
The SEC Conference Championship has, largely, been unkind in terms of a lucky bounce or a missed call here ‘n there since Georgia’s first appearance in 2002. At least for a half of football, a lot of good came back on us.
5. Jalen Carter, in my mind, should be the first guy drafted in a few months. When healthy, he’s the most dominant lineman I’ve ever seen - certainly at Georgia, but perhaps anywhere. To think that we have the better part of a month to get this guy completely healthy should cause the next offensive coordinator we’ll face some sleepless nights. Our entire defensive front played tremendous and LSU was held to 47 net yards rushing, despite a lone breakdown when Josh Williams burst through our line for a 47 yard run. Tramel Walthour was tremendous, with 1.5 sacks and a critical 3rd down stuff during a point in the game when LSU was sneaking around. Chazz Chambliss did a good job as well, netting an important early sack in the game and atoned for some sloppy play against Tech last week.
Jalen Carter carried Jayden Daniels like a child.— DawgsHQ (@DawgsHQ) December 3, 2022
( : @UGAAthletics) pic.twitter.com/skB7e6kZ4H
I told Mrs. DtD this is what I want for Christmas. A framed picture of perhaps the most iconic image ever. That’s it. That’s all I want. Oh, and more scotch.
Look at Jalen Carter on LSU RT #50 Emery Jones. 88 can play anywhere on the line. An absolute cheat code pic.twitter.com/kJHJiJc3QU— Graham Coffey (@DawgOutWest) December 3, 2022
This was big...
6. Yeah, we had some head-scratching moments in this game as well. The aforementioned defensive secondary lapses and inconsistent defending by Kelee Ringo (I think Kirby is going to challenge him again and he’ll respond) were probably all overshadowed by the goofy RPO that Stetson and Kendall Milton mishandled on our opening 3rd quarter drive. We were 2nd and 5 from LSU’s 35 and the Tigers were absolutely on their heels when the weirdness occurred. This was very reminiscent of the Florida game after the half. It’s a weird dynamic that can’t be explained, but we’ve got at least one more game to work on that as well.
7. But what a game, Kendall Milton! This is the back that we’ve only seen glimpses of in his entire career because of constant injuries. K-Milt impressed with tough running, yards after contact, good vision and patience and speed. Eight carries, 113 yards and a tremendous 51-yard answer to an LSU score when the Tigers were harshing my mellow in the 3rd quarter.
Have a game, #2.
8. I think it’s safe to say that Todd Monken has been holding some stuff back on offense over the last few weeks. You can bet that he’s got some pretty tasty tricks up his sleeve going forward. And about those red zone scoring woes? My, my, my how things change when we spread people out and overload our blocking schemes. We play our best man-ball between the 20’s and yesterday’s rushing numbers confirm this: 44 carries/255 yards/5.8 ypc/2 TD. But man is it beautiful to get our tight ends involved down close.
The Bennett/Bowers connection strikes again for the Bulldogs. pic.twitter.com/utDetMGV2n— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 3, 2022
Brock Bowers got an early score but my favorite was to Darnell Washington. Why? Because he’s earned it, dammit. He’s done everything a tight end can possibly do to help his team win offensively.
Georiga's 6-7, 270 pound TE Darnell Washington gives them a 28-7 lead in the first half.pic.twitter.com/ndBe6klaAR— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 3, 2022
This might be my favorite touchdown of the day. There were so many, how to choose?
9. Ladd McConkey might be the most important receiver we have when it’s all said and done. He came out of the game with a knee injury that is now being reported as “tendonitis,” evidently something that has plagued him for a while, along with an early-season turf toe.
Warren McClendon had to leave the game when he got rolled up on his left knee. Amarius Mims came in at right tackle and we didn’t miss a beat.
“McClendon is a light MCL, I don’t know how long it will be, don’t know what grade (sprain) it is...
Ladd, it’s a continuation of what he has been having to deal with — he has some tendonitis. It started aggravating him more, and he didn’t feel like he could go back in.” - Head Coach, Kirby Smart, post-game
They’ll be back.
10. We had a nifty little wrinkle early in the game. Perhaps you missed it, but I think it’s just evidence of how Todd Monken is beginning to unwrap some cool little ideas designed to give defensive coordinators something to ponder. Stetson Bennett flared a little screen pass to Arian Smith (can’t find the .gif) after a fake end around. This play is designed to either give to the runner (Kearis Jackson I think), or get Smith into space. Tuck that one away for later..
