Pinch me. Never in my wildest dreams could I envision the run that we are in the midst of.
1. I love this. Every week, with all the injuries we have and continue to have on the offensive side of the ball, a dude at a skill position steps up. The question is from week-to-week, who will it be? Yesterday, it was Dillon Bell turn, who played in the slot for Ladd McConkey. Ladd was unavailable due to one of three reasons I gleaned from various post-game sources: His ankle was still hurting, his back flared up again, or he was battling some sort of illness. Regardless, it was Bell’s turn to shine and he did with a bullet!
"Sign good players. Sign good kids. And get them to believe that if they don't care who gets the credit, that they'll be very successful."— CBS Sports College Football (@CBSSportsCFB) November 18, 2023
Kirby Smart broke down @GeorgiaFootball's winning formula with @JennyDell_ pic.twitter.com/zf2z7zZN9b
2. Tennessee dominated Georgia for 11 seconds. If you blinked, you missed it.
Kneeland Stadium was rocking. For 11 ephemeral seconds, the crowd believed. Sales of orange-and white checkerboard overalls (and onesies) spiked. Lulu and Junior shared a dip. Cousins kissed; some may have even proposed. All was right in their world. Alas, for the home faithful that literally was their moment in the sun. Dolly Parton couldn’t even save ‘em.
If giving up a first drive (or, in this case, a first play) touchdown is the price for victory which legitimately seems to be Georgia’s modus operandi, I guess go ahead and sign me up. I’d prefer this not to be, but I’m beginning to wonder how I might feel if we force Tech to actually punt on their first possession next Saturday night. It’s a conundrum.
3. In perusing the official stats, the thing that stood out was time of possession. Georgia was a ball control monster, winning this battle 40:58 to 19:02. Tennessee’s fast paced offense only guaranteed they’d go 3-and-out a lot quicker than your average offense, thus ensuring their defense has to play more. I like this strategy. The Dawgs outgained the Vols 472 to 277. Their long touchdown accounted for 57% of their entire day’s rushing output. If you remove the running game from Tennessee’s offense, you’ll win just as Mizzou did last week when the Vols only gained 83 yards against The Tigers. Tennessee only gained 55 more yards on the ground after that maddening first play.
4. Georgia was 9 for 13 on 3rd down (69%), better than their national leading conversion rate (57%). Perhaps the biggest 3rd down conversion of the game came in the 2nd quarter, with the Dawgs up by ten, but facing a situation where the odds of success are generally not good.
Carson Beck does not care about your long odds. In fact, he embraces them.
You cannot throw a better pass than this one from Carson Beckpic.twitter.com/PocfOxa4ac— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) November 18, 2023
This was a perfect pass and even better catch on a 50-50 ball by Dillon Bell, who is truly Georgia’s “Swiss Army Knife” player. An incredible play by #86 in white - and one of many on the day.
5. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint was an absolute stud on Saturday as well. Some of his catches were not exactly easy. Seven catches, 91 yards and a couple of scores for the young man from south Florida. This catch, however, was easy-peasy from Bell (who has a QBR of 100%).
Mike Bobo is cooking with gas, folks.
6. Brock Bowers is probably not 100%, but it doesn’t matter. No matter what “percentage” of health he is, he’s still better than anyone else at his position, anywhere. Bowers blocked, he caught passes, he scored, and he demands the attention of the 2nd and 3rd tiers of the defense which makes everything else hum.
7. Running yards were hard to come by for much of the game and the Vols defensive front played very well as their philosophy was to focus on Carson Beck’s plethora of weapons to throw to. Tennessee’s pass rush has been very effective to date, but Beck was not sacked a single time in the game.
Despite the difficulties in running the ball, especially early, the backs began to crack a tired Tennessee defense late. Kendall Milton has now scored in his last 6 games, including his 15 yard score to ice the game. Daijun Edwards chipped in for 34 tough yards; and Arian Smith showed off his wheels on a nifty 33 yard end-round that was one block away from going the distance.
8. Georgia had to rotate and mix-match offensive linemen after Tate Ratledge left the game with a (what else?) knee injury. Post-game reports suggest it might not be as serious as first feared. According to Kirby, Tate “banged knees” with a Vol defender and x-rays are negative. Rara Thomas left the game early with a foot issue (x-rays also negative). Amarius Mims back at tackle is so very vital. Georgia has depth on the line and as the season grows long in the tooth this fact could make all the difference in the post-season.
9. The defensive player of the game was Tykee Smith who made 8 solo tackles mostly in run support.
Mykel Williams had a vastly underrated game, in my opinion. He recorded a huge sack late in the game but pressured Joe Milton early and often while being held early and often. The SEC officiating crews remain loathe to throw the flag when it is so obvious. Do they pre-determine this at all? Javon Bullard played an exception 2nd half as well. Tennessee’s offense was held in check for most of the game and that’s hard to do in their place.
