Georgia Bulldogs big win over Vanderbilt still leaves questions


The Georgia Bulldogs did what they were supposed to do today. They beat the Vanderbilt Commodores by a double-digit margin on Homecoming, 44-17

They gave the ball to Todd Gurley and let him do Gurley things…including throwing a 50-yard pass completion.

They played good enough on defense to keep Vandy’s anemic offense from scoring more than 17 points.

But if little victories are to be counted along with the big one on the scoreboard, then Georgia wasn’t celebrating much.

I guess the Bulldog Nation should be thankful that Georgia didn’t fall into the trap that six other Top 25 teams (to date…two others are currently losing games as I write this) had already stumbled into this weekend, being the victims of upsets.

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But with two road games upcoming against two teams in Missouri and Arkansas who look to be much better than they did in the preseason, the Dawgs still have a lot of unanswered questions, and some problems that may not go away at all this season.

The defensive secondary is now way beyond the point of being a question. That group is now a full-blown dumpster fire, and some of the upcoming SEC teams are going to throw gas on that fire.

Vanderbilt had one of the worst passing games in the nation, averaging only 148 yards per game.

Georgia handed them 188.

The Commodores hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown since the fourth quarter of their Sept. 20 game against South Carolina.

The Bulldogs gave up two.

The Georgia defense has to find a way to stop the bleeding and start limiting opponents on more possessions. Thats all there is to it. If they show the same kind of softness against teams like Arkansas or Auburn, it will make things next to impossible on the offense.

Speaking of them…

Yes, Todd Gurley is probably the best player in college football, and when you have a weapon like him, why not use him as often as possible?

It’s not that simple, because, what if Gurley’s not available? The Georgia offense with and without Gurley is like night and day. Even when he doesn’t touch the ball, just the mere threat of him handling it in some way (including as quarterback) keeps defenses honest, and prevents a lot of bad things from happening.

Oct 4, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Hutson Mason (14) handles the ball against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Vanderbilt 44-17. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

But when Gurley isn’t there, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo tries to get cute, things start to unravel. The passing game is weak and the run plays that Gurley is usually able to break for at least 5-6 yards end up being stopped cold. Quarterback Hutson Mason has yet to show this season that he is a guy who can put this team on his back and carry them to a win.

It’s scary to think that Todd Gurley has the longest pass completion of the year for the Bulldogs.

Yes, a 44-17 win over the Commodores is a good thing. Let’s not ever try to lessen the importance of any SEC win. But one has to wonder if a team that is supposed to be as good as Georgia shouldn’t have handled a team like Vanderbilt with much less trouble.

The next three games — Missouri, Arkansas and Florida — will test the mettle of this 2014 Georgia team, and reveal the answer to the biggest question of them all.

Has the hype far exceeded the reality for this team?