It was a great first win for Georgia football against an SEC East opponent along with another double-digit win. Here are some key observations of the win.
Georgia football’s running game dominated from the start.
Georgia rushed for a total of 325 yards. Brian Herrian took advantage of his first game starting at running back, accruing 65 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
D’Andre Swift added 149 yards on 16 carries, averaging 9.2 yards per carry.
Zamir White made his long-awaited debut going off for 52 yards on five carries. James Cook added another 22 yards on two carries, including Georgia’s first touchdown on an eighteen-yard run.
Georgia’s offense owes a lot to the blocking of Charlie Woerner and Eli Wolf as well. Tight ends often do not get enough credit unless they are making catches, but this two help out the Georgia running game in a major way.
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Demetris Robertson is the one receiver that stuck out to me.
Robertson is a legit weapon in this offense averaging 10.4 yards per touch against Vanderbilt. He ripped off runs of 14 and 15 yards, caught a three-yard touchdown, and another 17-yard reception.
Another receiver that impressed me was Matt Landers.
He only had two catches, but he made both of them count. The first was on a ten-yard comeback for a first down.
The other was a wide receiver screen for 15 yards. Not only did Landers show that he can stretch the field he also showed his blocking ability helping to springs Swift on his 37-yard run.
Tyler Simmons showed some flare on special teams returning three punts for 55 yards, an average of 18 yards. He had a long of 27 yards which he just about broke free on.
I did an article on how the defensive line needed to step up about a month ago.
Last night they showed a lot of improvement. Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, Tyler Clark, and Michael Barnett were all bringing pressure from the interior of the defensive line.
Wyatt, Clark, and Barnett had three of the defense’s four quarterback hurries.
One of my biggest criticism this offseason was towards Georgia’s linebackers. I pointed out that a team’s safeties should never lead your team in tackles.
Well, three of the top five tacklers were linebackers in this game. Monty Rice had seven, Azeez Ojulari had six, and Quay Walker had four. Ojulari also added a sack and tackle for loss.
Other linebackers contributing were Channing Tindall with a sack and Adam Anderson, Nolan Smith, and Jermaine Johnson all had a quarterback hurry.
So this linebacker group is starting to play up to their billing.
On third and eight, early in the third quarter I finally saw what I had envisioned all summer for this defense.
Georgia brought a safety blitz with J.R. Reed up the middle, and Reed was met by Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson at the quarterback.
They did not get a sack, but this pressure caused a rushed throw by Ryan that sailed high and incomplete.
Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell are every bit the cornerback pair we expected them to be.
They held Kalija Lipscomb to just three catches for eight yards. Campbell did get called for a pass interference penalty that was negated by another penalty by Vanderbilt, but it was the only mistake the sophomore made all night.
Mistakes cost Georgia two of their biggest plays of the night. One was a 53-yard pass to Demetris Robertson that was negated by a holding penalty.
The other was a 32-yard pass to Kearis Jackson which he fumbled after catching it. Kearis Jackson did break bones in his hand on the play, and will be out for an extended period of time says Seth Emerson, writer for The Athletic.
Zamir White had the ball punched out on his 23-yard run, thankfully it bounced out of bounds, but we have to protect the ball better.
Georgia was just one of seven on third down (14%), which is not acceptable against any opponent.
They had ten penalties for 117 free yards. Four of which gave Vanderbilt free first downs.
Overall this was a solid win to start the season. Georgia is 1-0 in the SEC and in the SEC East. Kirby will iron out the little mistakes that were made this week and the boys will be even stronger against Murray State in their next game.