You don’t pull off one of the most memorable comebacks in program history and punch your ticket to the college football national title game without a complete team effort. Nonetheless, even under those circumstances certain Bulldogs are bound to leave an outsized mark on the evening. They are your MVDs: the most valuable ‘Dawgs from Georgia’s 42–41 come-from-behind victory over Ohio State.
Offense: Arian Smith. Honestly this one was tough. Because a lot of players made clutch plays tonight. Kenny McIntosh had 126 yards of total offense. Brock Bowers made a series of tough catches. AD Mitchell shook off the rust and caught the game-winning touchdown. The Mailman delivered that pass and so many others. But Smith’s electrifying 76 yard touchdown reception felt like the moment when Georgia players and fans believed they were going to be able to win this one.
Defense: Javon Bullard. The Milledgeville Mauler (TM) was all over the field tonight. He tallied 3 solo tackles, a sack, and a quarterback hurry. But perhaps his most impactful play was actually when he laid a solid lick on Buckeye standout receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. in the back of the end zone that knocked Ohio State’s most effective receiver out of the game.
It was initially called targeting but overturned on review as Bullard very clearly led with his shoulder and never came close to Harrison’s head. It was simply the kind of good, clean hit for which Bullard has developed a reputation. I would go so far as to say that I personally don’t think Georgia wins this game if CJ Stroud was throwing to Harrison on that final drive.
Special Teams: Kearis Jackson. Jackson had a 22 yard punt return and kickoff returns of 27 and 23 yards. While the Bulldog offense squandered some of that awesome field position, that takes nothing from the fact that Jackson had a phenomenal night returning kicks. He didn’t bobble any, and didn’t take any ill-advised fair catches. On a night when the kicking game wasn’t always reliable, Jackson was Mr. Steady.
As always, feel free to chime in with your own selections in the comments.