Georgia is still unbeaten through the first five games of the regular season. But this team hasn’t been without flaws, as Saturday’s game against Auburn showed.
The Bulldogs needed an all-world performance from Brock Bowers to put away the Tigers on Saturday. Georgia is still No. 1 in the AP Poll but the Bulldogs received 20 fewer first-place votes this week compared to the previous.
As for why Georgia hasn’t always looked the part of being the No. 1 team, ESPN’s Bill Connelly laid out his thoughts. He ranked Georgia as the No. 5 unbeaten team left in college football, behind Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and Washington.
“Slow starts and no big plays. Big plays create easy points, and Georgia ranks just 81st in marginal explosiveness (107th rushing, 71st passing),” Connelly wrote. “Combine that with some dreadful starts -- despite a soft schedule, the Dawgs’ first-quarter scoring margin is +0.0 per game, worst of any team in the AP top 20 -- and you’ve got a team that has to work for quite a long time to get up on opponents as they should.”
Georgia trailed 10-0 at the end of the first quarter against Auburn before rallying to tie the game in the second quarter. Injuries have hindered Georgia’s running back and wide receiver positions to this point, putting more on the shoulders of quarterback Carson Beck. Georgia did see running back Kendall Miltona and Ladd McConkey return from injury on Saturday but neither is back to 100 percent just yet.
Smart has spoken at length about the desire to create explosive plays and how important that is in team success.
“You have to have explosives to catch a 5-play with a 60-yarder or a 6-play with a 30-yarder. You’ve got to catch some of those,” Georgia coach KirbySmart said after the win over Auburn. “We’re missing those. We missed Delp over the middle early. That was an explosive play. You know, we had a couple that I thought were close to PI, but they did a good job defending. They got a couple calls that advanced them. We missed out on a couple. I can’t argue with the call. It’s judgemental. But we need some of those to hit.”
In addition to a lack of explosive plays, Georgia gave up a season-worst 219 rushing yards against Auburn. did much of its damage with its quarterbacks, as Payton Thorne and Robbie Ashford ran for a combined 140 non-sack yards.
Georgia knows it will need to fix that area as the Bulldogs welcome a physical Kentucky team into Sanford Stadium. The Wildcats ran for 329 yards on Saturday against Florida, with running back Ray Davis putting up 280 yards.
The Bulldogs will get a chance to show they’ve addressed some of their weaknesses starting on Saturday against an also unbeaten Kentucky team. Connelly ranked Kentucky as the No. 12 unbeaten team left in the sport.