It was an excruciating business. The Georgian defense, exhausted from injury and facing a novel air strike for the first time, gave up yards by buckets. Georgia played a 2-4 team with 49 scholars on the sidelines and almost managed to lose to them.
I’m not 100 percent sure if we even mind if we lose this. I’ve seen what to see for the future.
JT Daniels made the most of his first start in red and black, completing 28 of 38 passes for 401 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 turnovers. It marked the first 400-yard passing game by a UGA quarterback since Aaron Murray hit that mark in a 2013 game we’re not talking about.
There will certainly be some discussion about the Bulldogs’ lazy efforts on the ground. And it was definitely bad. The 8 rushing yards were the fewest in Georgia in the Kirby Smart era. I haven’t really looked this up, but I can’t remember anything like it. To some extent, especially early on, the Mississippi state sold out to stop the run and Daniels dared to throw it. And Daniels took 21 yards of sackcloth (not that 29 rushing yards was much better).
But I don’t think we saw a team tonight that is systematically incapable of leading it. We saw a team that struggled to get the ball early and then realized they didn’t really need it. I am not an ideological purist. I don’t care how we score, I just want us to score more than the other team. Georgia will likely play South Carolina again with at least mediocrity. Part of that is the law of averages. Part of it is the breaking news that you can’t give JT Daniels time to stand deeply against men’s reporting.
Defense is a different story. It was pretty clear from the start that Georgia was going to fall into the zone and force newcomer Will Rogers to make mistakes. To his credit, he only made one pair and Georgia dropped both of them. There is no excuse for not benefiting from this.
It was also pretty clear that the Georgia Defense Forces wanted to hold the Mississippi state receivers in front of them and create situations with a third outage. They didn’t expect Rogers to hit his recipients as well as he did at checkdowns, nor did they expect those recipients to pick up anything that got in their way. Stopping the airstrike if it’s done well is devilishly hard to stop, and Mike Leach’s team executed it like they have done since the first week. I don’t expect it to be repeated next week.
I would also like to point out that the Maroons scored a goal on their first possession in the third quarter and then ended the game with three punts and a turnover with downs. The Athenians tuned in by bringing another man (yell at the man who mixes drinks and told them to bring four) and grabbed the momentum when it came down to it. That shouldn’t have been necessary, but frankly, it could have been worse for a defense that was again without leaders in the secondary and key pieces of the line of defense.
If you want to find something to moan about in this game, you’re welcome. For my part, I saw some real momentum tonight in the one position that felt like it was holding this team back, and some annoying setbacks in areas that I’m not very concerned about on a rolling basis. The stuff that went bad tonight is mostly repairable. But I went into that game thinking that Georgia’s quarterback situation might actually be hopeless. That is clearly not the case.
JT Daniels will have worse games than tonight. He’ll throw some interceptions if we still allow him to throw those 50/50 balls into the field. His posability isn’t fantastic and I thought a couple of times that he was hobbling on the sidelines on the surgically reconstructed knee.
Georgia has things to fix. But there is a quarterback to build around. We learned that if you want to win college football today, this is non-negotiable. Tonight wasn’t up to the standards we’ve come to expect from Bulldog football, but you can see it from here. It’s a start. See you later. . .
Georgia Bulldogs Soccer, Mississippi State Bulldogs Soccer, JT Daniels, Southeastern Conference, American Football, Kirby Smart, Alabama Crimson Tide Soccer
World News – USA – Georgia 31, Mississippi State 24: ‘Dawgs limps towards better things
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