11. Our receivers were simply outstanding. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint is as sure-handed in traffic as anyone and makes acrobatic catches when the ball is perhaps less than ideally located. How about Dom Blaylock coming up with some drive sustaining grabs? I was surprised that Adonai Mitchell wasn’t targeted more just to rebuild the connection with Stetson, but perhaps by design. However, he’s a steely-eyed gun slinging two-point conversion ninja quarterback. Dillon Bell caught a score on a beautifully designed left-to-right pass that LSU simply couldn’t defend.
Yeah that really happened#GoDawgs | #SECChampionship pic.twitter.com/H6P8ReTk7J— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) December 4, 2022
A.D.’s QBR is perfect in 2022.
12. Stetson Bennett is a big-game quarterback. He looked totally in-control from the opening drive (which, admittedly, wasn’t very well executed) to the end of the game. He continues to make really tough throws into very tight windows. By the way, LSU’s Harold Perkins quietly had a “good” game, with 10 tackles, 8 solos and 1.5 TFL. But many of his tackles were 5-10 yards downfield. LSU’s defense did not record a single sack. Stetson didn’t have a single designed run if I recall. Keep him upright, coaches. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Stetson Bennett vs Ranked Teams (5)— Chris Marler (@VerneFUNquist) December 4, 2022
- 73.1% Comp Pct
- 307.4 Total YPG
- 13 Total TDs
- 2 INTs
UGA won those 5 games by an avg of 29.4 pts #UGA #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/6foQFYQ2dm
This is good.
13. I’d give special teams an A- on the day. The only issues were a kickoff out of bounds by Jack Podlesny and a missed field goal that doinked off the right upright when we were about to go up 24-3. Brett Thorson punted very well, averaging 52 yards per kick and 3 inside the 20.
14. This game obviously meant a lot to everyone on the team, and to the fans. I remember writing this last year after we got whipped by Alabama and really struggling with how the 2021 team would eventually finish, feeling a bit hopeless when I was penning those thoughts on that day. I cannot believe a year has already transpired. Here we are today, SEC Champions and the best team in America. No one can beat us unless we beat ourselves. We still have to clean up some things and there’s plenty of stuff on tape, especially in the passing game, to give upcoming offensive coordinators some hope. On the other hand, this is who we are: An excellent defense with some inconsistencies and an offense that has more in the bag than any of us realize. We’ve got the better part of a month to tweak, refine, fix, heal, coach, teach and scheme.
15. So, it’s on to Ohio State hate month. I don’t really hate Ohio State, but your mileage may vary. I’ve got several close cousins who are die-hard Buckeyes and also some family acquaintances that go back for years. But, for now I’m going to put all that neighborly/familial love on the back burners. We’ve got some Buckeyes to roast. In the coming weeks, this blog (and the 1.2 million other Georgia-centric sites) will have you covered. Ohio State will be a challenge to be sure, but it doesn’t matter. You play the next team on your schedule. The Vegas line is already Georgia -6.5. Michigan -9 over TCU.
15A. Part of me really wanted Bama to sneak in the back door. Maybe next year, Tide. But I tell you what: LSU has the nucleus of a really good team and I think Bama better begin to worry about their cross-division rivals a bit more than they currently obsess about all things Georgia. I wonder how many Bama players opt out of their bowl?
Georgia takes the field past honorary cheerleader Nolan Smith pic.twitter.com/lqVm6LyWPc— Jed May (@JedMay_) December 3, 2022
I love Nolan Smith.
- Bama is out, you say?
BREAKING: Gary Danielson is in shambles.— LEE Ring0️⃣ (@HBTFD1) December 4, 2022
- I believe the committee got it absolutely correct. TCU should not have been dinged for losing that game. I think they’ll give Michigan a tussle.
- Tennessee lost their offensive coordinator yesterday to the University of South Florida gig.
- One of the indelible images from yesterday’s ass-kicking was Todd Monken going nuts in the booth. That man takes pride in his craft.
Omg lock Todd Monken up forever, I love this man— Baxter Street Boys (@baxstboys) December 4, 2022
- How’s this for a flea flicker? Loved it.
The fake flea flicker is a thing of beauty. Thank you for this Purdue. pic.twitter.com/GRCFDo9sAQ— Sickos Committee (@SickosCommittee) December 4, 2022
- Coach Prime to Colorado? This will be fascinating! Not an easy gig, but I think he’ll get the Buffaloes up and running.
- All the bowl matchups will be available later this evening. Here’s the link.
That’s all I’ve got.