ATHENS — Isaiah McKenzie had been able to showcase all of his skills.
He had flashed his speed on a 66-yard touchdown catch and sprinted to the end zone.
He had shown off his quickness as one Georgia’s most effective runners, with an average of 11 yards on three carries.
And he had showcased his elusiveness on his forte, with 48 yards on two punt returns.
Georgia’s all-purpose threat was having his typical all-around game until a span of 36 seconds late in the fourth quarter Saturday.
McKenzie fumbled a punt return that Nicholls State turned into a touchdown.
He then misplayed the next kickoff that forced the Bulldogs to run out the clock from deep in their territory for a 26-24 victory.
“Overall, I grade myself a C-minus for this game,” he said. “I had a good day, but then I didn’t. In the kicking game, I could’ve done better. As a receiver, I could’ve done a little better.”
McKenzie had been one of the few bright spots for the Bulldogs until 4:18 left in the game.
He sweeps had helped spark a lethargic running game, but he provided the biggest boost to a struggling offense with his 66-yard touchdown catch to give Georgia a 20-14 third-quarter lead.
“I caught it and made a move and saw green grass, so I just knew I had to run,” McKenzie said.
And it helped to receive a crushing block from Javon Wims, which cleared the path to the end zone.
“I didn’t see it, but I heard it,” McKenzie said. “I came to the sideline and shook his hand and thanked him.”
McKenzie entered his junior season with 16 career catches, but already has eight receptions for 183 yards. He’s also caught Georgia’s two touchdown passes, both from Eason.
“It’s early, but it looks like Isaiah McKenzie has grown from return ace to legit WR threat,” NFL.com writer Chase Goodbread tweeted during the game. “A progression UGA desperately needed from him.”
McKenzie said he misjudged both the punt and the kickoff return, with one bouncing off his shoulder pads and the other trickling out of bounds off his fingertips.
“There’s always room for improvement,” he said, “so that’s what we’re doing during the week to prepare for the next game.”