Georgia Football: Grading Dawgs performance against Vandy

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 14: Kirby Smart talks to Carson Beck #15 of the Georgia Bulldogs on the sidelines against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second half at FirstBank Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 14: Kirby Smart talks to Carson Beck #15 of the Georgia Bulldogs on the sidelines against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second half at FirstBank Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images) /

Georgia football beat Vanderbilt 37-20. The victory made the Dawgs 7-0, going into the bye week. While the Dawgs are hurt by the news of injuries, being 7-0 should be celebrated. They are going into the bye week undefeated and the top-ranked team in the country! If you read social media, you would think the Dawgs are 5-2 limping to the finish line. 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: B

How could I give the offense a B when they never were forced to punt the ball? The Dawgs did not kick the ball against the Dores, which usually means success. Well, two turnovers are the reason the offense gets a B. The turnover on the first drive of the game and the interception late in the 2nd half made this game look closer than it was. For some reason, the Dawgs offense loves to turn the ball over when playing lesser opponents. The turnovers must stop, given the stretch of games to end the season the Dawgs must go through. Thankfully, Vandy is inept and could not cash in on the first turnover. If Dores got that field goal, Georgia would have been down 10-0 to start the game. But they did not, so we won’t waste more time on it.

Carson Beck had another great game, throwing it for 261 yards and completing 29 of his 39 passing attempts. Beck did throw for a touchdown as well. Other than the interception late in the 4th quarter, Beck played well. The interception was not entirely Beck’s fault, as the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Daijun Edwards played another great game, toting the rock. Edwards carried the ball 20 times for 146 yards and one touchdown. The more he plays, the more I am convinced Edwards is Goergia’s number-one back.

Georgia’s offense played well but did get bogged down in the red zone. If Georgia did not kick three field goals, there wouldn’t be so much negativity going into the bye week. The one thing I would like to see from this Georgia offense is success in the red zone. Smart said in his post-game presser that the ratio of touchdowns to field goals is not what he wants. Georgia needs to score more touchdowns in the next four games. If they don’t, the Dawgs will likely drop a game. Overall, it was a good game by the offense, but not great.

Defense: C

This year’s defense is different from what it has been in the past few years. Georgia fans have grown accustomed to having an elite defense they can depend on to win the game for them. This year, however, the Dawgs are relying more on the offense to win games. It’s weird seeing it, but it is our reality. On the positive side, Georgia’s defense only gave up 219 yards, which is excellent. Most of those yards were through the air. Vandy only ran the ball for 18 yards. Here is the negative: Vandy only got 219 yards; they did it on 43 plays. That is 5 yards per play. This means that Georgia is giving up chunk yards. Not great.

The front seven played fine on Saturday, but the cornerbacks probably had their worst game all season. I am unsure if Smart and the defensive staff were trying new things, but the corners played differently from the rest of the season. Vandy’s wideouts were given a ton of cushion, and it seemed like guys were getting open in the middle of the field. I know more about offensive than defensive football, but the defense has often been leaky this year.

Overall, the defense played fine. But it has not been elite like many of us thought it would be. At times, this year’s defense has been smothering IE Kentucky, but overall, it has been average. With Flordia in two weeks, the Dawgs defense plays better.

Special teams: B

Peyton Woodring has been money for the Dawgs as of late. I don’t know what was going on with him to start the year, but the guy has come up clutch for the Dawgs several times in the past few games. This game would have been a little tighter if not for Woodring. So that is why the special teams get a B. Mehki Mews would be the reason why the special teams would get a C. Whenever the guy fields a punt, I tense up, thinking he will muff or fumble the ball. It happened again Saturday when Mews muffed a punt, and luckily, he fell on the ball. If Mews fix the fumbles and muff punts, the Dawgs would have another weapon. Hopefully, over the bye week, they work on it. I could see it being an issue down the road.

Overall: B- 

Look, a win is a win. They do not give you extra points for blowing teams out. But Georgia had many opportunities to make this score lopsided. There was never a doubt Georgia would lose to Vanderbilt, but I wanted to see better execution. Sloppy play on the road in the SEC will cost the Dawgs a game; thankfully, the only two games on the road have been Auburn and Vanderbilt. But if the Dawgs play this sloppy again against Florida or Tennessee, the Dawgs could be in for a long game. The player of the game goes to Daijun Edwards. Edwards ran for 146 yards and one touchdown. Georgia needs to run the ball effectively, with Brock Bowers injured for the next few weeks. So, Edwards doing what he did against Vandy is a positive sign. Hopefully, that trend continues, and Edwards keeps running all over defenses. More importantly, the Dawgs take this bye week to get healthy and plan on demolishing the Gators.

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