ATHENS –After the game ended, Davin Bellamy ran across the man who recruited him to Georgia and coached him his first year there. Todd Grantham embraced Bellamy, and the two briefly spoke before parting.
“I just said, Nice seeing you. And good game,” Bellamy said later.
Bellamy was being nice. This much has become clear: Since Todd Grantham left Georgia, his former team has owned him. Especially Nick Chubb.
Twice now, Georgia’s offense has pummeled a defense coached by Grantham. The shellacking that Georgia put on Mississippi State on Saturday night was right in line with the 2014 Belk Bowl, when UGA routed Louisville and Grantham, 37-14.
Grantham was Georgia’s defensive coordinator from 2010-13, at first fixing a defense that had bottomed out under previous coordinator Willie Martinez. Grantham’s Georgia defense in 2011 was one of the best in the SEC and the nation, and propelled the team to the first of two SEC East titles.
But when a young Georgia defense struggled in 2013, many blamed Grantham’s complicated schemes. He left after the season for Louisville, where he had a largely successful three-year run.
One exception was that Belk Bowl, when Georgia racked up 492 total yards. Chubb, then just a freshman, ran for a career-high 266 rushing yards.
Chubb had another two rushing touchdowns on Saturday, before the third quarter was even over. Georgia raced out to a 31-3 lead, with freshman quarterback Jake Fromm passing for 201 yards in the first three quarters.
The final tally: Georgia had 404 total yards, almost evenly split between rushing and passing.
“Seeing Todd after the game, it was probably tough on him because it was hit or miss,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, who is friends with Grantham. “We hit some right calls, some right calls for him. But it’s tough. We mixed it up good. When the quarterback’s throwing the ball and completing passes, I think that makes it easier.”
“We just didn’t get it done up front tonight,” Mississippi State linebacker Braxton Hoyett said. “I feel we came out a little flat. We were ready, but I just feel like we’re a little complacent at times.”
Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney began the game by dialing up a flea-flicker, with Fromm hitting Terry Godwin for a 59-yard touchdown. Chaney and Smart discussed the flea flicker idea early in the week, deciding around Wednesday to open with it.
“I thought it was there, and it worked,” Smart said.
Chaney followed that up with an 8-play, 78-yard drive, capped off by a Chubb touchdown run to make it 14-0. Georgia was held in check the rest of the half, but Chaney’s offense scored on the first possession of the second half – Chubb’s 28-yard touchdown run.
Then midway through the third quarter, on third-and-1, Chaney called a play-action fake that Fromm handled perfectly, hitting Isaac Nauta downfield for a 41-yard touchdown.
This was one week after Grantham’s defense dominated in a 37-7 rout of LSU. Mississippi State entered the game ranked fourth nationally in total yards.
The game was also a continuation of Smart’s personal domination of Dan Mullen, at least since Mullen became Mississippi State’s head coach.
In seven meetings between Alabama’s defense, with Smart as coordinator, Mississippi State’s offense, coached by Mullen, struggled mightily, averaging just 8.6 points and 273.9 yards. Alabama was 7-0 against Mullen while Smart was there.