NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Georgia football team continues to be carried by its defense, though the unit couldn’t quite keep its impressive touchdown streak going on Saturday at Vanderbilt.
When the Commodores scored with 28 seconds left in the first half, it was the first time Georgia had seen an opponent crack the end zone since Sept. 21, the fourth quarter of the Samford game.
Mississippi State and Tennessee each failed to do so, and Vanderbilt wasn’t about to until a 38-yard pass by Kyle Shurmur to Kalija Lipscomb set up the Commodores at the 1-yard line. (Lipscomb barely stepped out of bounds before going into the end zone.) Ralph Webb ran in from 1 yard on the next play.
Georgia’s touchdown-less streak ended up lasting 163 minutes, 21 seconds of game action.
It also lasted 31 opponent drives, the longest such streak by a Georgia defense since 2006.
The score made it 21-7, Georgia still comfortably ahead at halftime. But coach Kirby Smart was displeased during his halftime radio interview.
“We’re playing like crap on defense,” Smart said. “They’re converting on third down, running the football.”
Smart also said the “offense is carrying us.” And, indeed, the Bulldogs amassed 224 offensive yards in the first half, 173 of them on the ground.
In that first half against Vanderbilt, Georgia’s defense gave up more yards (182) and first downs (9) than it did the entire game at Tennessee.
Injuries and suspension may have played a role:
- Juwan Taylor made his first career start at inside linebacker, with Natrez Patrick (suspension) and Reggie Carter (injury) out.
- Julian Rochester started in Trenton Thompson’s spot at defensive tackle, the first start for Rochester this season. Thompson is out with a right knee injury.
Georgia entered the game ranked third in the nation in total defense (yards allowed) and second in scoring defense, yielding 9.2 points per game.
Staff writer Chip Towers contributed to this report.