It is time to give report cards for Georgia football. The Dawgs performance against the Auburn Tigers was received with mixed reviews. After two days to re-watch the game and digest it more, I have come down from where I was yesterday. It could be the emotions from the games, but I will admit I am a negative thinker. I wish I could be a glass-half-full guy. I am not that person and get significantly down on the Dawgs. Some say I care too much; others say I am passionate.
So, after re-watching the game, I found a lot of positives. Georgia showed us the elite trait: coming from behind and gutting out a road win. Jordan-Hare is difficult to play; I’ll give the Dawgs credit there. We will get into three phases of the game: negatives and positives; there were a lot. But let’s remember we grade here on Dawn of The Dawg on the Fulton County School System scale. There are no D’s, there are only F’s. No Child and, for that matter, the team left behind. Alright, let’s get into grades.
It was not great for the Dawgs at the start of the game. An interception and being down by 10 is never a great start. Climbing out of a 10-0 hole is hard enough, but it is a rivalry game in a hostile environment, making it even harder. But the offense responded and got out of it, and they kept getting out of holes until the start of the 4th when the Dawgs finally took the lead.
Honestly, I would have given the offense a C if not for the two drives where they went for over 90 yards and scored. That, within itself, bumped the Dawgs’ offense up to a B for me. That showed guts; we can depend on this offense when it matters most. But it was not pretty B. It is one of those B’s you get in school because you got a bonus question right, and the teacher gave 5 points extra if you did a project.
The run game was just not there. I cannot blame the running backs this time. I have to blame my guys up front: the offensive line. The O-line just did not play well as a unit. We could call guys out for their poor play, but I won’t do that. The unit as a whole failed multiple times to create a push. Auburn’s front is a good group, but not great. I watch the Aggies the week before run all over them. Georgia did not do that.
Georgia’s O-line got outmanned in the run game. Not many of the readers of this blog know what it is like to be a lineman. The ones who do understand what I am about to say. Run blocking is about want-to. It is all about toughness and wanting to be nasty. There is no better feeling in the world than coming from a down block and crushing the D-lineman. Georgia did none of that Saturday. They were pushed back multiple times. That concerns me as a fan for the rest of the season. But it was not all negatives. The O-line held up well In the pass protection.
Carson Beck and Brock Bowers played well, saving the Dawgs from a loss. Also, it was great seeing Ladd McConkey out there. If this Georgia offense can get healthy, it will be one of the better units in football. So, the Dawgs continue to get healthy, and the McConkey keeps making an impact.
While in the first part of the blog, I wrote there were positives, I could not find any positives for the defense. I may be too harsh on the defense. Maybe it’s because I have higher expectations for a Kirby Smart defense, but they probably played their worst game all season. Auburn offense was one-dimensional all season, and they were on Saturday. The Dawgs could not stop the run game to save their lives. Auburn had over 200 yards rushing in the game and was under the 100-yard mark once again against a P5 school.
Thankfully, they could not throw the ball, or this blog would be grading a loss. At the beginning of the season, I wrote multiple teams about how the defense was taking bad angles and not tackling well. I kept saying that it would improve as the season went along. It did for the last two weeks. But against Auburn, the problems showed up again. Furthermore, Georgia had zero outside contain and could not set an edge to bottle-neck the outside run. It was just not a good day for the defense.
The defense was solid on 3rd down, but I am unsure if that is because of Auburn or Georgia. But I’ll take it. I also know that Hugh Freeze was calling plays, and Auburn did things Saturday they have not done all year. But there is no excuse for allowing a team to run over 200 yards on you. The eyes of the linebackers were very poor Saturday, and they kept getting sucked into the middle of the field.
The entire defense has to play better against Kentucky, or Georgia will get beat. It is that simple. Daylen Everette played well, and so did Javon Bullard and Malaki Starks. Hopefully, the defense keeps getting healthy and will stay healthy and improve next week. But as of right now, I am worried about our defense. Hopefully, I am proven wrong about I do not think this defense is as good as we all thought it would be.
Special Teams: B
Look at Peyton Woodring! Look at him! What a bounce-back performance for my guy! Two extremely clutch kicks by Woodring Saturday, when the Dawgs needed him the most. Kickers are strange creatures, and for a while there, I thought Georgia might not have one. But on the road in a hostile environment, Woodring delivered. Brett Thorson had a great game punting and pinned Auburn back a few times when Georgia needed it.
The kicking game for Georgia on Saturday was superb, and I won’t complain. Mews had a decent game returning the ball, though I tense up every time he runs with the ball. I am gunshy from the fumble he had. But overall, I thought special teams played well. Honestly, they did not hurt Georgia’s chances of winning, and that is all you can ask in special teams at this level of football. Definitely had a bounce-back game from last week.
Overall, I would give the Dawgs a B for this game. It was not great, but the issue could be fixed up. I would give out a C, but given that they pulled this one out, being on the road for the first time all season, I’ll bump them to a B. It was not great, but it got the job done.
Should I even say who the Player of The Game is? We all know it was Brock Bowers, AKA Superman. Bowers had eight receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown. A touchdown that sealed the deal. Not only that, but he had two one-handed catches in a row that were just crazy. Bowers should be in NYC at the end of the year; I do not know if a tight end would ever get the honor of going. Bowers is the best college football player in the country, and if you disagree, argue with a wall. The Dawgs pull a win out and get a B because of that.
Hopefully, next week, when report cards come out the following Monday, they have an A+. They are going to need it to beat Kentucky.