10. What is it with a large contingent of Vol fans and Twitter (or, X)? Life’s too short to post all the bookmarks I saved since last weekend when Mizzou crushed them, but they seemed to be convinced we were in for a beating. Anyway, I’ve never viewed Tennessee on the same level as Florida or Auburn in terms of the teams you never want to lose to. I think that has now changed, at least in my mind.
11. So, what happened to Brock Bowers when he reacted so violently to whatever the Vols’ James Pearce, Jr. did? Whatever it was, Brock was absolutely pissed and his reaction was very telling. Everyone knows that Brock is probably the coolest clam on the beach. Did Pearce take some sort of dirty shot in the pile - perhaps an elbow to the throat, or did he spit on Bowers? Probably both. Whatever the reason, both Kirby and Brock refused to address it.
Brock’s reaction speaks volumes.
12. I did not realize that Georgia has not allowed a single punt return this entire season. At least, that’s what I read/heard. Is this true? Mercy.
13. Special teams did what you must do on the road in one of the more hostile (at least for 11 seconds) environments in all of college football: don’t screw up. Every one of Jared Zirkel’s kickoffs (and there were many) were touchbacks which negates any possibility of a long, momentum changing return. Do not allow a special teams “big play” in their stadium. Mission accomplished. Brett Thorson punted twice with great effect and “Mr. Automatic” Peyton Woodring was perfect on the day. Mekhi Mews only had a single opportunity for a punt return, but most importantly he field each chance cleanly.
14. Clearing your bench in the 4th quarter is a beautiful thing. Watching the orange exodus in that stadium, having experienced the 90’s, is even more inspiring. The talent gap between us and them is significant. It’s Gatoresque!
15. Georgia thrashed a vociferous opponent yesterday at their place for the 7th win in a row in the series and solidifying their all-time wins advantage. After our first play moment of derpitutde, we scored 24 un-answered points and won comfortably 38-10. I also don’t think we played our best game of the season, either. I think our best game of the season is still out there, waiting.
There are always some things to clean up, but this team is getting better at the right time. Carson Beck made some “pro-throws” yesterday and has complete command of Mike Bobo’s offense. No Ladd McConkey or Rara Thomas? No problem. Next men up. Just a game which featured some wonderful adjustments which is what this Georgia staff does so well.
Kirby probably celebrated quite heartily in the locker room, post-game. And then shut that down. I love our coach. He’s keeping the main thing the main thing. Always.
On to Georgia Tech, winners last night over Syracuse 31-22. It’ll be weird playing against former (DGD) Dom Blaylock, who scored on a 53-yard touchdown. This will be a night game for a change - the first one in their band-box stadium seemingly since the Carter Administration. It’ll also be at least 60-70% Georgia fans occupying Mark Richt Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia now has 28 wins in-a-row, tying the SEC record held by Alabama. Let’s go get it.
- I watched every bit of Florida/Mizzou last night. Once again, the Gators somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Am I wrong in actually feeling sorry for Billy Napier? How do you give up a 4th and 17 pass play to breathe life back into a Mizzou team that was beat? At Florida, you can do that. Mizzou is having a special season.
Missouri just did WHAT⁉️— College Football Report (@CFBRep) November 19, 2023
Billy Napier’s seat is on f*cking fire pic.twitter.com/a3EBL9wN0S
- In that game, Graham Mertz probably broke a bone on a gutsy play to keep a critical drive alive. No matter how I personally feel about Florida, Mertz is a gamer.
- Auburn paid New Mexico State 1.85 million dollars to come down and play a football game. Auburn was favored by 25.5. They lost by 21. This was the largest SEC point spread upset in 45 years for the team that was favored. New Mexico State absolutely “whipped the dog crap out of them” (to borrow a line).
- I guess the Iron Bowl has lost some luster.
- Prayers up for FSU’s Jordan Travis. I saw the replay of his leg injury and it is too gruesome to post. The Seminoles rolled on to victory, but at tremendous cost. Lots of injuries across the spectrum yesterday. This was probably the worst of the lot.
- Someone put Babers in a corner. Dino got fired today.
- Tone deaf much, Michigan? If you are truly America’s Team, how come everyone hates you?
A Michigan player is wearing a 'Free Harbaugh' shirt during warmupspic.twitter.com/Rtotm51rRA— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 18, 2023
- The CFP rankings probably won’t change on Tuesday night. Next Tuesday, they’ll have to change as Ohio State travels to Ann Arbor, and with the Jordan Travis injury there is no guarantee that Florida State wins in Gainesville.
- Dan Mullen, from the top rope ladies and gentlemen:
Are we sure that they have the right coach on the hot seat in LA.— Dan Mullen (@CoachDanMullen) November 18, 2023
That’s all I’ve got. Now get your mind right, folks. We’ve got some Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate that demands the full attention of each and every one of you.