Georgia Football: Report cards for Week 3 game against South Carolina

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 16: Dillon Bell #86 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes a move during a game between South Carolina Gamecocks and Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 16: Dillon Bell #86 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes a move during a game between South Carolina Gamecocks and Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Georgia football played its first SEC game of the season. Many have differing opinions on the fact of how Georgia played. Some say it was not great; others say they played well. This is why Dawn Of The Dawg is here to help! If you are a frequent reader of the blog, bless your heart. If you are not, we give out grades for each phase of the game each Monday. That is offense, defense, and special teams. It has gotten heated over the grading scale, but we do not use the letter D. I believe in the Fulton County Schools System grading scale, where no children are left behind, and D’s are not given out. Okay, let’s get into the grades, and remember, if you disagree with my grade, go on the Facebook page and tell me why.

Offense C+: 

This will probably be the most controversial grade I give out. Many Georgia fans would give the offense a big fat F, but to me, that is overreacting to a weird first half. I would agree if the offense kept doing what it was in the first half. But whatever happened during halftime, the offense looked completely different in the second half. Carson Beck was 27-35 in attempts and threw for 269 yards. The only complaint Georgia fans have is that he did not throw for a touchdown. Beck will only get better as the season continues, which is really exciting for the Georgia offense.

I and many Georgia fans have worried about the running back room. With the injuries, it is thin and has a ton of inexperience. But yesterday, Daijun Edwards showed the coaching staff and the fans why he deserves to be back #1. The Georgia offense looked completely different with him in the backfield. I do not know what it’s, but Georgia needs a tough downhill runner that will run over people. Edwards is that guy.

Edwards ran for 118 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown. Another positive about the offense is that Beck is spreading the ball around. Three receivers had six or more receptions and six receivers recorded a catch. The offense has a ton of promise, but the slow start is the reason for the C+. If the offense scored two touchdowns in the first half and did not get bogged down in the red zone, this game would not have felt like it did. Also, we wouldn’t be talking about it. I believe this Georgia offense will improve with time; we will find out soon enough.

Defense A- :

The first half did not look great. Missed tackles and wide receivers being wide-open. It was troublesome, to say the least. Then, in the second half, the defense looked like the defense we expect to see. Not only did Georgia not give up another score, but South Carolina’s offense only passed the 50-yard line once. Do you want to talk about dominating? Georgia’s defense did dominate in the second half. Moreover, the defense only gave up 309 yards. Three hundred nine yards in today’s game is playing lights-out defense.

After that glowing review, you might wonder why the defense got an A- instead of an A+. Two things: the first half was iffy, to say the least. It wasn’t up to the standard the defense plays with. Next was Georgia’s pass rushing was getting stopped by South Carolina’s o-line. An offensive line that gave up nine sacks to North Carolina. Not great, but in the second half, Georgia’s pressure on Rattler started getting home. Even though Georgia only had three sacks Saturday, the pressure worked against Rattler, and he was much more inaccurate.

I thought the linebackers and the D-lineman played well throughout the game. But the injury to Javon Bullard showed how important he is to the defense. David Daniel looked hesitant at times. Now, throughout the game, Daniel played better. Furthermore, Daylen Evervtte, early in the game, was also playing hesitant. However, Georgia’s defensive backfield is something not to worry about. They will be okay. Malaki Starks, Kamari Lassiter, and Tykee Smith played lights out. Georgia’s secondary is among the best in the SEC and maybe the best in all of CFB. Georgia football’s defense leaves with an A-, but I would not be shocked if they get more A’s throughout the season.

Special Teams F: 

Oh boy! Georgia has a problem with kickers. It was terrible from the start for the kicking game on Saturday. The opening kickoff goes out of bounds, and South Carolina gets the ball on the 35-yard line! That was bad mojo to start with. Then Peyton Woodring missed two very make-able field goals? What is happening? I’m not the guy who will berate a college kid, even though I am a few months removed from graduating. But Woodring either has a bad case of the yips or something mechanical wrong with his kicks. I am no kicking expert; I do not even know how to kick a football, But something is wrong. Kirby Smart said that Woodring does not miss kicks in practice, which makes me speculate that it must be mental.

I am sure kicking in front of 93,000 people is pressure-packed, but you have to make your kicks. It’s the equivalent of free throws in basketball. Some guys can make 100 free throws without missing in practice, but they cannot make a single shot when it comes to games. So, I would not be shocked if we see Jared Zirkel kick some field goals against UAB. Georgia has to be able to get free points. Field goals should be free points.

Thinking about the kicking game makes me nervous. I just think about being in Jordan-Hare in two weeks, and our kicker misses the first field goal attempt of the game, and the Auburn crowd goes nuts. Want to talk about being worried; I will be worried about that. So, the kicker has to be figured out. Kickoff and punt return could have saved Georgia from an F on special teams. But they did nothing special. I’m not sure if Georgia got a single-yard from returning kicks. Overall, the special teams had a terrible day; hopefully, it improves as the season progresses.

The player of the game goes to Edwards. It’s easy to give it to Edwards. The Georgia offense just looks better when he is running the ball. Even last year, he gave the Dawgs the spark they needed on offense. I believe Edwards deserves to be the feature tailback of this Georgia football team.

With Milton being hurt again with an MCL injury, it looks like Edwards will get the ball a ton in the next few weeks. It also looks like Cash “Money” Jones will get a ton of carries as well. I would not be shocked if Dillion Bell became Georgia’s version of Deebo Samuel (who?). But anyway, Edwards is the player of the game for the South Carolina game. Not only did he run the ball hard and change the offense, but he is just a different runner than anything the Dawgs have. Those jump cuts Edwards does is a thing of beauty.

Overall, the Dawgs played decently. I would give the Dawgs a B- for overall performance. It was not bad, but it was not great either. Hopefully, the team will improve by the time Georgia gets to Auburn. Only time will tell. If they do not improve, the Dawgs will be due for a loss.

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