ATHENS — Kirby Smart doesn’t go out of his way to praise assistant coaches too often with excellence expected from some of the highest-paid football staffers in the nation.
Saturday night, however, was an exception with Smart pointing out how co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann was on top of his game as a play caller.
Georgia beat Mississippi State 45-19 on the road, but it was no easy feat, as Schumann had to match wits with renowned offensive guru Mike Leach.
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“We said the game would come down to third and fourth down conversions, they were 3-14 on third down and 0-3 on fourth down,” Smart noted in his postgame radio interview.
“Those were huge stops on fourth down and great calls by Glenn Schumann … I thought Schumann and his staff, man, they did a great job on defense getting some critical fourth down stops.”
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Schumann is only 32 years old, but schools looking for an energetic head coach will surely note Dan Lanning’s success and recognize Schumann as being in the same mold.
Kendall Milton is getting back in the flow, his 34-yard TD run clinching the game and building momentum with the championship run approaching.
Kearis Jackson made some incredible plays, putting himself back on the receiving radar with 4 catches for 69 yards.
Tykee Smith was pressed into action with Javon Bullard hobbled and came through with 5 tackles and 2 pass breakups.
Kamari Lassiter makes the list if only because of his textbook open-field stop at the UGA 9-yard line against a Mississippi State back the Bulldogs had struggled to slow down at times.
Stetson Bennett had a Heisman highlight, showing great quickness and cutback ability on a 4-yard TD run. Bennett, however, also had two interceptions and some decisions Smart questioned.
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Daijun Edwards had 11 yards on 6 carries and was fortunate that what appeared to be a fumble was not called by the referees.
Brett Thorson has exhibited a great sense of humor on Twitter but there was nothing funny about the short, low kick that contributed to a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown.