ATHENS — When Georgia defensive lineman Zion Logue told reporters that Georgia was fifth in rushing defense, most assumed he meant in the country.
The last time Georgia didn’t field a top 2 rush defense in the country was the 2018 season, prior to when Logue arrived. Jordan Davis, now dominating for the Philadelphia Eagles, was just a freshman at the time.
So you could understand why Logue and the Georgia defense wouldn’t be too pleased with that stat.
“We show our standings every week, and with us being fifth in rushing defense right now, it makes me sick,” Logue said. “I want to fix it right now, but I can’t fix it ‘til Saturday. You know, just focusing on daily improvement, making sure that when we do those goal-line parts of practice we really hone in and make sure that nobody’s in our end zone, even if it’s our one offense — like, they don’t get in the end zone. We just try to make sure we focus on that.”
But Logue wasn’t referencing Georgia being fifth in the country in rush defense. He was speaking about the SEC, where Georgia is in fact fifth in rush defense. Through three games, Georgia is actually 23rd in the country in rush defense.
Now it’s a small sample size and Georgia is giving up only 87 rushing yards per game. Against South Carolina, Georgia’s first SEC foe, the Bulldogs surrendered 53 rushing yards. And much of those came on Spencer Rattler scrambles, as he rushed for 35 yards in the loss.
Georgia also gave up a rushing touchdown to the Gamecocks, which gave South Carolina a 14-3 lead just before halftime.
Logue, once again, was not thrilled about that particular statistic.
“Just the number one thing we always speak about when we get in the red zone: no one in our end zone,” Logue said. “That doesn’t matter if the first group’s out or the rotational guys. No one in our end zone, and we just have to take pride in that from week to week. We know that’s kind of, like, where everybody’s going to attack us right now, especially when they get down there. We’ve just got to stand on the 10 and really bow our necks and not let people in the end zone.”
Georgia tightened things up in the second half, due in large part to some excellent defensive line play from Logue and his counterparts. Mykel Williams and Naz Stackhouse both notched sacks in the win for Georgia, with Williams in particular putting forth a dominant showing.
If the Bulldogs are going to improve on their rush defense and pass-rushing statistics, Williams is going to need to have more halves like the one he had on Saturday against the Gamecocks.
“Just doing what Mykel does, being that relentless pass rusher that we know he is and that I know he wants to be,” Logue said. “Just ‘Kel being ‘Kel, really. Just him going and trying to get the quarterback.”
Georgia’s defense takes on UAB team this week that may not give the Bulldogs the best test in terms of talent. But in some ways that may be just what is needed for this Georgia defense to show that no matter who the opponent is, the Bulldogs have a certain level they have to play to.
“There’s definitely a standard here where folks don’t score on us. Coaches be harping on that,” linebacker Xavian Sorey said. “Monday we went to the doctor. Cleaned everything up and watched film. Just get better day by day. And next week try to not let anybody in the end zone.”