The Georgia Bulldogs are back on top of the SEC East after their win at Kentucky. The players wanted to send a message to the country and to the SEC that they are not a one year wonder, and they are here to stay. Today, we look at some of the winners and losers for the Georgia Bulldogs. And, they will have to clean up some of the negatives to compete with Alabama.
Winner: Rush Offense
Benny Snell had led the conference in rushing coming into this game, but when the clock hit all zeros, he was the third leading rusher on the field. Georgia’s dynamic running back duo in Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift had a field day against Kentucky. They both combined for 34 carries for an easy 271 yards on a defense that was supposed to be one of the best run stoppers in the country. Swift ran for a career-high 156 yards and two touchdowns while junior Holyfield also rushed for a career-high 115 yards and a touchdown. In total, Georgia ran for 331 yards. That marks the highest total yards of the season for the rushing attack. If Georgia can find a way to run the ball like this every week, they will be hard to beat.
Loser: Offensive Line Health
It seems like the norm this season, but another week passed by and that means more injuries occurred up front. Freshman Cade Mays is already replacing Ben Cleveland, but he went down on Saturday with some sort of stinger. Lamont Gaillard left the game with what looked like a more serious injury. Coach Kirby Smart called it a hyperextended knee, but he has practiced this week and looks good to go. Gaillard was replaced by a freshman in Trey Hill. Even though they ran all over the Wildcats, Hill still botched a snap which cost Georgia points. That is now the fourth starting lineman to miss a game, with Isaiah Wilson being the only one to not miss time. Auburn might be having a down season, but their front seven is still elite. Georgia will need all the big bodies they can get.
Winner: Freshman on Defense
Georgia’s defense has caught a lot of criticism this season, with the lack of sacks and LSU running for 275 yards. They answered that talk against Kentucky by having their best game of the year. Snell was held to only 73 yards, and they also picked up four sacks. A lot of action came from freshmen. Channing Tindall and Brenton Cox got their first sacks of the season. Adam Anderson and Robert Beal finally received some playing time and they made life difficult for Terry Wilson and Snell. The new starting nose tackle, Jordan Davis, is also a true freshman and he is a man among boys. Smart has pointed out a lot this season that they are a young team. “And we’re a young team. We’ve got some good seniors around us, but for the most part, when you do walk-throughs, you do these meetings, you see a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” Smart said. Georgia’s run defense might be lacking this year, but it will quickly develop into a strength once the freshmen develop.
Loser: Goal line offense
Once again, the Bulldogs found themselves on the goal line with a chance to score a touchdown. They failed again just like in the Florida game. Chaney has tried calling everything. He has run up the middle, sneaked it, ran outside, and even tried throwing. The only solution is to have Justin Fields come in during goal line situations. He is a big body that also has the speed to get outside. Fields also provides a threat to pass the ball. The goal line struggles could be because of the constant rotation of the offensive line, but there should not be an excuse to not be able to gain one yard in eight plays. Georgia needs to let Fields run read options when close to the goal line. He will lead them to a touchdown.
Bonus Loser: SEC East
Georgia has owned the East over the last two seasons. With the win at Kentucky, they are 12-0 and no game has come within 14 points. And, it looks like that will not change anytime soon. Dan Mullen could do great things at Florida, but Smart is building a giant in Athens. Georgia is also the youngest team in the SEC while dominating their division, and they figure to only get better. The recruiting has been outstanding, so everyone else in the East should be on watch. This season is the most beatable Georgia will be within the next five years. A monster is beginning to form in the Bulldogs, and they look to dominate the East for a long time.