NASHVILLE — Here are seven observations as No. 10 Georgia leads Vanderbilt 14-6 at halftime at Vanderbilt Stadium.
1. Here we go again? I don’t know, but this game feels an awful lot like the one the Bulldogs lost 31-27 here in 2013. That is, clearly they have the most talented team. But costly mistakes and untimely breakdowns have kept the Commodores engaged and hopeful. Fortunately for Georgia, it finally got away with it at the end of the half. Dominick Sanders had a penalty and failed to break up a pass to help Vandy drive the length of the field in the final minute of the half. But Tommy Openshaw’s 43-yard field goal attempt bounced off the upright to keep the Bulldogs margin at 8.
2. Nick Chubb is still pretty good. Vandy kept him bottled up most of the half, but he managed to get loose for 128 yards, most of it coming on a 68-yard carry. But the Bulldogs got nothing to show out of Chubb’s long run. Vandy’s Tre Bell had the angle on him and shoved him just enough to step out on the 23-yard line. Marshall Morgan ended up hooking his 36-yard field goal try badly left at the end of the drive.
3. Welcome back, Isaiah McKenzie. The sophomore receiver and kick-return specialist returned his third career punt for a touchdown (first this year) and his fourth kick return for a score in the opening quarter to put Georgia up 7-0. His return was for a career-long 77 yards and he is the SEC’s active leader with three. McKenzie’s punt return touchdown was the longest for the Bulldogs since Brandon Boykin went 92 yards for a score in the 2012 Outback Bowl versus Michigan State. McKenzie did not return kicks last week because of a pulled hamstring.
4. Mark Richt said they hoped to get Brice Ramsey in the game in the first half but that they weren’t promising. Ramsey did get in indeed, entering the game on Georgia’s final drive of the second period, redshirt sophomore QB Brice Ramsey came in and finished his drive 2-for-4 for 25 before the Bulldogs were forced to punt. Greyson Lambert came in to take a knee to end the half.
5. Senior OLB Jordan Jenkins posted career-high nine stops in the first two quarters, including 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. He is the SEC active leader with 18 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss in his career, is now 10th on the all-time sacks list and moved to No. 5 on Georgia’s all-time list for tackles for loss.
6. Uh-oh, another targeting call. Lorenzo Carter was ejected in the first quarter for hitting Vanderbilt quarterback Johnny McCrary high after he had released the ball. Georgia infamously had two players called for targeting penalties — Ray Drew and Ramik Wilson — when they lost here in 2013.
7. It appeared Carter’s duty was going to be limited to mainly pass-rushing. redshirt sophomore Davin Bellamy got the first start of his career at Carter’s normal position and was playing first and second downs.