Georgia football smacked Oregon in the mouth on Saturday after an incredible offensive performance. The Dawgs beat down the Ducks 49-3, and it felt like no matter what Georgia tried to do, they made it happen.
Head coach Kirby Smart said during his press conference that they would not be hunted by anyone, which was quite evident on Saturday. From the opening snap, Georgia flew down the field and popped the Oregon player deep in their territory.
The Ducks couldn’t get any momentum because of how much that Georgia offense took the field. Not to mention Malaki Starks’ interception to deliver the first blow, followed by Chris Smith’s interception that entirely took Oregon out of the game.
Georgia didn’t give up a single touchdown. At times Oregon pressed Georgia’s defense, but the Dawgs never broke.
Oregon tried at the end of the game to punch it in, but the Dawgs said not today, Ducks, it’s our day to shut you down and finish the beatdown.
The three takeaways from the Georgia football demoralizing victory over the Ducks
Starting quarterback Stetson Bennett put on an absolute show. He led that offense with poise and a leadership level that the Dawgs needed from him. The receivers looked better prepared, but maybe it was because Bennett was on point.
Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton did a fantastic job being versatile in the rushing and receiving game. Their ability to do both is one of the reasons Georgia will be a lethal offense.
After this impressive week one victory, here are our top three takeaways from Georgia hunting down the Ducks.
1. Defense shows promise
That Georgia defense bent at times, but they refused to break. Georgia wasn’t perfect on defense, and no one should expect them to be. This group is full of talented young players who don’t have much experience.
However, how they carried themselves on Saturday was such a positive note. To hold an offense like Oregon to three points is an impressive feat. On paper, the Ducks are a lot better than they presented themselves. Some people won’t ever recognize that, but it’s true — they got punched in the mouth and never recovered.
The Dawgs gave up 21 first downs, 140 rushing, 173 passing and 313 total yards on Saturday. Oregon ran six more plays than the Dawgs, but that’s okay. This defense didn’t give up a score, which was significant for them.
Oregon went 7-of-15 on third downs, a little under 50%. Georgia needs to get that number down moving forward, but the Ducks have a scrappy offense that sometimes gets creative.
That 140 rushing yard number is a little high for the standard at Georgia, but it’s something that can get under control.
Bo Nix is a scrambling machine, and it wasn’t like one individual ran all over Georgia. The Ducks had three guys rush for 28, 33 and 37 yards — so it was more just spurts of yards and not dominance. The longest run was for 16 yards, and you best believe Smart will have that addressed as well.
The pass rush wasn’t perfect, either. Georgia recorded three tackles for loss, so getting to the quarterback quicker is one of the top priorities moving forward. If the Dawgs can get into the backfield and make plays, the sooner that opponent’s offense will get off the field.
Game 1 is over for the Dawgs, and there is work to do and a ton of potential. Georgia will be just fine on defense in 2022.
Setting realistic expectations with this defense is important because it isn’t 2021, but they will be strong.
2. Georgia OL dominated the trenches
One of the biggest takeaways from Saturday’s game is that offensive line. That group won the trenches and dominated Oregon’s front seven.
The Ducks saw one tackle for loss the entire day, and they pressured Bennett a couple of times, but for the most part, Georgia did what they wanted up front and got so much push.
Georgia recorded 132 rushing yards but had three runs go for 10-plus yards. As a whole, the Dawgs averaged 5.3 yards a carry, which was incredible.
This offensive line also protected Bennett and Carson Beck, giving them plenty of time to throw the ball. There were times Bennett could stand still and have protection — thank you, Stacy Searels.
3. Spreading the wealth isn’t just for the current players on the field
Georgia football had 10 players catch at least one ball on Saturday and had 11 targeted at least once. The Dawgs made sure to spread the ball around to show just how many offensive weapons it has, but also to send a message to future players.
Smart made a point to speak on that in his postgame press conference. He wants future receivers to know they get the ball in a lot of people’s hands. That statement was a direct recruiting pitch to a few highly-touted prospects.
As the saying goes, “always be recruiting,” even after the games. Smart and his offensive staff know what they’re doing. It was also evident that Bryan McClendon has already impacted these receivers because so many of them looked crisper on routes and in their catching ability.
This group was one of the best of the day, and it helped they had a quarterback to do his job.
4. Georgia football rebuilds and reloads.
All offseason, the talk about Georgia football was about how they would replace those 15 players drafted into the NFL.
The Dawgs showed the world on Saturday that there were very few drop-offs. What Smart and his staff are doing on the recruiting trail is a textbook definition of reloading.
Both sides of the ball replaced key players from 2021 with guys ready to step up and do big things. Georgia’s defense has to keep pushing those guys, but it was clear that the Dawgs aren’t playing around, and the talent is still strong.
3. A different kind of mentality in this Georgia football team
The Dawgs came out of the gate on Saturday with an aggressive mindset. Georgia didn’t lay off the gas until the fourth quarter and probably could have hung 50-plus points on Oregon if it wanted to.
However, that aggressive mindset stems back to not getting hunted but that they would do the hunting themselves. Georgia hunted alright, and duck was on the menu Saturday night.
The fire in those Georgia players’ eyes showed through. All four looked ready to take on the next team in the postgame pressers. They were excited about winning the game, but it was already time to focus on Game 2. All of them were impressive to talk with, and it showed this year that it’s all about staying aggressive.
An aggressive mentality for the Bulldogs — it’s a match made in heaven.
Georgia football did its job on Saturday and did it exceptionally well. The Dawgs didn’t break, and they didn’t allow Oregon much momentum. This same mindset needs to stay for next week against Samford and for every game that follows.