Georgia football: 5 useful takeaways from the Week 5 victory

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 01: Darnell Washington #0 of the Georgia Bulldogs leaps while running the ball against Ty'Ron Hopper #8 and Kris Abrams-Draine #14 of the Missouri Tigers during the second half at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2022 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 01: Darnell Washington #0 of the Georgia Bulldogs leaps while running the ball against Ty'Ron Hopper #8 and Kris Abrams-Draine #14 of the Missouri Tigers during the second half at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2022 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images) /

Georgia football struggled against Missouri on Saturday, but most of it was self-inflicted and not necessarily because the Tigers were better. In this game, many Georgia fans got heart palpitations, but at the same time, it wasn’t as bad as it felt. The Dawgs put up some serious numbers and scored when it mattered.

A win is a win; Georgia fans need to remember that because the Dawgs won’t blow out every opponent. The championship-caliber teams are the ones that find ways to win at whatever cost it takes, and Georgia did that on Saturday night.

Missouri came to play and did a great job scheming against the Dawgs, and the Tigers had absolutely nothing to lose. However, the Dawgs had everything to lose, so there was a lot of momentum that Missouri used to its advantage.

This game was a tale of two halves, and thankfully the Dawgs won the second half to stay undefeated on the season. Sometimes doing whatever it takes to win a game and making that happen is what has to happen to win a championship. Blowouts are something no one should get used to because it’s too high of a standard.

Five takeaways from the Georgia football win over Missouri

Before we get into the takeaways, here are the basic stats to know about the Week 5 game for the Dawgs. Georgia collected 481 total yards on offense and gave up 294 yards on defense.

On the ground, Georgia rushed for 169 yards, and both of its touchdowns came from the rush attack. The Dawgs averaged 4.7 yards a touch, so that wasn’t great, but not terrible either. Missouri rushed for 102 yards and averaged 4.9 yards a touch.

Through the air, Georgia threw for 312 yards, and the Tigers threw for192 yards. The Dawgs collected 28 first downs to Missouri’s 14. Georgia also held the ball 34:48 compared to Missouri’s 25:12 time of possession.

The Dawgs did a great job putting up some strong numbers, but settling for field goals will never be the right move, especially the deeper we get into this season.

Now that we’ve seen the basic stats, here are five in-depth takeaways from the Dawgs’ fifth victory.

5. Georgia football saw Stetson Bennett find a way even when he wasn’t his best.

Georgia fans were ready to fire starting quarterback Stetson Bennett after his first-half performance against Missouri, but the Mailman got the job done. He made the plays he needed to in the second half to be able to punch it in the endzone, and despite the bad throws all night long, he still found ways to make plays.

Bennett went 24-of-44 for 312 yards, which marks the fifth straight game of him recording at least 250 yards in a game. He didn’t score himself, but it wasn’t about him tonight. This team had to find a way to win, and Bennett did his part to make that happen. Bennett completed 54 percent of his passes, which is the worst performance Georgia has seen out of him this year, but give Missouri credit — they were in his face the entire game.

Those passes he made in the fourth quarter were the Bennett we have all gotten used to having run this offense, but man, that first half was highly frustrating. Maybe he is hurt, and it isn’t public yet? Whatever it is, Bennett has to figure out how to fix it.

We still think he made the plays or got the ball in the hands of the right guy to win, and it’s time to stop trying to fire him because the Mailman is here to stay.

4. Georgia football saw its defense improve and make adjustments

Georgia’s defense gave up over 100 yards for the first time since the Oregon game. However, the Dawgs did force five field goals on the day, and if it weren’t for a few dropped interceptions, this game could have gotten ugly. The secondary got exposed a bit, but these things are fixable because growth continues to happen.

This defense as a whole has grown. Jamon Dumas-Johnson grew up overnight and was a leader in this game. He led the team with eight total tackles — seven solo ones. He had one tackle for loss and one pass breakup. However, Dumas-Johnson was also the guy that rallied the troops and helped them get the stops they needed.

Malaki Starks was the second leading tackler with six total. He also had one pass breakup. His stop on that long run was huge for the Dawgs, and it was one of the biggest turning points of the ballgame. Without him making that stop, this game could have gone another way.

Georgia recorded two sacks and six tackles for a loss, so it wasn’t a terrible day, but it was an okay performance. This group grows each game, and they continue to make adjustments. Georgia made those adjustments at halftime, and while the Tigers were able to kick long field goals, the Dawgs only gave up one touchdown on the night.

This group has potential, and they are going through some growing pains right now and will keep going through them now that Jalen Carter is out with a knee injury. Georgia’s defense is talented but young, and the last two weeks have proven that, but they are getting better.

3. Georgia football has got to stop with the self-inflicting wounds

The Dawgs turned the ball over twice in the first half, which made Georgia fans immediately think of the Kent State game. Georgia has got to figure out how to tighten up, or those mistakes will come back to haunt them. There were more dropped passes, and of course, Bennett couldn’t connect the puzzle pieces together.

Georgia has got to refocus and stop listening to outside noise. If the Dawgs can do that, success will follow. Hopefully, this game will be a big enough wake-up call to keep them in contention.

2. Georgia football needs to work on its offensive line

The Dawgs’ offensive line was the biggest weakness of the day. However, Missouri literally threw everything at Georgia but the kitchen sink. To give up nine tackles for a loss is unacceptable from this unit because it’s their job to protect Bennett and the others.

However, that number is high compared to the first four games of the season, so maybe it was because Missouri blitzed no matter what and didn’t care if a bust happened. Bennett got sacked twice and barely had time to do anything. The run game suffered, and it was evident that the rotating didn’t help. By the time the Dawgs wore down Missouri’s front seven, it was too late to really establish a run game.

Plain and simple, Georgia got beat up front, which is unacceptable. Protect Bennett, and the Dawgs’ offense will rumble. It’s time to figure out the best group and let them grow.

1. Georgia football must feed Darnell Washington more

The last takeaway from this game is to feed Darnell Washington as much as possible. He recorded three catches for 64 yards but got 24 of those yards after the catch. Washington stepped on a man’s head, and when another defender hit him, that guy bounced off him like a rubber ball.

He continues to block at an elite level, and that was one of the biggest things from Saturday. Washington helped make plays happen with his blocking ability. There were so many times that I noticed Washington blocking and then the actual play.

Washington needs to get more touches, and it seems like that is in the works. If they move him around and keep utilizing him, Georgia will have a weapon no opponent can stop, which is what the Dawgs need.

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Georgia football got the victory, and that is what matters in this ballgame. Who cares that the Dawgs didn’t cover the spread and didn’t blow out Missouri? The Dawgs won the fight and came out bloody but on top. This game looked messy because Georgia made too many mistakes, not because Missouri looked good.

If the Dawgs can clean it up, the success will continue, and they should stay undefeated.