No. 7 Georgia (4-0) got a 48-6 rout of Southern (2-2) on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in what was basically a warm-up for next week’s showdown with Alabama. The following are the grades for the Bulldogs:
Greyson Lambert was nearly perfect again, going 9-for-10 with two touchdowns, Malcolm Mitchell and Isaiah McKenzie had good days again, and tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were their usual selves, at least in the second half. It was a lackluster first half that prevented this from being an “A” performance. The offensive line gave up one sack, and didn’t open up big holes for the tailbacks in the first half. Everything was fixed in the third quarter, when the Bulldogs had four touchdowns to put the game away. The rest of the game was about running out the clock, which the reserves managed quite well.
In every game thus far Georgia’s defense has shown how great it can be for most of the game, but also allowed the opponent a few long drives. Such was the case Saturday, as Southern managed to move into Bulldog territory on two straight drives, notching a touchdown and also getting close enough to try a field goal, which missed. Otherwise, it was a sterling day for the defense, as Southern went three-and-out seven times, and the Bulldogs had seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Southern’s dangerous kick returner, Willie Quinn, was basically held in check, though he and Mike Jones did average 21.6 yards per return. Georgia, meantime, didn’t do much on its punt returns (3.2 yards per return) or kickoff returns (returns of 17 and seven yards). The Bulldogs did block a punt, their second punt block of the year, and Marshall Morgan made a 47-yard field goal, his only attempt of the game. But punter Collin Barber’s one attempt only went for 24 yards, and back-up kicker Patrick Beless missed a 41-yard try.
This kind of game is always a delicate one for coaches, and Georgia’s staff seemed to handle it well. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead, which shows pretty good focus. And after the lackluster second quarter, whatever Mark Richt and his staff told the players worked, as the Bulldog offense scored four touchdowns and their defense got off the field each team. There’s a slight temptation to downgrade the coaches for the uneven special teams and two bad defensive drives. But that’s nit-picking, and ultimately it’s probably on the players anyway.
This kind of game usually only shows the warts, and in Georgia’s case the concerns remain: The defense occasionally giving way for a few drives, the special teams playing uneven, and what can happen to the running game when the defenses stacks the box. But Lambert and the passing game also continued to show they’re capable of taking over, which at some point will make defenses adjust, and thus help the running game. Georgia now heads into its most important game of the year (at least to this point) in very good shape. Not perfect shape, but reasonably close to it.
SOUTHERN “HUMAN JUKEBOX” BAND: A
I mean, they spelled out the halftime score.