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Georgia football instant observations after smashing Vanderbilt

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Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) during the Bulldogs’ game with Vanderbilt in Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

The game between Georgia and Vanderbilt was over quickly. The Bulldogs scored 35 first-quarter points and allowed just 11 yards in the first half.

Through the first three quarters, Georgia had more points, 55, than Vanderbilt had yards, 54.

For those worried about a sleepy or slow start, Georgia put those worries to rest early. JT Daniels was sharp, completing 9 of his 10 passes for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. His only incompletion came via a Justin Robinson drop and Daniels didn’t play a snap after the opening 15 minutes.

“We came out fast, explosive,” Smart said at halftime. “Offense came out in sync.”

Related: Georgia clobbers Vanderbilt

The Bulldogs had some short fields thanks to two Vanderbilt turnovers and some shaky punts. The Bulldogs took advantage of that, putting away Vanderbilt early. No. 2 Georgia improves to 4-0 on the season and 2-0 in SEC play with a 62-0 win over the Commodores.

After getting out to the early lead, Georgia used much of the rest of the game to experiment. Stetson Bennett played the entire second quarter. While Georgia scored just three points in that quarter, Bennett engineered touchdown drives on the first two drives of the second half. Carson Beck got game reps as he entered in the third quarter.

When Daniels is under center for Georgia, this offense looks crisp, potent and powerful. Georgia won’t play a team as bad as Vanderbilt for the rest of the SEC slate, and the Bulldogs will get a much tougher test against Arkansas next week.

Georgia made an effort to experiment on the offensive line. The Bulldogs went with six different combinations on the offensive line in the opening 30 minutes. Broderick Jones saw plenty of reps at left tackle. Jamaree Salyer played both right and left guard.

The experiments though didn’t seem to do much for the Georgia ground game, at least in the first half. The longest rush came via McConkey’s end-around. The second-longest run came on Bowers’ touchdown.

It’s hard to be too critical, with it being a 35-0 game after the first 15 minutes. The Bulldogs finished with 244 rushing yards on the day, but no one had more than 50. Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh both had rushing touchdowns, with White’s coming in the first half.

When it comes to running the ball in between the tackles, White certainly looks like Georgia’s best bet at this point. His 5.3 yards per carry was the best among Georgia’s running backs on Saturday. When the Bulldogs were stuffed on a third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 in the first half, McIntosh and James Cook were the respective ball carriers.

It should be noted that Kendall Milton did not play in the game, with Smart mentioning the sophomore running back had been dinged up.

Georgia will face better defensive fronts in the month of October, starting with Arkansas next week. If this offense is to reach its potential, eventually the ground game will need to start ripping off more explosive runs.

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