Georgia football-Samford instant observations as Bulldogs come away with a sloppy 33-0 win
ATHENS — Georgia won’t dominate every team in the manner it did against Oregon. The game against Samford proved that much.
Georgia came away with a 33-0 win over Samford on Saturday to move to 2-0 on the season. But the Bulldogs were nowhere near as overwhelming as they were a week ago.
The Bulldogs kicked four field goals in the red zone. There were a number of near touchdown grabs, only for them to end up as incompletions. Some pressures, but no sacks until the fourth quarter.
Yet the final score was never in doubt for Georgia and on a day where Notre Dame lost to Marshall, Alabama struggled against Texas and Texas A&M floundered against App State, Georgia still cruised to a win.
Georgia agreed to shorten the final quarter to 12 minutes, very much just wanting to reach the end of this game and move on to next week. The Bulldogs will certainly need to play better than they did on Saturday, given they won’t be taking on an FCS foe.
Stetson Bennett and the Georgia football offense merely good, not quite great
It speaks to the level of improvement Bennett has made where he can throw for 300 yards on 34 pass attempts and objectively have less than a stellar game.
After doing everything right against Oregon, Bennett was just a little off all afternoon. He had a bad sack that knocked Georgia out of field goal range on third down. He could’ve had four touchdown passes instead of just the one he finished with. Dillon Bell came down with the touchdown, the first of his Georgia career.
Bennett also added another rushing touchdown, giving him two on the season.
The Bulldogs saw Adonai Mitchell leave the game with an ankle injury after the first place. In his absence, Bennett spread the ball around to just about every Georgia pass catcher as 15 Bulldogs caught a pass. Kenny McIntosh was once again a factor for Georgia, as he caught five passes for 61 yards for the Bulldogs.
The biggest improvement for Georgia came in the rushing game, as Kendall Milton posted a career-best effort, tallying 85 yards on 10 carries on Saturday. McIntosh struggled when running between the tackles, yet he did add a rushing touchdown on the afternoon. Milton though looked far more effective for Georgia running between the tackles.
For all that Georgia left on the field in terms of points, the Bulldogs still punted just once with Bennett in the game, and that didn’t come until Georgia was up 30-0 in the third quarter. Every Bennett drive ended in either points or in Samford territory.
It was a good day for the Bulldogs. But there was pretty clearly a path to a great day and the Bulldogs just didn’t execute well enough to get there.
Defense shines once again
Samford rolled up 52 points last year on Florida. The Bulldogs did not nearly have the same kind of success against Georgia on Saturday. Samford finished the game with just 128 yards and did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs once again forced an early turnover, with Dan Jackson knocking the ball loose from the hands of Samford quarterback Michael Hiers. Inside linebacker Xavian Sorey was there to scoop up the fumble.
Georgia’s first-string defense still didn’t register a sack, but the Bulldogs got close a number of times as Jalen Carter and Jamon Dumas-Johnson crushed Hiers on a couple of hits.
Malaki Starks nearly came down with an interception, as did David Daniel-Sisavanh. Georgia’s first-string defense also excelled at limiting big plays, with Samford’s longest play was just 11 yards against Georgia’s starting defense. Eventually, Samford hit on a 36-yard completion but the drive resulted in no points after Mykel Williams notched the first sack of his career.
The Bulldogs will face better offenses at some point, starting next week with a South Carolina team that scored 30 points against Arkansas on Saturday. Through two weeks Georgia has yet to give up a touchdown on the defensive side of the ball, maintaining the same standard of excellence the Bulldogs established last season.
Red zone woes for Georgia football
Smart ripped into his team earlier in the week after a poor Tuesday practice. That practice may have been a harbinger for what Georgia did in the red zone on Saturday. The Bulldogs had no problem moving into Samford territory. But the Bulldogs settled for three field goals in the first half and another in the second half.
While it was positive that Jack Podlesny made four of his five kicks after the Bulldogs after not attempting a field goal last week, you would like to see Georgia come away with touchdowns in those situations, especially against an overmatched opponent in Samford.
Bennett nearly had touchdown passes to Bowers, Ladd McConkey and Darnell Washington, yet all three passes were slightly off and the three pass catchers could only get a hand to the ball. Bell also nearly had a second touchdown catch but was unable to maintain possession.
It was always going to be difficult to follow up on what Georgia did last week from an offensive perspective. The Bulldogs still didn’t punt with Bennett in the game but the Bulldogs still have another gear they can reach offensively.
A scary thought for a team that rolled up 479 yards and scored 33 points on the afternoon.
Georgia football news and notes from Samford win
A week after Mykel Williams made his first career start for the Bulldogs, another freshman earned his first start as Malaki Starks was lined up opposite Chris Smith. Starks took the place of Dan Jackson, yet the junior safety still made a significant impact for Georgia as he forced a fumble for the Bulldogs. Xavian Sorey recovered it.
Georgia once again started Broderick Jones, Xavier Truss, Sedrick Van Pran, Tate Ratledge and Warren McClendon. The Bulldogs were liberal in shuttling players in and out of the lineup, with Amarius Mims once again taking snaps at right tackle on Georgia’s third drive of the game.
In addition to Mitchell leaving the game with an ankle injury, the Bulldogs were without Nyland Green on Saturday. He had been dealing with a hamstring injury for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have their first true road game of the season next Saturday when they visit South Carolina. The Gamecocks lost on the road to Arkansas on Saturday, 44-30.
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