Georgia Football: Grading Dawgs performance against Kentucky

ATHENS, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 7: Jamon Dumas-Johnson #10 and Kamari Lassiter #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs sack Devin Leary #13 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the second quarter at Sanford Stadium on October 7, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 7: Jamon Dumas-Johnson #10 and Kamari Lassiter #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs sack Devin Leary #13 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the second quarter at Sanford Stadium on October 7, 2023 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Georgia football beat Kentucky 51-13. The victory made Georgia 6-0, and six wins is good enough for a bowl win. I know many Dawg fans were debating whether Georgia would make a bowl. That was sarcasm, but it is unbelievable that Georgia is at the point where starting  6-0 is just another season. I remember Georgia being 6-0 was a massive deal not too long ago. Georgia has the nation’s longest active Bowl streak with 26, but we can pencil in 27. Georgia is still ten more bowl games away from beating Florida State’s record from 1982-2017, making it 36.

But you should have clicked on this post. You want the grades from Saturday’s game. 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, no team left behind. Alright, let’s get into grades.

Offense: A+

Have I ever handed out an A+ this season? The research team came back to me and told me I had not given an A+. All this season, Georgia fans have complained about the slow starts, and rightfully so. Many of us believed that this offense was capable of much more than what it was doing. Saturday, Georgia scored on six straight drives, kicking two field goals and four touchdowns. Jumping on Kentucky at home was a significant factor in Georgia winning this game. In every game until that point, Georgia allowed teams to stay in the game because their offense wasn’t starting fast.

Another thing that I noticed on Saturday was that Bobo was passing the ball to set up the run. With all those dynamic receivers and tight ends, Georgia’s strength on offense is the passing game. Seeing it at full force finally is relieving to see. This Georgia passing attack could be something we have never seen before, like breaking records. Seeing Georgia as a passing team is odd and uncomfortable for me and probably many of you. It does not feel right, but to win games, that is what the Dawgs have to do.

I know people are talking about Brock Bowers for the Heisman. Bowers should be in the conversation. Bowers again had an incredible game, catching seven times, 132 yards, and one touchdown. But we also need to start talking about Carson Beck for Heisman. Beck was 28-35, with 389 yards passing and four touchdowns. More importantly, Beck has 1,886 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. It is fair that we have the conversation, even though I think Beck will be overlooked.

Last week, I complained about the running game; honestly, I’ve complained every week. However, Saturday was the best it has been all season. The Dawgs ran for 173 yards, and no running back ran for over 50 yards. Daijun Edwards was the lead rusher with 54 on nine carries. It was also good seeing Kendall Milton out there. Milton ran for 47 yards on eight carries and looked explosive. If Milton can stay right, Georgia will have a two-headed monster in the backfield, and this offense can beat you in any way possible.

Lastly, let’s remember the big guys up front. They played the best game they have played all season. They finished blocks, did not give up a sack, and pushed the pile whenever the backs made contact with the defenders. Overall, it was an excellent night for the Georgia offense. The Dawgs can continue this momentum against Vandy next week and go into the bye feeling good about themselves.

Defense: A

Against Auburn, The Georgia defense gave up over 200 yards rushing. In the lead-up to the Kentucky game all last week, many worried that Kentucky would run all over the Dawgs. Ray Davis and the Wildcat’s offense ran all over Flordia for over 300 yards, and this caused the hand-wringing Georgia fans were doing.

Going into the game, I thought the Dawgs would be improved, but I did not know I would see a 2021 performance by the Dawgs! Georgia only allowed 183 yards of total offense and 55 rushing yards. 55! Ray Davis had 59 yards rushing on 15 carries.

Kentucky could not get anything going on offense. The Wildcats only managed to get 13 points. Kentucky only scored off of two drives, one from a turnover in the third quarter. The other scoring for Kentucky was in the first half, when they received most of their yardage from questionable penalties.

The best sight to see, however, was Jamon Dumas-Johnson. Last week, he and the other linebackers were lost. Against Kentucky, they looked great and were all over the field. Hopefully, the linebackers will continue to improve. With Jalen Carter gone, many defensive responsibilities now fall on the linebackers. Overall, it was an excellent night for the Dawgs’ defense; I am sure Kirby Smart will say otherwise to them.

Special Teams: A- 

Everyone gets an A! Special teams as a unit did a great job. Mehki Mews put Georgia in excellent field position multiple times, and Peyton Woodring was money all night. Woodring probably made the biggest kick at the end of the 1st half. Up 31-7 with 4 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, Woodring attempted a 42-yard kick. Woodring made it and gave the Dawgs a 27-point lead going into halftime. That kick ended the ball game. Woodring has had a bounce back since missing the two field goals against South Carolina.

Mews gives the special teams an A- because of the punt he did not field correctly. Kirby Smart seemed pretty upset about it, and so was I. When I give grades out and get upset two days later about a play, that’s points off! However, the special teams unit played well and assisted the Dawgs to victory. That is all you can ask for from special teams.

Overall: A+ 

Just a fantastic game from start to finish. It is finally nice to see Georgia play up to expectations against an SEC opponent, an opponent many thought could upset the Dawgs, which brings me to my last point. Do you find it funny the media made a whole storyline out of Georgia and their slow starts, and now, after that throttling of Kentucky, have nothing to say?

I watched the College Football Final last night, expecting the Dawgs to be 2nd or 3rd in the highlight order. ESPN did not get to the Dawgs until the second commercial break?  The national media wants Georgia to lose so badly. One of my good friends is a Bama guy, went to the school there (something many of their fans cannot say), and I asked him about this. Knowing that Bama has been on the mountaintop so long, I wondered if the media treated Alabama the same way. He said yes and said they are treating Georgia the same way. That’s coming from an Alabama guy! Just wanted to make a point of that for later down the road.

The MVP for the game is Carson Beck. Beck put on a show and proved Georgia can depend on him to win the Dawgs ball games. Beck is a true pocket passer, something the Dawgs have not had since Aaron Murray was in the Red and Black. This is the first time Beck has won the coveted Dawn of the Dawg game MVP. I am sure Beck and his folks back home are excited about winning such an esteemed award!

Overall, the Dawgs played well on Saturday. Let us all hope they continue the momentum into Nashville and crush Vandy. After Vanderbilt, Georgia has a well-deserved bye week, and hopefully, they get some guys back, and we keep this thing rolling. Remember, we are past the halfway point of the CFB season, so enjoy every second of it.

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