A quarter-by-quarter look at the Bulldogs’ 51-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium.
Big play: At the end of ULM’s first offensive possession of the game, outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter shot in from the left side and got a hand on the Warkhawks’ punt. Punter Chris Qualls was credited with a 2-yard put and Georgia took over at ULM’s 21-yard line. Nick Chubb scored two runs later for a 7-0 lead.
Turning point: The Brian Schottenheimer/Greyson Lambert era could have only gotten off to a worse start only had it ended in a turnover. The Bulldogs gained two yards on three plays and had a substitution penalty. But everything got better on the second possession when as Chubb scored untouched on a 14-yard run on a drive that started deep in ULM territory.
The takeaway: Georgia’s defense looks real good. Granted, it should against a Sun Belt Conference team. But with Leonard Floyd standing tall at middle linebacker, Jordan Jenkins and Lorenzo Carter bringing pressure from the outside and a ball-hawking secondary that claimed its first interception, it looks particularly athletic and opportunistic.
Score: Bulldogs 21, Warhawks 0
Big play: It’s not going to show up on SportsCenter and it wasn’t any kind of extraordinary athletic play, but Keith Marshall’s three-yard scoring run early in the quarter was represented watershed moment for the junior tailback. Plagued with knee problems since being injured in the Tennessee game midway through the 2013 season, it was Marshall’s first score since then.
Turning point: Georgia took over on its own 3 after a deep punt. But Sony Michel sprung them loose with a 48-yard catch-and-run of a pass from Lambert. Three Chubb runs later, and the Bulldogs stretched their lead to 28-0.
The takeaway: Brice Ramsey’s a pretty good quarterback, too. The sophomore finally got his first action with 5:33 remaining in the quarter and he made the most of brief time. Ramsey threw two completions for two third-down conversions on a six-play scoring drive. The first was rope on a deep out to Terry Godwin, the second a screen pass to Michel that the tailback took 31 yards for a touchdown.
Halftime score: Bulldogs 35, Warhawks 7
Big play: Once again the Bulldogs got a big play on special teams. This time it was freshman linebacker D’Andre Walker who burst through the middle of the line of scrimmage and blocked a Warhawks’ punt. The ball careened off his hands straight up in the air and sailed over the end line for a safety and two points for Georgia.
Turning point: At the 8:35 mark of the quarter, which was approximately 2:10 p.m. EST, the game was suspended because lightning was detected within a 15-mile radius of Sanford Stadium must’ve been at least 14.9 miles away as no one in attendance saw or heard the lightning. Georgia led 35-14 and ULM was facing third-and-five at its own 15 at the time.
The takeaway: Georgia’s defense, which looked lights out for the most of the first half, looked suddenly vulnerable to the forward pass as the game progressed. The Warhawks passed their way down the field on the last possession of the first half and first possession of third quarter, with receiver Rashon Ceasar hauling in TD catches both times.
Score: Bulldogs 35, Warhawks 14
Big play: Georgia began feeding Marshall, its third-string tailback, in the final quarter. And the redshirt junior tailback rewarded them with runs of 20 and 16 yards on a long scoring drive.
Turning point: With bright sun beaming down on Sanford Stadium, officials called for a second lightning delay of the game with 9:54 remaining in the game. After huddling at midfield to discuss the situation, it was determined that enough of the game had been played to make it official by SEC and NCAA rules, and Georgia was declared the winner.
The takeaway: Whoever is monitoring the weather radar has way too much power, as does the radar itself. Not one lightning bolt ever flashed within sight of the 92,000 spectators inside Sanford Stadium.
Score: Bulldogs 51, Warhawks 14