You don’t walk into a stadium filled with 103,000 raucous hill people and then walk out victorious without a total team effort. Even then some players are bound to climb higher than the rest on Rocky Top. Those extraordinary contributors are your MVDs: the Most Valuable ‘Dawgs from Georgia’s 38-10 win over the Tennessee Volunteers.
Offense: Dillon Bell. Ask not for whom the Bell tolls. He tolls for thee. Bell had a rush for 4 yards, 5 receptions for a career-high 90 yards, and an 18 yard touchdown pass. I’m going to assume he also did the laundry postgame and will man the omelette station at the team breakfast tomorrow. Truly a whale of a performance.
Defense: Tykee Smith. Tykee Smith had 8 solo tackles today. The next closest Bulldog, Javon Bullard, had 3. Those numbers sort of speak for themselves. But the significance beyond the number is that the Volunteer offense has thrived this season on running downhill, using tempo, and forcing exhausted defenders to take bad angles and miss tackles. The Bulldogs generally and Smith specifically refused to do so, and it was a huge factor in the win.
Special teams: Brett Thorson. The Thunder from Down Under punted twice, one for 41 yards and the other for 47. Neither was returned. In fact, Thorson enters the regular season finale without having a single punt returned all season. I don’t know if that’s some sort of record, but it’s certainly noteworthy. By not allowing any returns today Georgia prevented one of things that could have given the underdog Volunteers a shot of momentum.
The honorable mention here goes to Mekhi Mews, who similarly did nothing spectacular, but also nothing spectacularly awful, on his two punt returns. When you’re clearly the better football team the first rule is not to mess it up on special teams. Mission accomplished in this one.
To paraphrase Dolly Parton, am I all right? Or is it all wrong? Let me know in the comments. And…