The Bulldogs once again made some mistakes, didn’t always run the ball effectively, and just generally looked less than their best tonight.
It once again didn’t particularly matter, as the Red and Black simply overwhelmed an outgunned UAB team 49-21.
On the plus side, the Bulldogs came out and scored on their first possession, something that hasn’t been a given this season.
Another positive development? Red zone execution. While there remained some snaps inside the UAB 20 that didn’t go quite as planned, the Bulldogs ultimately scored on all six of their red zone possessions. What’s more, they scored touchdowns on each of those possessions.
Brock Bowers personally secured two of those touchdowns, another comforting sight for the Napa Nightmare after a slower start to 2023. Bowers was targeted 9 times, caught all 9, and wound up with 120 receiving yards, a season high.
In total the Bulldog offense racked up 581 yards of total offense. In addition to that crisp 6 of 6 performance in the red zone the Bulldogs were 10 of 13 on 3rd down conversions, another area that hadn’t been stellar thus far in 2023.
The negative? Turnovers. Mekhi Mews and Dillon Bell each fumbled on kick returns that gave UAB chances they never should have had.
But on the whole, we may know even less about this team coming out of this game than we did going in. It feels like this version of the Classic City Canines could both be much better than we’ve seen if some players get healthy and get back in time to get integrated into the game plan. At that point they’d also have the depth built in the early season while players like Milton, Bullard, Mims, and McConkey have been gone.
It also feels like if the Red and Black are forced to continue playing walk-one and freshmen in critical roles at some point the chickens may come home to roost. The Auburn team Georgia faces next week in their first road test isn’t very good. But they’re good enough that a couple of turnovers and a 4th down conversion here and there could see the Dawgs in a dog fight in an unfriendly Jordan-Hare. I did not anticipate saying this coming into 2023, but I’m a little worried about traveling to Auburn. I’d feel better if we were taking more of the guys I expected we would be.
But that’s a problem for next Saturday. For now, Kirby Smart just became the first coach in SEC history to win 85 of his first 100 games as an SEC head coach. There’s every reason to believe that the guy who’s coached the last two national champions is going to round this team into form before all is said and done. But I’d still rather it happen sooner than later.