clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Georgia 31, Tech 23: ‘Dawgs Sleepwalk Through Obligatory Battle

NCAA Football: Georgia at Georgia Tech Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia has played 12 football games this season.

I guess that was certainly one of them.

If you were looking for Kirby Smart and the Red and Black to come out and play a clean, efficient football game in Clean Old-Fashioned Hate, to get the starters rested up early in advance of the most important football game of the season, you were grossly disappointed tonight. If you expected to see evidence of maturation by the Bulldogs still-young defensive front seven you were likewise let down.

If the Georgia Bulldogs play the type of football game they played tonight next week the Alabama Crimson Tide will be champions of the SEC, and the defending champs will find themselves sitting at home watching the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2020. Kirby Smart was asked onfield after the game what his team needs to improve on before next Saturday. His answer, with which I concur wholeheartedly, was “a lot.”

There were bright spots to be sure. Kendall Milton continues to look better than at any time in his UGA career. His 18 carries for 156 yards were a career high (eclipsing his 127 two weeks ago against Ole Miss). It feels like Milton can be counted on to move the chains so long as the offensive line gives him enough space. Assuming Tate Ratledge is back in the lineup they should be able to do that.

Ratledge’s absence was but one of several that were acutely felt. Jamon Dumas-Johnson for example would have been great to have on the field defensively. The Bulldogs were gashed for a season high 205 rushing yards on 44 attempts. It felt almost as if current Tech OC and former Bulldog staffer Buster Faulkner was showing Kirby Smart all the things Georgia must fix before taking on the Tide. Primary among them was edge rushing defense. The Dawgs’ defensive ends and linebackers couldn’t set the edge all night. It was the same nagging issue Auburn and Missouri exploited, and Faulkner kept jamming on it like a man playing a one stringed banjo.

The Athenians’ mystification with misdirection was also worrisome. Tommy Rees and the Alabama offense have used Jalen Milroe in much the same way Tech used Haynes King tonight. The difference is that Milroe does all those things significantly better. He’s going to utterly gash the Red and Black next Saturday and I sincerely doubt this defense can stop that. It’s really just going to be a matter of getting one more stop than the Bama defense.

A few other random thoughts:

I understand why all the players who were held out of this one were. But one gets the sense that Georgia absolutely got caught looking ahead to next week. If the ‘Dawgs play with their hair on fire in the Benz a week from today, it will prove to have been the right move.

After watching Oregon/Oregon State, the Apple Cup, Iron Bowl, and the Big Game, I’m convinced next Saturday is the de facto national championship. I’m not saying Michigan or Oregon can’t beat Georgia or Alabama. Just that right now those teams would need a lot of breaks and luck to do so. They just aren’t on the same level in terms of physicality and depth.

The officials. Bad in every single way. The coup de grace may have been the ineligible player downfield call on Sedrick Van Pran that had no effect on the play, was borderline to begin with, and which the official on the broadcast didn’t even really try to justify. There was also the tipped ball by Zion Logue that was obvious in real time to everyone except the ACC crew. Oh, and whatever the heck this was:

These guys were good for a solid seven points on the night, thank goodness we won’t see them again.

Gratitude. I don’t want to come across as overly critical. Georgia Tech played their Super Bowl tonight while Georgia was clearly not mentally in the building at kickoff and still the Bulldogs won fairly comfortably. And I’m never going to pass up a chance to celebrate a victory over the Gnats. Georgia has won 29 consecutive football games, a truly mind-blowing accomplishment which should be enjoyed and celebrated. Please take all the Munsoning in this wrap up with that particular grain of salt. Georgia is 36-0 over the last three regular seasons. There was a time when that would have been profoundly unfathomable. It’s still pretty dang hard to believe even though I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

A child born since the last time Georgia lost at Bobby Dodd Stadium would be 24 years old. One born since the last time Georgia lost without the aid of a bogus botched fumble call would be 34.

I think Amarius Mims actually murdered a man live on television with his bare hands. It was beautiful.

Dillon Bell is another player getting better every week. And it was nice to see Arian Smith back in the game plan. While I was a bit cheesed at that screen pass to Mekhi Mews that almost turned into an interception, and at the tipped ball in the end zone that did, it’s worth noting that a) we are unlikely to see a lot of Mews in the passing game going forward unless things have gone badly from an injury perspective, and b) this felt like one of those games with three games worth of crummy/weird bounces. That skewed the result a little, but not as much as half-hearted tackling.

To sum up: let us record this one as a win to extend the victory streak in COFH to six, and never speak of it again. The real season starts this week.

Go ‘Dawgs!!!