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Georgia football winners and losers following off week

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 Georgia football winners and losers following 2020 off week

Winner: The Georgia offense

If there were ever a time to have your worst offensive performance of the season, it would probably be right before the off week. The Bulldogs have now had an extra week to digest what went wrong against Alabama and craft a plan to prevent it from happening again.

The simplest explanation was that Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett turned the ball over against Alabama, as he was intercepted three times in the loss. In the prior three games, Bennett had not turned the ball over. If Bennett cuts down on those, that makes some of the issues less concerning.

The extra week also gave Georgia a chance to take a deeper look at quarterbacks D’Wan Mathis and JT Daniels. It will be interesting to see how involved they are in the coming week.

The Bulldogs will also get a chance to better evaluate some of their skill players and find ways to get them more involved. With a truncated offseason, an extra learning week of Todd Monken’s offense will also help this still young offense.

The Alabama defeat showed that the Georgia offense still has room to improve, especially if the Bulldogs are going to get back to the College Football Playoff. This off week ended up being well-timed to allow them to internally correct some of the issues.

Loser: The Kentucky offense 

Kentucky’s offense was bad on Saturday. Really bad. Like had less than 100 yards of offense going into the fourth quarter bad. Kentucky finished the game with 145 yards of total offense against a Missouri team that had given up 35 points in its first three games of the season. And the Wildcats scored just 10 points in a 20-10 loss.

Kentucky will now attempt to get right against Georgia’s defense, which prior to the Alabama game had been far and away the best unit in the conference. Now the Bulldogs have had a week to fix some of the issues that arose during the loss to the Crimson Tide.

When these two teams met last season, the Wildcats were held scoreless, though converted wide receiver Lynn Bowden was playing quarterback. Now the Bulldogs will have to prepare for Terry Wilson and Joey Gatewood, who both played in the loss against Missouri.

The Kentucky offense is very different from what Alabama does. Through five games, Kentucky has 617 passing yards total. In the past two games, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones threw for 834 yards.

This should be the perfect opportunity for the Georgia defense to get its swagger back after being humbled by the Crimson Tide. Saturday is shaping up to be a miserable day for the Kentucky offense.

Winner: Kendall Milton

The off week came at a very good time for the freshman running back. He led the Bulldogs in rushing against Tennessee and then added a 44-yard effort on just six carries against Alabama. Of Georgia’s running backs, he leads the group in yards per carry with 6.38. He certainly looks like the Georgia running back that has the highest upside for this season and beyond.

With the off week coming when it did, it allows the Clovis, Calif., native to work more with the first-team offense than a traditional game week. This is a common practice but it really helps a young player who is now adjusted to the speed of the college game.

The off week gave Milton a chance to show he’s ready to take on a bigger workload. And based on the comments made by Smart during the off week, Milton seems ready to have a second-half breakout.

Related: Explosive Georgia freshman RB Kendall Milton ‘earning some playing time’

“Yeah, he is earning some playing time. I think you saw that probably at the last game,” Smart said. “He played a little earlier than he has been playing. He makes really good cuts, has good vision. Every opportunity he has gotten he’s taken advantage of it and grown with it.”

Loser: College football fans

A week after tormenting the Georgia secondary, Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle very likely played his final college snap. The explosive talent fractured his ankle on the opening kickoff against Tennessee.

Waddle was undoubtedly one of the best and most fun players to watch in college football, so long as he wasn’t playing your team. Against Georgia, Waddle had six catches for 161 yards. He also had a 90-yard touchdown that gave the Crimson Tide the lead for good.

In the short-term, the Crimson Tide have enough weapons to absorb the loss. John Mechie III also had a touchdown against the Bulldogs and has had 100-yard receiving games against Texas A&M and Tennessee. Add in stars like Devonta Smith, Najee Harris and yes Jones, and the Crimson Tide will have no problem rolling up points over the rest of its regular-season schedule.

But when it comes to teams with comparable talent? That is where Waddle’s loss will be felt. Against teams like Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia. The loss of Waddle does not make Alabama 17 points worse in a single game. But his speed was incredibly difficult to defend, with Smart saying his team couldn’t run with Waddle. Now that is one less nightmare matchup the Bulldogs have to try and defend.

Winner: Justin Fields

The former Georgia quarterback had his first game of the season on Saturday and he predictably looked outstanding. Fields completed 20 of his 21 pass attempts for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball a career-high 15 carries for 54 yards to help out the Ohio State running game.

With Fields looking excellent once again, and Georgia fans still stewing about Stetson Bennett’s performance against Alabama, a number of Georgia fans were once again mad online.

Fields famously transferred away from Georgia following his freshman season. So long as he continues to suit, and the Bulldogs continue to lack an elite-level quarterback, Fields and his success are going to continue to be a storyline that Georgia fans are just going to have to live with.

The former Georgia quarterback very easily could’ve opted out of the season, as he’s a potential first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. But he elected to return and play, which will no doubt excite many common college football fans, while his presence will haunt the many Georgia fans who are still not over the fact that he is not suiting up for the Bulldogs.

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