What Went Well
Greyson Lambert – I could call out the entire offense as the Dawgs moved the ball and scored at will on the Gamecock defense, but I have to highlight the play of the signal caller. You don’t complete 96% of your passes against a defense of air much less on national television against an SEC defense. Even his incompletion was a good play where he threw the ball where either Blazevich catches it or nobody gets it. He got the team into the right plays and just dissected the South Carolina defense like Aaron Murray in the 2013 game. Once it was apparent that South Carolina couldn’t stop the passing game, the outcome of the game was not in doubt. It was only a matter of whether the Dawgs would pass the 50-point barrier.
Jake Ganus – The UAB transfer played big against the South Carolina running game and was pretty good in coverage. He led the team with 7 total tackles and is becoming the quarterback of the defense. He’s playing like he’s an extension of Coach Pruitt on the field. All of that and he got engaged at midfield after the game. While I’m sure he misses his former teammates in Birmingham, I’m sure he’s grateful to play in front of the DawgNation who is appreciating his high level of play. Keep it up, and he may end up as defensive team captain at year’s end.
The Receiving Corps – You don’t have the game Lambert did without a lot of help from your friends. Malcolm Mitchell is a different player than he was before his injury. He’s powerful and difficult to bring down and still has the burst and wiggle he did earlier in his career. Sony Michel had 2 TDs receiving including one that will be on the Georgia highlight film as early as this Saturday with his juke and truck TD. The flat pass to Quayvon is back in the Georgia arsenal. Blazevich, Rome, and Harris were all involved in the passing game. Finally, it’s only a matter of time before Terry Godwin scores his first TD in a Georgia uniform. Excellent work, team.
The Bulldog Nation – Sanford was electric on Saturday night with an early arriving crowd at full throat for kickoff. I love the red-out or “paint Sanford red” games. Generally, I love late afternoon/night games regardless of whom we play. Last night was what a home field advantage looks and, more importantly, sounds like. On offense, you thought you were in a cathedral until the ball was snapped. On defense, you could barely hear yourself think. Maybe that’s why my voice didn’t fully come back until about 3:00 today.
On offense, nothing. I’m not even going to pick apart the performance of the Dawgs’ offense. When you only face 4 third down situations in a game and one was during mop up time, you’re doing something right.
Option Defense – The Georgia defense struggled with the zone read especially with Nunez in the game. The two TD possessions were a lot of spread option concepts especially triple option looks. The defense inconsistently set the edge against the Gamecock offense. I didn’t understand why Spurrier didn’t just stay with it to try to shorten the game and give his defense a break. Pruitt needs to get this fixed because we’re going to see a lot of spread option/zone read between now and Thanksgiving weekend.
Kickoff Coverage – It was not at its best on Saturday night and a couple of times was downright awful. The long return at the end of the half gave the Gamecocks a lift heading to the locker room, but, thankfully, the Georgia offense didn’t allow any of it to carry over into the 2nd half. Another piece that needs to be fixed before Alabama shows up in two weeks.
Player of the Game
I haven’t watched a replay of the game, but I have to give my player of the game to the Georgia offensive line. Lambert, Michel, Chubb, and the skill players were great on Saturday, but none of that was possible without the play of the offensive line. These guys pushed the South Carolina defense around all night as the Dawgs generated 576 yards of total offense and points by the bunches.
Offense – A+
It was close to perfect. Great balance, excellent work in the red zone, and just absolutely dominant. We could have scored 60+ if we had tried. Spurrier probably would have with the advantage we had against his defense, but that goes to show the class of Coach Richt. The pupil, Brian Schottenheimer, schooled the master on Saturday night.
Defense – A-
The Georgia defense did a great job just clamping down on an anemic Gamecock passing game. Other than the two drives where South Carolina scored TDs, the defense was solid all night long. I had to drop this grade a bit due to the difficulty dealing with the option and the zone read. These guys are fun to watch when they play like they did on Saturday night.
Coaching – A
Richt never let up and never took the foot off the gas until the first digit on the score was a 5. Schottenheimer showed why he was an NFL offensive coordinator for 9 years before coming to Georgia. Pruitt has put his fingerprint on the defense (and the program), and that intensity showed in all phases of the game on Saturday night. It may have been easy to look at the film and think we could win without our best. Richt and his staff refused to let that happen. The result has to be scary for all of our future opponents.
Overall – A
While the media downplays South Carolina, we all know Spurrier has had Georgia’s number since 1990 especially the last 5 years. To put a whipping on the Evil Genius like this required the team and the coaches to focus on one thing and one thing only: Excellence. We got it, and Bulldog Public Enemy #1 got taken behind the woodshed for an old-fashioned whipping.
Look Ahead to Southern
The game will not be in doubt as Southern comes to Georgia for the first time. The question is how long will the starters stay in the game and whether Richt allows Chubb to stay in long enough to keep his 100 yard streak alive. I want to see the Keith Marshall windmill on Saturday afternoon. If that happens, I’m happy. Otherwise, it’s a tune-up for the showdown on October 3 with the Crimson Tide. Finally, make sure you stay in your seats for halftime. I understand the Southern band, The Human Jukebox, is a sight to behold. I can’t wait to see and hear them.
Those are my thoughts. I would love to read yours in the comments below.