If one only examines the score, Kentucky might seem to fall in the same category as other opponents (Clemson excepted) Georgia has faced this season – an easy victory. Sure, the Dawgs’ roster houses far more talent, but Mark Stoops’ squad believes in themselves and the program’s direction, and it showed. How many of the Dawgs’ opponents could engineer a 12-minute fourth-quarter scoring drive against Dan Lanning’s defense while understanding that the game was effectively over at the end of the third? Only an extremely well-coach team that has bought into the staff’s vision could avoid the let-down of a pending loss and find the fortitude to drive and score as the game clock winds down.
Kentucky is the second-best team in the East, having proven it with a win over Florida to arrive in Athens undefeated. However, despite their successful start (disposing of South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, and LSU), the Wildcats had not played a team remotely close to the Bulldogs’ combination of talent and coaching.
It is no secret that withering defense is the hallmark of the 2021 Georgia team. Still, one should not overlook the play of Todd Monken’s offense and, precisely, the play of relief quarterback Stetson Bennett. Since the injury to starter JT Daniels, Bennett has performed brilliantly, and the Kentucky game was no exception. On Saturday, he padded his stats, completing 14 of 20 for 250 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His completion rate for this season stands at 69.5 percent, up 14 percent from 2020. of equal importance to the outstanding stats is his presence. The team respects his abilities and on-field leadership.
Offensive performance notwithstanding, the story of Georgia Football in 2021 is a tale of defensive excellence. While the defensive backs have played very well, Georgia’s front seven continues to disrupt opponents’ offenses and destroy receiver/quarterback timing. Jordan Davis gets the lion’s share of press, but he has plenty of help from a host of huge and capable defensive linemen, not to mention the linebacker corp.
Have you noticed that offensive coordinators tend to attack the Dawgs with quick-hitting short passes? There is a good reason for that strategy. Any slow-developing pass plays are highly likely to result in 1000-pounds of Bulldogs lineman (plus a linebacker or two) driving the quarterback into the turf. The answer for opponents is to find open lanes for quick-throws and hope for an explosive result. However, the explosion is often delivered when a linebacker or defensive back lights-up the receiver shortly after the ball arrives.
When was the last time watching Georgia Football was this much fun?