The Bulldogs had yet another tough hard fought game that ended with a less than favorable outcome. Although they seemed to be in control for most of the game, it was one of their worst games this season. The offense, defense, and special teams all had some sort of struggle, in my opinion.
Starting with positives, The Bulldogs running game was on point for the vast majority of the game and that can be attributed to the offensive line doing a fine job of opening up holes for the running backs. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb both had monster days and seemed to be able to run at will on must rushing attempts against the Yellow Jackets defense. Michel finished the day with 170 rushing yards on 19 carries with one touchdown and Chubb totaled up 88 yards on 22 carries with one touchdown, as well. With such a dominant performance from the Bulldogs running game, they seemed to have the game under control but they received very little help from their passing game.
Jacob Eason struggled mightily against Georgia Tech, but his struggles were masked by the Bulldogs great running game for most of the game. Eason finished his day 14/27 with 139 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Eason’s inability to make throws for the Bulldogs kept them from running a balanced offense, which Kirby Smart strives for in each and every game. Only one interception was truly Eason’s fault as the second one came on a less second Hail Mary throw that was well short of the end zone. However, the one interception that should be credited to Eason, which was thrown behind Terry Godwin, proved to be the most costly play of the game as it set up the Yellow Jackets in the Bulldogs territory and eventually led to a touchdown. Eason must continue to improve his accuracy and decision-making if he wants to be an elite SEC quarterback.
The Bulldogs defense played very poorly against Georgia Tech and their biggest struggles came through the air. However, they also struggled to stop the run in the later portions of the game and that proved to be their ultimate downfall. They gave up 229 yards on the ground against the Yellow Jackets triple option attack and all four of their touchdowns came on runs. Georgia Tech just continued to pound it and pound it and eventually it got to the point where they would gain three to four yards on every carry. Stopping the run and putting the Yellow Jackets in passing situations is always a huge key in having success against them and it worked in the earlier portions of the game.
However, the Bulldogs did not have their best day defending the pass against a quarterback who is not one of the best passers that they have faced this season.
Justin Thomas finished the day 6/10 with 164 yards and one interception. Every time the Bulldogs put Thomas in the position of needing to throw for a first down, he seemed to always be able to find an open guy and keep the drive alive. This was most surprising because you expect a quarterback like Thomas to beat you with his legs, not his arm.
However, one major difference in this game in comparison with last week’s game is that the Bulldogs did not win the turnover battle. The Bulldogs defense struggled late last week as well against Louisiana-Lafayette, but they were able to cause several turnovers and put their offense in great positions to score. However, in this game, the turnover margin was zero because each team forced two and this definitely played a role in the Bulldogs loss.
Although the Bulldogs did not have many opportunities to make plays in the kickoff, kick return, and punt return game, special teams still had a major role in the area of field goal kicking. Rodrigo Blankenship is starting to cool off from his hot streak as he missed his first kick of the day, which was a 42-yard field goal that went wide left and which was the difference between a Georgia win and Georgia loss. Pinning all the blame on one player is unthinkable because there were many facets of the game that broke down for the Bulldogs, but Blankenship’s missed field goal was most definitely important. On a more positive note, William Ham handled kickoff duties this game and went 4/6 on touchbacks, which prevented Tech from having any long returns.
Overall, This game seemed to be pretty similar to many of the Bulldogs other losses, in that it felt as if they had the game won and were outplaying their opponent, but simply they did not put enough points on the board for the victory. As the Bulldogs regular season comes to an end, they will have to reflect on some of these games so that they can make the necessary adjustments to improve for not only their bowl game but also for next season.