ATHENS — No matter who you asked on the Georgia offense, they’d tell you they didn’t play to the Georgia standard on Saturday.
Never mind that Stetson Bennett threw for 300 yards and added another rushing touchdown or that Kendall Milton had the best rushing effort of his career. That the offensive line gave up only one sack, and that was at the fault of Bennett and not those blocking for him. Statistically, Georgia had another fine game as it racked up 479 yards of offense.
But the name of the game for the Bulldogs is points. And Georgia ended up kicking more field goals on Saturday, four, than touchdowns, with three.
It all added up to an uninspiring 33-0 win over Samford.
“The offense didn’t score the touchdowns they needed to. They did that the first game and we didn’t today,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “We have to get better at that. We can’t get end games just kicking field goals.”
Tight end Darnell Washington said the Bulldogs came out slow, as Georgia settled for field goals from Jack Podlesny on the first two drives of the game. Bennett ran in Georgia’s first touchdown of the game with 22 seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs a 13-0 lead over Samford.
The Bulldogs once again drove into Samford territory on the next drive, yet a false start on fourth down from Arik Gilbert led to Georgia’s first punt of the day. By that point, Smart had seen enough and Bennett’s day was done.
Even in a world where Bennett topped 300 passing yards for the second week, he knows the offense as a whole must execute better.
“I think we’re all upset that we didn’t execute as well as we could’ve in the first half and come out in the second half and didn’t do it again,” Bennett said. “Didn’t work out and that put a damper on it even more.”
After Bennett exited, Carson Beck came into the game. He had no problem moving Georgia down the field and into the red zone once again. But as it seemed to do with Bennett, the offense stalled out and settled for a field goal once again.
There’s not much for Georgia to take away from the game against Samford. The Bulldogs were the far superior team and that much was known getting off the bus.
It’s games like these though that explains why Smart stresses playing to Georgia’s standard. Something that didn’t happen against Samford.
“When you don’t get it multiple times in the first half and then the second half you come out and you don’t get and then you put Carson [Beck] in and he didn’t cash in on a chance in that area, it’s something you’ve got to be working on,” Smart said. “And I’ll guarantee you it’s easily fixable, but a lot of it comes down to execution.”
Georgia scored touchdowns on its first seven drives of the Oregon game. To expect that level of dominance would be a lot to ask, even against an overmatched Samford team.
The Bulldogs though need to be better than they were on Saturday. Georgia will face stiffer competition, starting next week when the Bulldogs go on the road against South Carolina.
If Georgia were able to turn two of those field goals into touchdowns, perhaps we’re nitpicking some other area of the team right now.
The good news is that the Bulldogs know what they need to work on. It comes down to execution and the Bulldogs showed they could do that against Oregon.
Even on a day where Georgia effortlessly moved the ball, the Bulldogs know this offense can be a good bit better than what it showed. And that should be a scary thought for just how good this offense can be.
“Through two games, I feel like we still have room for improvement,” Washington said. “Way more room to grow. We can be 10 times better than what we are now.” -- darnell
Stetson Bennett discusses good, not great offensive performance against Samford
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