An exciting, even electric, atmosphere in Charlotte was the backdrop for an old-fashioned defensive battle. When has Clemson been held to a total of two rushing yards?
The thing that struck me from the beginning of the game was the play of the Dawgs defensive front. I mentioned Clemson’s two net rushing yards and the main reason for the minuscule total. Uiagalelei had negative 22 yards in sacks. Georgia’s defensive front hounded him consistently; several other plays did not result in sacks, but that presser from the middle seemed to keep the Clemson quarterback off his game. In my opinion, the Duke’s Mayo Classic game was as good a performance as I can remember from a Georgia defense. Tight coverage caused the quarterback to use far more time than he would have liked, but the real key was that unremitting pressure. It seemed that Uiagalelei became less settled in the pocket, and by the second half, I would describe him as harried.
Switching to the offensive line, There were some issues, but they did what they needed to do to keep JT Daniels in one piece in the face of the vaunted Clemson defensive line. The payoff for the offensive big guys was Georgia’s last possession. The bottom line is that the Dawgs line took the ball and rammed it down the Tigers’ throat, killing the clock.
How many pundits predicted a low-scoring defensive battle? It seemed more than half of the national media saw this game as a win for Clemson. Most thought we would see if UGA’s ostensibly modernized offense would be able to stay in the game with Clemson and envisioned the answer to be a big, No!
I guess defense can still win games, even though national sports media continually trumpet offense as the new defense. Kirby Smart and Company dramatically called a halt to that train of thought Saturday night.
I was impressed.