Georgia football winners and losers following victory over Kentucky
Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.
Georgia football winners and losers following win over Kentucky
Winners: The Georgia defense
Naturally, people want to talk and read about the Georgia offense. Why has it fallen off a cliff? Can it get better? Who is to blame for the malaise? We’ll answer all those questions but it shouldn’t be forgotten how outstanding Georgia’s defense has been in the 2019 season.
Seven games into the season, the Bulldogs still haven’t given up a rushing touchdown. In the second half of their four SEC games, opponents have scored just 3 points. They’ve still got room to improve — Kirby Smart said the group needs to tackle better and their sack and tackle for loss numbers could be better — but this defense does make life incredibly difficult for opposing teams.
The rain helped a good bit, but there was no glitch in the back end of the defense like there had been against South Carolina and Tennessee. The Wildcats didn’t complete a pass until the 4:25 mark of the fourth quarter. Quite a few fans who attended the game were already home and dry by that point in. the game.
Smart mentions time and time again that he wants Georgia to wear teams down during the course of the game and dominate them in the fourth quarter. The Georgia defense is living up to that standard set forth by their coach.
“We don’t control the conditions,” safety Richard LeCounte said. “We control what we can do and that’s playing hard, physical football and wearing guys down and playing four-quarter ball.
Loser: Kirby Smart
For the second week in a row, the Georgia offense put forth a disappointing performance, especially in the eyes of those rooting for Georgia football.
The game was played in a constant downpour, but that doesn’t totally excuse what we saw from Jake Fromm and the Georgia passing game. Fromm had just 35 passing yards on 12 attempts. The five receptions that didn’t go to freshman George Pickens went for a total of zero yards.
That wasn’t the first game ever played in poor conditions. Florida played in similar conditions earlier in the day and Kyle Trask tossed 4 touchdown passes.
And at this point, the blame goes beyond Fromm, the wide receivers or even first-year offensive coordinator James Coley. It falls on the plate of Smart for allowing the offense to become so dependent on its running game and offensive line. This is his fourth year running the Georgia program. All but three players on the current roster were a part of the program prior to his arrival.
For better or worse, the Georgia team we’ve seen in the 2019 season is fully Smart’s creation.
It’s a real shame that Georgia finally has a defense that is as deep and talented as any in the country and it’s the offense that could possibly drag down Georgia’s title chances.
Winner: D’Andre Swift
Swift was about as critical as any player will be about the Georgia offense at the start of the week. He made it clear Georgia needed to get the ball to its playmakers on the perimeter. Swift wasn’t referring to himself in that moment, but Georgia made sure it gave the ball to its best playmaker plenty of times.
Swift finished with 21 carries against the Wildcats and he racked up a season-high 179 rushing yards. He found the endzone twice, including a 39-yarder to finally put some points on the board.
D’Andre Swift @DAndreSwift !!!!
— Hiro Katsuki (@KatsukiFB) October 20, 2019
Swift also had some strong comments for the fans who were booing the Georgia offense during the game.
“We’re going to do what we need to do to win games,” Swift said. “And if people don’t like what we’re doing, they shouldn’t come to the games.”
Anytime you get an opposing coach telling you to go to the NFL because you’ve torched him the last two years — he’s rushed for 335 yards and 4 touchdowns in his last two games against Kentucky — it’s clear that you’re a special player.
Mark Stoops is very likely going to get his wish, as Swift seems like the next Georgia running back poised to become a first-round pick. And while the Georgia offense has struggled, it isn’t because of the junior from Philadelphia.
Loser: Georgia passing offense
Jake Fromm needed to have a strong game after turning the ball over four times against South Carolina. In that aspect, Fromm did improve as Georgia didn’t turn the ball over once even in the terrible conditions.
But that’s about it for positives for when Georgia dropped back to pass. Fromm’s 35-yards passing were a career-low. It was the second game in his storied Georgia career where he didn’t have a touchdown. The other came last year against Tennessee.
Afterward, Fromm said the constant rain was a big reason why.
“It’s really frustrating to pick up a ball, and (say) I’m going to throw it in that direction, but I have no idea where it’s going,” Fromm said. “Sometimes it was like that.”
Georgia attempted just one pass in the second half, and though it was completed to freshman George Pickens for a first down. There was plenty of talk last week about getting the ball to playmakers like Dominick Blaylock, James Cook and Demetris Robertson. Those three combined for 3 catches and 4 yards.
But for a group that really needed a strong effort, Saturday was another disappointment.
Winner: Jake Camarda
It hasn’t been the best year for the sophomore punter. But he came up rather large when Georgia needed him on Saturday night.
With the offense held scoreless for the entire first half, Camarda got plenty of work. And given he’s had a few shaky punts, it wasn’t out of the question for him to have another shankapotomus. But the sophomore didn’t.
Camarda cleanly fielded ever snap, which couldn’t be said for his counterpart. Of his 6 punts, only one went less than 45-yards and that specific punt was downed inside of the 20-yard line.
Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Max Duffy made the first critical mistake of the day as his 15-yard punt set-up Georgia’s first touchdown.
“I thought Jake Camarda did an incredible job with that today,” Smart said. “We impacted their punter a little bit, we rushed him and forced him to make some poor decisions and poor kicks, and that’s what really flipped the field.”
Camarda’s effort was a lot like Taylor Swift’s most recent album, Lover. It wasn’t the greatest performance ever, but it was an all-around enjoyable effort and inspired confidence that he could be a trusted punter —or a wonderful artist in Swift’s case.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia RB D’Andre Swift stands up for team, puts critics in their place
- Social media critical of Georgia offense as players take to Twitter to preach patience
- Opinion: Kirby Smart says he didn’t hear boos; that’s not all he’s ignored
- Georgia football moves up in Coaches Polls, stays in top 10 of AP Poll even after ugly win over Kentucky
- WATCH Georgia QB Jake Fromm: 21-0 win over Kentucky no ‘beauty contest’
- Georgia football stock report: Defense locks down Kentucky 21-0
- Georgia football game ball: D’Andre Swift carries Bulldogs to 21-0 win
- Cover 4 on Georgia football: What will this team’s record look like after 12 games?
- Georgia football report card: Bulldogs pass Kentucky wet weather test
- WATCH: Kirby Smart proud Bulldogs able to ‘chop wood’ in win over Kentucky
Dawgs on Twitter
Stay over there…
— SWIFT7️⃣ (@DAndreSwift) October 20, 2019
What a catch by @TG3II!
— NFL (@NFL) October 20, 2019
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) October 20, 2019
All Dawgs in Athens!
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 20, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
— Michael Love (@dawgntiger) October 19, 2019