Georgia football: what went right and wrong against Tennessee

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Justin Fields #1 (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Justin Fields #1 (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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ATHENS, GA – SEPTEMBER 29: DAndre Swift #7 (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA – SEPTEMBER 29: DAndre Swift #7 (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Quarterback usage

The dog is out of the cage, Justin Fields is not being redshirted. In fact, Georgia may have found a way to comfortably utilize him in the offense. Georgia’s offense was stale for much of the game. Jake Fromm missed a couple of deep passes and was stripped twice. His receivers didn’t help at times either, stutter stepping on one deep ball, and D’Andre Swift dropping a screen kept another two touchdowns off the board.

Justin Fields came in throughout the game to give the team a little more energy. He entered the game on Georgia’s first possession of the second half after the Dawgs reached the red zone. Many predicted that he’d be used in that role before the season began. He brings the threat of the quarterback run, more so than Fromm. Tennessee didn’t heed that threat because they let Fields score from 12 yards out.

Later, after Tennessee cut the lead to 24-12, Fromm and Fields began alternating after first downs. That idea produced a beautiful, 13-play, 75-yard, 7-plus minute touchdown drive. The Bulldogs extended the lead to 31-12. Following Tennessee’s fumble, Fields came back and scored on another run to put the game out of reach.

Before the season I expected Fields’ usage to be a mixture of D.J. Shockley and Tim Tebow. I thought he’d get a drive here and there, and would also be used on short yardage situations. But there appears to be another great quarterback to compare Fields’ workload to; Steve Young.

The 49ers brought acquired Young in 1987 to push Joe Montana. The threat of losing the starting job pushed Montana to be better, and the Niners won two more Super Bowls with Montana as starter and Young as the backup.

Fields is pushing Fromm to perform better. The threat of being benched for having a pretty good performance is there now. Ultimately, if the two buy into this philosophy, we’ll continue to see performances like the fourth quarter this past Saturday.

Pass rushing

Another thing fans and media overreacted about earlier this season, Georgia’s pass rush continues to terrorize SEC quarterbacks. The Dawgs sacked Jarrett Guarantano twice. D’Andre Walker got his fourth sack of the season. Tyler Clark and Julian Rochester combined for the other sack.

Rushing offense

Georgia still doesn’t have a 100-yard rusher in SEC play, and that still doesn’t matter. Six different rushers combined for 220 yards, while Isaac Nauta’s scoop and score counted towards Georgia’s rushing total as well.

Elijah Holyfield led the team again with 78 yards. Brian Herrien added 56, mostly on Georgia’s third touchdown drive. Swift rushed for 50 yards with two scores. Fields also added 45 yards on five carries with two touchdowns of his own.