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Another week, another win. It almost has become routine for the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs. This week, the Dawgs dispatched South Carolina 24-10 to move to 9-0 on the season. South Carolina hung around for three quarters, but Georgia was able to grind out a comfortable win. Here are the five best players from Georgia’s ninth win.
5. Deandre Baker — South Carolina QB Jake Bentley had some success through the air, passing for 227 yards, but not when throwing to receivers covered by Baker, who had 3 tackles and 3 passes defended. Bentley, however, shouldn’t feel too bad about it. Baker has been harassing receivers and thwarting quarterbacks all season.
4. Roquan Smith — What plaudits can be lumped on Smith that haven’t been lumped on him already? He was all over the field against South Carolina, led Georgia in tackles (9 total, 7 solo) and also contributed 1 1/2 sacks.
3. Javon Wims — Wims is the closest thing Jake Fromm has to a go-to receiver. Wims’ 24 receptions — including 5 for 46 yards against South Carolina — leads the team. He always puts himself in position to make a big play, like when he toed the paint on a spectacular catch that gave Georgia a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) November 4, 2017
2. Nick Chubb — It wasn’t a flashy outing by any means, but Chubb got the job done. The senior tailback ran for 102 yards on 20 carries (5.1 yards per cary). He set the tone for the Bulldogs, and when they needed tough yards, Chubb was there to get them.
1. Jake Fromm — Fromm answered critics who said Georgia can’t pass by efficiently and effectively passing all over their tails. He threw for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16-of-22 passes. Fromm is now third nationally in passer rating and first nationally in third-down passer rating, leading the latter category by an astonishing 17 points.
Plus, who doesn’t love a quarterback who can throw a block?
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 4, 2017
We don’t need no stinkin’ SEC East title
With the win over South Carolina and a Kentucky loss to Ole Miss on Saturday, Georgia clinched the SEC East and a trip to the SEC Championship Game. Before the season, fans viewed winning the East as one of the most important team goals, a barometer for improvement in year two under Kirby Smart. It goes to show how far beyond expectations this team has played that I didn’t even feel the need to mention it in the lead to this post. These Bulldogs have been destined to win the East for weeks now. All that was left was paperwork.
At this point, no one would be satisfied with only an SEC East title, not least of all the players and coaches. There’s a 12-0 regular-season record, SEC Championship, College Football Playoff spot and more still to play for. The SEC East was the least of the Bulldogs’ worries. It’s almost fitting the team won the division thanks go a game 400 miles away that finished well after Georgia was off the field and at the house.
“There’s not going to be a celebration,” Smart said of the prospect of clinching the East, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation, minutes before it happened. “I mean, what’s there to celebrate? We’re going to play Auburn next week and that’s where our focus is. We control our destiny, so we’re a lot more worried about us than Kentucky-Ole Miss.”
It’s safe to say the culture change at Georgia is now complete. Georgia players now emphasize hard work and winning each battle, no matter how small, over outcomes and goals.
“I mean, ultimately that’s great. That’s the goal. That’s everybody’s goal,” Sony Michel said of winning the SEC. “But we don’t really focus on that. Our focus (Saturday) was South Carolina and we handled that, so we’re going to enjoy this victory. Because (Sunday), we know we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Consider Georgia fully processed.
Georgia can still improve vs. pass
If there’s one area of concern on this team — and it isn’t necessarily a huge one — it’s the pass defense. From Emerson:
The Gamecocks amassed 227 passing yards, tied for the second most the Bulldogs have yielded this season (Missouri had 253). It was another indication that while the pass defense is by no means poor, it probably needs to get better if Georgia is going to stay unbeaten.
Auburn, the next opponent, entered the weekend as the SEC’s third-best passing team as measured by passing yards per game (224.6.) South Carolina was fifth. Alabama, which probably awaits in the SEC Championship Game, is seventh, but like Georgia has played in so many blowouts that it hasn’t had to pass that much.
Georgia-Auburn set for afternoon kickoff
After exercising its six-day option, CBS has opted to air the Georgia-Auburn game at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Bulldogs opened as three-point road favorites before the spread dropped to Georgia -2.5 as of Sunday night. It will be the first time Auburn and Georgia have faced each other as top-10 teams since 2004.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 5, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 5, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 4, 2017
— UGA Football Live (@UGAfootballLive) November 4, 2017
🐾It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog🐾 😂pic.twitter.com/rinJ3zeYQN
— EAGLE WINGS (@NIVIsa4031) November 6, 2017
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