092422 Athens: Georgia inside linebacker Jalon Walker blocks a punt in the endzone by Kent State punter Josh Smith for a safety to take a 9-3 lead during the first quarter in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Athens. “Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com

Georgia football winners and losers following uninspiring win over Kent State

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Georgia football winners and losers following Kent State performance

Winner: The Georgia tight ends

To hear Kirby Smart tell it though, a lot of Bowers’ magic wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the play of the other big-time tight end.

“The first play of the game, he’s wide open, the play was to go to him,” Smart said. “Stetson, he took a shot, being aggressive and Darnell was there the next play, Brock gets a touchdown and Darnell is down there celebrating. He’s the first one in the end zone celebrating. It was his block that sprung him. Again, Darnell’s blocking combined with what Brock does on the perimeter … the package of those two – compliments each other so well.”

Related: Brock Bowers continues to prove he can do it all and then some for Georgia football

Georgia is without Adonai Mitchell and Arian Smith at the moment. Kenny McIntosh picked up a thigh injury, casting some doubt on his immediate future. Ladd McConkey didn’t have the best game either, fumbling twice.

The Bulldogs very clearly need their tight ends to continue to move the ball. It helps that Georgia might have the most talented tight end room in the country.

And thanks to Bowers and Washington, those two are playing up to that standard.

Loser: Turnovers

A reporter remarked after the South Carolina game that Georgia had not turned the ball over after the first three games of the season. Smart quickly responded that Georgia had just been jinxed when it comes to that.

And it didn’t take long for the turnovers to come on Saturday against Kent State.

McConkey muffed a punt. He’d later fumbled again, but the special teams turnover was far more disappointing for both Smart and McConkey.

“I was frustrated there with Ladd probably a mistake to field the punt or not fair catch the punt. He knows that,” Smart said. “Nobody is more disappointed than Ladd is. We got started (maybe he said that). You’re going to have a fumble every now and then, it’s just part of football. Make good decisions when the ball is in transfer in kicking situations and we didn’t make a very smart one there.”

Related: Ladd McConkey struggles, second-half bounce back sums up ‘ugly’ win for Georgia football

The Georgia wide receiver wasn’t the only one though to have a few mistakes on Saturday. Stetson Bennett threw his first interception of the season, with some miscommunication with Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint leading to the errant pass.

Georgia played mistake-free football in the second half, but if you want to know why Georgia had to really strain to put away Kent State on Saturday, you really only need to look at those three turnovers. Add in that the Bulldogs didn’t create their own turnover until the fourth quarter and you can see why this game was closer than many expected.

Winner: Bear Alexander

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