NASHVILLE — My column on Georgia’s 31-14 win over Vanderbilt will be posted soon on Dawgnation.com. Until then, here are my three “short takes” on the game. A late-game, 88-yard interception return by Dominick Sanders made the outcome look more one-sided than reality.
1. QUARTERBACK DILEMMA, CHAPTER 237: Georgia coach Mark Richt is extending Greyson Lambert (11 for 21, 116 yards) a long lifeline. The Dogs won this game because of Nick Chubb (189 yards) and Sony Michel (31-yard touchdown run). Lambert was largely ineffective in the first half and much of the second against Vanderbilt’s defense. But Richt gave Brice Ramsey only one possession in the half (he completed passes of 15 and 10 yards in his first two attempts, had an overthrew, then nearly completed a deep ball to Malcolm Mitchell but the ball was knocked out of the receiver’s hands). Lambert returned in the next possession and started the second half. The message: This is NOT a quarterback competition. Lambert has to play his way out of the starting job and Richt doesn’t believe he has done that. It’s also apparent by the conservative play-calling in the first two weeks that Richt and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer don’t have a lot of confidence in their passing attack. Ramsey hasn’t taken nearly enough snaps in game action to lead you to believe he would play significant time against South Carolina, unless Lambert is either injured or awful.
2. PENALTY PROBLEMS: If Georgia is going to accomplish something of significance this season, it’s going to have to keep its cool and play with a little more discipline on defense. The Bulldogs had three major penalties in the first half — a borderline targeting penalty by linebacker Lorenzo Carter, leading to his ejection; a hands-to-the-face by linebacker Leonard Floyd and a pass interference by safety Dominick Sanders. In the fourth quarter, an unsportsmanlike conduct against the Georgia bench following a fumbled kickoff return could have been costly as it gave Vanderbilt possession at the Dogs’ eight-yard line trailing only 24-14. But quarterback Johnny McCrary’s pass was intercepted by Jake Ganus in the end zone with 4:18 left, effectively ending the game. The game was closer than it should have been.
3. IT’S JUST VANDY AGAIN: Georgia fans may have learned to hate Vanderbilt coach James Franklin in a short amount of time. But he accomplished something no other coach on this campus has managed and that’s make football a watchable product. And then, of course, he was smart and left for Penn State. But Vanderbilt football is non-happening in Nashville again. At least half the crowd was Georgia fans dressed in red –and by the fourth quarter it was all red, except for the Vandy band. Coach Derek Mason is now 3-11 in his second season, including 0-9 in the SEC. He’ll be the next ex-Vandy coach before long and the Franklin era will continue to be a speck in Vanderbilt football history.
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