You don’t hang half a hundred on a top ten SEC team and very nearly pitch a second half shutout without everyone in red and black doing their part. But to truly derail the Lane Train on this rainy night required some Bulldogs to go above and beyond. Those legends of the Fall are your MVDs, the Most Valuable ‘Dawgs from Georgia’s 52-17 win over the Ole Miss Rebels.
Offense: The offensive line. Every Bulldog skill player seems to have amassed gaudy stats tonight. But it all started up front.
The offensive line gave up a single sack and not a single negative yardage rushing play on the night. Bulldog backs piled up 300 rushing yards on 35 carries, an outlandish 8.6 yards per attempt. It was the most dominant performance since last season’s national title game, and a promising sign for the future.
Defense: CJ Allen. Allen got his first career start in place of the injured Jamon Dumas-Johnson and responded with a team high 9 tackles including 4 solo stops and a sack. That kind of production from a true freshman is certainly noteworthy, but doing it against the SEC’s third most potent offense is something else entirely. While it’s maybe a bit early for grand pronouncements, I think there’s a real chance that we’ve found the next in the long line of elite UGA inside linebackers that includes Roquan Smith, Nakobe Dean, and Dumas-Johnson.
Special Teams: Jared Zirkel. Zirk the Herc, he of the mighty leg, kicked 7 touchbacks and had another kick that was returned 3 yards to the Ole Miss 5. His efforts were a big part of the Bulldogs’ winning the field position battle in this one. And while it felt like the Red and Black could have given the Rebels the ball at midfield in the second half and still very nearly pitched a shutout, it was still a remarkably consistent effort from Zirk the Merc (okay, we’re still workshopping nicknames, but we’ll figure something out).
In the words of noted college football analysts PM Dawn, if I’m right I’m right. But if I’m wrong then show me I’m wrong (in the comments that is). Until later….