Georgia football instant observations as Bulldogs wreck Georgia Tech

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) during the Bulldogs' game with Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech tried to get the ball in the hands of its best player, running back Jahmyr Gibbs. He’s a former top-100 recruit and the type of player Georgia Tech needs more of if it plans on making the rivalry with Georgia competitive.

Quarterback Jordan Yates lobbed a swing pass to Gibbs, hoping to get him in space and use his speed to make a play.

Georgia Tech’s season is now over. Georgia’s might just be getting started, with the Bulldogs taking on Alabama in Atlanta next week in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs also seem well-positioned for the College Football Playoff as they are the lone unbeaten team in the Power 5.

George Pickens returns

Georgia fans got what they wanted early on Saturday. On Georgia’s opening drive of the game, wide receiver George Pickens took the field for the Bulldogs, marking his first snaps of the 2021 season.

Pickens tore his ACL in late March, taking just over eight months to recover from the injury. He finished the game with 1 catch on the day for 5 yards.

Georgia used Pickens sparingly, rotating him in every so often and never for more than a handful of plays. How much more playing team he potentially sees against Alabama should be one of the bigger storylines for the SEC championship game.

But the fact that Pickens attacked rehab as hard as he did and made his way back on the field shows a lot about how much the junior wide receiver wanted to be a member of this team. Pickens very easily could’ve declared for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Instead, he’ll be suiting up for the Bulldogs as they continue their march to a national title.

Stetson Bennett starts hot

He finished the game with 255 yards on 20 attempts before giving way to JT Daniels in the fourth quarter of the win.

For Bennett, it was the exact type of performance you’d want him to have before taking on the Crimson Tide next week in what will be a chance to totally re-shape the way he is discussed.

Same old Georgia defense

Did you really think Georgia Tech was going to be the offense to figure out the Georgia defense? Probably not given how well the Bulldogs have and continue to play throughout the season.

Only one Georgia Tech drive got into Georgia territory in the first half, with the Yellow Jackets electing to punt from the 36-yard line. The Yellow Jackets had just 67 yards at halftime, fewer than Bowers had on his 77-yard touchdown.

The Bulldogs forced four 3-and-outs on the afternoon. Georgia Tech quarterback Jordan Yates did his best against the Georgia pass rush, as he was sacked 3.0 times on the day despite constant pressure from the likes of Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean. Georgia now has 41 sacks on the season.

The shutout was the third of the season for Georgia, as it did so against Vanderbilt and Arkansas.

When Georgia faced obvious pass-rushing situations, the Bulldogs played all three inside linebackers — Dean, Channing Tindall and Quay Walker — along with Nolan Smith. That appears to be how the pass rush package will look without Adam Anderson.

It helped that defense that the crowd was overwhelming pro-Georgia. The crowd got so loud on a fourth down that it resulted in a false start on Georgia Tech. In its home stadium.

Just a miserable day all around for the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia football news and notes

Chris Smith and Jamaree Salyer did not dress for the game. The Smith news isn’t surprising, whereas the Salyer absence indicates a setback. He had dressed for the last two games for Georgia.

Nolan Smith returned to the lineup for Georgia after missing last week with an elbow injury. With no Chris Smith, Dan Jackson got the start at safety for the Bulldogs.

Broderick Jones started his third straight game at left tackle for the Bulldogs.

Kearis Jackson left the game with a rib injury and did not return. Ladd McConkey took over his punt returning duties.

Nyland Green did not make the trip to Atlanta after his midweek arrest.

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