ATHENS – Kolton Houston knew the final play, or what proved to the final play, was in good shape when the Georgia left guard got to the line and saw Georgia Southern had bought into the three-wideout look, and had two safeties back.
“They were in the perfect look,” Houston said. “And I said: This play has got a chance to spit. And sure enough she went right down the pike.”
Sony Michel did indeed go right through the middle for the game-winning 25-yard touchdown on Georgia’s first play of overtime. The blocking on the play was perfect, and Michel did the rest.
But the rest of the game didn’t look so good blocking-wise for the Bulldogs, at least from afar. Quarterback Greyson Lambert was sacked twice and rushed several more times. Prior to Michel’s touchdown, and excluding the 23-yard Isaiah McKenzie touchdown on the first drive, and Georgia runners only averaged 3.9 yards per attempt.
Still, Houston pushed back on the idea his line was at fault. They actually had a good night, he said, considering the numbers that were thrown at them.
“People probably see all the pressure and all that kind of stuff and might think we didn’t play good. But it’s hard to block eight people with five people,” Houston said.
Georgia Southern “probably blitzed 90 percent of the time,” Houston added. The final play was part of the 10 percent.
“That’s hard to do, when people are slanting and twisting and blitzing off the edges,” Houston said. “I think we handled it pretty well, and we were able to keep grinding, and keep pushing, and we came out of here with the W.”
Right tackle John Theus, who spent most of the night on the edges, saw basically the same thing.
“They definitely dialed up and brought everything but the kitchen sink at us,” Theus said. “They were twisting and bringing stunts and all kind of pressure. We had to respond to it, but we did a good job, had a good gameplan for it. And tried to make out adjustments as best we could.”
Theus also brushed off the idea that the personnel movement had an effect: Center Hunter Long was making his first career start, but he’s a fifth-year senior, and Brandon Kublanow moved from center to right guard, but he started every game last year at left guard.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said plenty of credit goes to Georgia Southern’s defensive line, especially up the middle.
“They’ve got two big dudes in there,” Richt said.
He also pointed to a Georgia Southern middle linebacker who was 6-3, 245, and two safeties over 6-foot and 200 pounds.
“That was the thing that I was saying that was a little different about this team than years past when we played them, was the size of them,” Richt said. “They lined up and they looked every bit like a Southeastern Conference football team, for the most part.”