First, some truth:
The No.1 team in the country should never be on ESPN+— Dawn of the Dawg (@DawnOfTheDawg) September 24, 2022
This edition of “15 Thoughts” will be direct and to the point. That game was tough to watch, but as Macondawg said, we’ve played worse.
1. September noon games are the worst and don’t be shocked if a few of our remaining home games will be early starts. Next year, given the slate of craptacular cupcakes on our home schedule (hey, it’s not our fault the SEC made us dump Oklahoma for UT-Martin), this team had better get used to the idea of going to bed a bit earlier on the Friday before the brunch special Saturday kickoff. It is what it is.
2. Our defense, particularly against the run, looks a whole lot different without Jalen Carter in the middle. We acquitted ourselves well in the first half against Kent State’s rushing attack, but man did we get gashed betwixt the tackles in the 2nd half by Marquez Cooper. That little bowling ball could scoot (21 carries/90 yards). Their 13-play scoring drive was most unpleasant. That can't happen.
3. We weren’t entirely gap-sound in the 2nd half. A lot of that was Kent State came to play and they had a chip on their shoulder. They never quit and are obviously very well coached squad by a dude who looks like he was fighting Russians in eastern Ukraine last week.
4. That little sideline pass where our corners got tied up and our safety or spy got picked worked well. Too well. That’s gotta get fixed. It broke for one long touchdown and they had success with it every time they ran it.
Kent State ended up with 281 yards of total offense. It seemed like a helluva lot more, didn’t it?
5. Of all the plays that we screwed up on, the fake punt was the most maddening. And that’s saying much because we screwed up a lot on Saturday. I saw it coming, you saw it coming but we were playing for the return when everyone in the entire stadium and a few thousand that had to shell out good money to watch ESPN+ knew Kent State would run a fake.
5A. That was the worst produced broadcast I’ve ever seen. I’m sure ESPN had a contract freelance production crew, but I missed a ton of snaps and am thinking about writing a strongly worded letter to Mickey Mouse to get my $9.99 back. Shoot, that’s nearly 2 1⁄2 gallons of gas.
6. Run blocking was average for the most part. We had success, but I saw some guys getting knocked back too many times. We had some boneheaded penalties, too. Stetson generally had ample time to throw the ball, but there were also times when he had pressure right in his face which should not happen against competition like this. Again, credit to the Golden Flashes. They did flash at times.
7. Daijun Edwards might be the 2nd best back on the team, at least right now. He’s got toughness and good vision. Kendall Milton runs hard, no question, but he doesn’t have the same wiggle and at times looks a bit stiff. Kenny McIntosh has been dealing with a thigh bruise, according to Kirby Smart, and it got aggravated late in the game yesterday on a freaky looking hit that was worrisome. Coach says he’s fine. We’ll see if he even plays against Mizzou. We are lacking an explosive threat at running back.
8. Oh! Laddy, Laddy, Laddy. If you are going to have the worst half of football in your career, this was the team and the place to do it. To his credit, he came back strong in the 2nd half. But 1 fumble, a muffed punt and probably 2 dropped touchdowns early-on would shake anyone’s confidence. The fact he put it behind him after the half was a good thing. He’s fine. And we’ll never speak of it again.
9. If Georgia simply executes without turning the ball over and dropping passes in the first 30 minutes, we probably go into the half up by 4 touchdowns or more. The lack of focus was contagious. That’s the funny thing about football. This stuff can spread quickly and it takes leadership and a calming influence - on the field - to put down the bad mojo. As well as the defense played (for the most part) in the first half, the 2nd half was maddening.
10. I’d like to see Bear Alexander get involved more. He’s going to be a good one. He’s still learning, but when he starts to play instinctive football, I think the sky is the limit for this kid.
11. There was some good stuff. Brock Bowers is a wine sippin’ grape stompin’ Greek god. Did he get a bit dinged up yesterday? Maybe he was just gassed, but he looked a bit gimpy late.
Second play of the game. Brock Bowers is insane— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 24, 2022
Brock Bowers is insane.
12. Stetson Bennett was 27/36 for 272 yards and a pick. No touchdowns. The lone pick was probably not his fault as his intended receiver allowed the Kent State defender to cut in front of him. Bennett spread the wealth once again with 9 different targets catching at least 1 ball. Guess who led the group? Ladd, with 6 receptions for 65 yards.
13. Special teams, aside from the McConkey muffed punt, we fine. Jalon Walker blocks the hell out of a John Smith punt for a safety. Jack Podlesny was perfect on the day with 3 field goals and 4 extra points. Kearis Jackson had 76 return yards on 3 kickoffs. And our Australian punter never got a shot all day which is actually okay.
Blocked! Kinda’ like my Twitter account by numerous Gator Tweeters...
14. So, at the end of the day, Georgia had a nearly perfect balance of rushing yardage (257) and passing yardage (272). It all comes down to execution, and you either do it or you do not. The other team doesn’t care about your rankings. They want to win as badly as you do.
15. Georgia won “comfortably” 39-22. If Ladd McConkey doesn’t drop at last one, possibly two touchdowns, we probably go into the half with a much bigger lead and the final score would be in the 40’s or 50’s. It’s all about perspective. We just didn’t execute, but this team is hardly broken. We also aren’t perfect, either. Learn from it and move on. I think it’ll ultimately serve us well as this entire week has been way too full of accolades (a.k.a. “rat poison) and genuflecting from all quarters of the media and a few of us. Kirby will use it to his advantage and I expect a much better effort against a reeling Mizzou next Saturday night in CoMo.
Before everyone goes off the deep end, realize that we are still missing our best wideout in A.D. Mitchell and Jalen Carter absolutely needs to heal up because he’s simply the anchor on defense. Yeah, we’re far from perfect, but everyone not named Kirby Smart was proclaiming us to be. You’re never as good as you think (or as bad unless you’re Georgia Tech). We’ve got a stretch of games at Mizzou, against Auburn and Vandy at home, then the bye before The Cocktail Party. Fix some things, get better.
As far as Saturday goes, flush it and move on. I already have.
Georgia fans are addicted to dominance. Today was not dominant. And that's ok. #GoDawgs— Logan Booker (@LoganMBooker) September 24, 2022
- I casually tuned in and out of the Gator vs. Vol tilt. Tennessee has a very effective offense, no doubt. Watching Billy Napier become unhinged on the sideline was the highlight of the annual meteor game. Very Dan Mullenesque.
- Missouri should’ve beaten Auburn twice. The only part of that game I watched was the missed kick to win it and the ode to “Pig Howard” fumble on the goal line as Mizzou had it won until they didn’t. I feel bad for the kid.
Mizzou was THIS close to an OT win in Auburn pic.twitter.com/KN1GmSmHqw— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 24, 2022
Sometimes, life ain’t fair.
- Texas...still not back.
- Saw a few disparaging Tweets from Oklahoma fans during and after our game. They went conspicuously silent for some reason later in the evening.
- Yesterday, a lot of teams struggled. Some got beat. We won and that’s all that matters.