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Tyler Simmons is a senior wide receiver for Georgia.

Winners and losers from Georgia football win over Vanderbilt

Connor Riley

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Georgia football winners and loser after week 1 win over Vanderbilt

Winner: Zamir White

No Georgia player received bigger cheers than White on Saturday. In his first career Georgia game, White finished the game with 5 carries for 51 yards. His first carry went for 3 yards. But his second carry flashed some of that potential that made him one of the best running back prospects in the country.

The 23-yard run did end with a fumble, something that White will have to clean up going forward.

“Well I’d rather him not fumble, but man he played great,” Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said. “He played strong, he played tough. And you wouldn’t expect anything less from that guy.”

When White first entered the game, Fromm thought that he was hearing boos. Only after he saw White did he realize that the Georgia dominated crowd was chanting “Zeuuuuussss.” And that cheer happened every time White touched the ball. As he walked off the field following the win, White was once again serenaded with that cheer.

But that wasn’t his only highlight of the night, as his final carry of the game gave Georgia fans and players some serious Nick Chubb vibes.

When Georgia coach Kirby Smart was asked about White, he shared a viewpoint that many Georgia fans do as well.

“He’s just another one that’s been through a tough time,” Smart said. “To see him go out there and have some success, he’s so deserving of that. And our medical staff is deserving of a pat on the back for getting him out there because they spent a lot of time on Zamir.”

The Bulldogs ran for over 300 yards against the Commodores. And if Georgia is able to get these kinds of plays out of its third running back, Georgia is going to give defensive coordinators massive headaches.

Loser: Georgia’s strength of schedule

The effort put forth by some of Georgia’s fellow SEC East teams on Saturday was flat out embarrassing.

Missouri went out to play at Wyoming — something you should never do — and lost. South Carolina and Will Muschamp lost to a North Carolina team starting a freshman quarterback. The Tar Heels — now coached by Mack Brown — won just two games last year.

And to top all of it off, the Tennessee Volunteers lost at home as 25-point favorite against Georgia State. Though it should be pointed out many Georgia and college football fans enjoyed seeing Jeremy Pruitt and Jim Chaney flop.

Related: Disastrous Saturday for some of UGA’s SEC rivals

Ultimately the ineptitude of Georgia’s fellow SEC East teams shouldn’t hinder the Bulldogs’ College Football Playoff resume. The division wasn’t stellar in each of the past two seasons and Georgia was still very much a part of the playoff discussion in both seasons.

Plus Georgia’s games against Notre Dame, Auburn and Texas A&M should do enough to bolster the resume. But even with Georgia’s impressive win, this was still a brutal weekend for the SEC

Winner: Tyler Simmons

There were a lot of questions about Georgia’s punt and kickoff returners heading into the season. A season ago, Mecole Hardman proved to be a real weapon for the Bulldogs, often helping flip field position.

If Saturday is any indication of what to expect this season, the Bulldogs will have another major weapon in Tyler Simmons. The senior wide receiver was sure-handed as a punt returner and consistently netted positive gains. His 3 punt returns yielded Georgia 55 yards.

Simmons didn’t have a catch in the win, but he once again earned praise from Kirby Smart for his ability as a blocker.

However, it wasn’t all good from the return game. James Cook returned a kickoff that was about 9-yards deep into the endzone. Afterward, Smart clearly wasn’t supportive of Cook’s decision to return a kick from that far back.

“Not that far,” Smart joked. “That’s youthful exuberance.”

Loser: Possibly Georgia’s wide receiver depth

Georgia’s wide receivers played well on Saturday, even if the stats were limited. DawgNation’s Mike Griffith detailed Demetris Robertson’s strong game and why it should be a sign of things to come. Lawrence Cager and Matt Landers also showed some impressive athleticism as well.

Related: ‘Deserving’ Demetris Robertson finally breaks out, sparks 30-6 Georgia win

And even though George Pickens didn’t register a catch, he drew a pass interference penalty in the endzone to set up a Georgia score.

Towards the end of the game though, the group took a hit. Redshirt freshman Kearis Jackson hauled in a long completion from Jake Fromm. But Jackson took a hit on the play and ended up fumbling the ball. He then left the game to get X-rays on his injured hand. At the time of the post-game press conference, Smart was unsure about Jackson’s status.

Jackson actually ended up getting the start on Saturday, and while his performance didn’t stand out like Robertson’s, it’s clear he’s going to be a piece of this offense. Look for more updates on Jackson’s status to come on Monday.

Winner: Azeez Ojulari

We wrote about the progress Azeez Ojulari made this offseason. He first caught our attention with his performance in the Sugar Bowl, and then followed that up with strong showings in spring and fall practice.

He ended up earning the start for the Bulldogs at the very talented outside linebacker position. And the redshirt freshman had a strong showing for the Bulldogs, as he finished with 6 tackles.

Related: Azeez Ojulari confident in unproven outside linebacker room

He also teamed with Channing Tindall to produce Georgia’s only sack of the night.

“It was great. It was phenomenal,” Ojulari said on his game. “Everyone was crunk. I just know that the hard work paid off and I’m not done yet.”

Georgia may not have created the sack numbers like it wanted to, but the Bulldogs held Vanderbilt starter to fewer than 100 yards passing. Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn meanwhile compiled only 74 rushing yards. It may not have been the flashiest effort form the Georgia defense, but it was still an incredibly strong showing by the Bulldogs.

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