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Stops like this one by Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter against Notre Dame on Saturday earned him SEC honors.

Georgia football: LB Lorenzo Carter named SEC Defensive Player of the Week

Cy Brown

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Lorenzo Carter earns SEC weekly honor

After the defense’s blistering performance in the 20-19 win at Notre Dame on Saturday, it was a safe bet that a Georgia Bulldogs player would claim SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. The Dawgs held a Notre Dame offense that gained 599 yards on Sept. 2 against Temple to just 265 on Saturday, including a drop from 422 rushing yards to just 55.

On Monday, the conference announced Lorenzo Carter as its SEC Defensive Player of the Week. The senior outside linebacker from Norcross, Ga., racked up 7 tackles, a sack, 2 forced fumbles, and most crucially, a recovered fumble on Georgia’s final defensive play of the game.

Although Carter was the man who claimed the honor, a couple of Bulldogs also were in contention. Fellow OLB Davin Bellamy finished with 6 tackles, a sack, and the forced fumble that won led Georgia to the win. IInside linebacker Roquan Smith had 7 tackles and a sack, and was a major reason why the Irish didn’t have a single rush of more than 8 yards. Safety J.R. Reed also made his presence known as a force on the defense, leading the team with 9 tackles.

At second glance: Stopping the QB run

Georgia has faced running quarterbacks in the first two games of the season and fared well against both. Taylor Lamb of Appalachian State was held to 66 yards on the ground, and Brandon Wimbush of Notre Dame ran for just a yard on 16 carries a week after running for more than 100 against Temple.

This is very good news considering the best teams Georgia will face the rest of the way have running quarterbacks. The two toughest teams left on the schedule, Mississippi State and Auburn, have quarterbacks who can run. Samford’s quarterback also can run. Then there’s obviously the matter of Georgia Tech and its triple-option. So continuing to stop the QB run will be key to the Bulldogs’ success the rest of the season.

In a recent post, Seth Emerson of DawgNation went back to the tape of the Notre Dame game to identify what Georgia did and didn’t do well. Here’s what he noticed in regard to what coordinator Mel Tucker’s defense is doing to keep the passer from getting the edge and breaking a run.

Georgia went with a lot of three- and four-man rushes on passing downs, being careful not to overplay the rush, waiting to pounce on option runs and delayed screens. That was a big reason Notre Dame was just 3-for-17 on third downs.

Georgia was in the 3-4 a lot, but with the two outside linebackers hunched at the line it’s basically a 5-2-4. That was the alignment, for example, on a second-and-long on the second drive, against a Notre Dame seven-man front. [The result was an incompletion.] And sometimes one outside linebacker dropped back and one rushed, such as on a third-and-long when freshman OLB Walter Grant brought down Wimbush for a long loss. [Great instincts by Grant not buying the fake and staying on the quarterback.]

The result on a lot of these plays is not only was Wimbush kept in the pocket, as Georgia intended, but the pocket was pushed very quickly.

Run from the gun

One talking point I’ve seen bandied about by Dawgs fans is Georgia’s propensity to run the ball out of the shotgun in the first two games. The main point of contention is that the tailbacks fare worse when running from the gun than they do when the quarterback lines up behind center. This might turn out to be true in the long run, but according to the sample we got against Notre Dame, it seems running from the gun was the most effective way to earn yards on the ground. From Jason Butt of The Telegraph:

In fact, the Bulldogs put 29 runs on the field out of the shotgun for 128 yards. That’s good for 4.4 yards per carry. Not great, but not bad. Under center, the yards per carry average is deceiving. Georgia ran the ball 11 times for 63 yards when [Jake] Fromm took a snap from under center. Forty of those yards, however, came on a D’Andre Swift sweep. Take that run away and Georgia posted a 2.3 yards per carry average from under center.

Georgia gets 4 straight night games

For perhaps the first time ever, Georgia will open the season with four consecutive night games. It was announced Monday that the Sept. 23 Week 4 game against Mississippi State at Sanford Stadium will kick off at 7 p.m. ET and be broadcast by ESPN.

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