ATHENS — Georgia football scored its most impressive victory of the season on Saturday, and the buzz hasn’t worn off in Athens.
Coach Kirby Smart got the validation he needed in a battle of Top 25 teams, showing Missouri just how far off it is from matching up with the Bulldogs’ championship talent.
Georgia’s offense showed flashes of the firepower new offensive coordinator Todd Monken was expected to bring with his Air Raid concepts with a quarterback under center capable of pushing the ball down the field.
The No. 9-ranked Bulldogs put a season-high 49 points on the board along with a season-best 615 total yards — 316 rushing, and 299 passing.
Here’s a look at the stock report, indicating who and what is on the upswing, holding steady, or trending down.
Kirby Smart: Proactive and sharp clock management in second quarter enabled UGA to grab momentum. Kirby doesn’t get enough credit for his work in this area. He does get credit for his defensive halftime adjustments, and he did it again, shutting out Mizzou in second half.
JT Daniels: Daniels is 16 of 19 for 270 yards with 6 TDs on third down plays. The SoCal gunslinger is effectively getting George Pickens involved and added Darnell Washington to what’s becoming a scary group of pass catchers.
Zamir White: White made some nice cuts en route to 126 yards on 12 carries. A 43-yard run impressed, leading one to believe White may be primed for early entrance into the NFL draft with confidence back in his knees. Carries will be harder to come by next season with Kendall Milton emerging and Kenny McIntosh one step bigger, faster and stronger.
George Pickens: That 36-yard basket catch — some receivers go an entire career hoping to make the sorts of catches Pickens makes in each outing. Smart said he can and will get even better.
Darnell Washington: This large human being (6-7, 260) has unmistakably sticky hands. An emerging force in the UGA offense.
Jordan Davis: The presence of number 99 was hard to miss, but certainly not hard to appreciate. Georgia is a different team with Davis on the field. Incredibly special player, should not settle for anything less than top 5 draft status.
Eric Stokes: No way to undervalue Stokes’ interception and 27-yard return on the first series of the game. The UGA cornerback provides Spiderman-like coverage with his flexibility, speed and sticky nature.
Monty Rice: it’s a compliment Rice can continue his steady play (three tackles) despite playing with an injured foot. The senior captain has gutted his way through a season others would have opted out.
Kenny McIntosh: The sophomore showed he’s almost back to 100 percent with a next-level run that saw him make something out of nothing on an 18-yard cut-back run.
Nakobe Dean: No injured foot here, just a leveling off for a player who was expected to rise to stardom this season. Dean isn’t a star, yet, but he’s solid enough.
James Cook: Cook had a solid 37-yard touchdown catch, feeling the pursuit nicely. Cook also had 6 carries for 44 yards. Looks quicker than fast, can improve balance.
Azeez Ojulari: Ojulari started the season on fire. Perhaps offenses have identified him: Only two tackles and one QB hurry for Ojulari.
Special teams: It was quite a letdown for the UGA special teams, which allowed a punt to be blocked and saw Kearis Jackson muff a punt and Jack Podlesny miss a 43-yard field goal. Tough weather conditions, yes, but this is a unit with high expectations.
Keep an eye on
Warren Ericson: The redshirt sophomore made his first start at center. It’s a tough job, and Ericson will be challenged to keep it and continue to improve. There’s potential here.