Saturday was a perfect day for a letdown by Georgia. Five straight wins, tons of positive press, a defense with injured starters plus a suspended contributor is a recipe for an upset for many teams. The Bulldogs strolled into Nashville and delivered another drubbing. While it’s true that the victory was not as crisp as the previous two outings, especially on defense, the “W” is in the record books and the team learned another lesson in winning.
Sam Pittman’s offensive line was able to impose its will on Vandy (unlike last year) and continued to spring Georgia’s outstanding running backs into open space. When four different running backs tally rushing touchdowns and accumulate over 400 yards on the ground, the offensive line has had one heck of a day.
Vandy’s field is compact. For photographers to change ends of the field at the end of each quarter, they must travel directly through the team areas. While making the trek for the fourth quarter, I overhead one of the Commodore offensive linemen repeatedly telling his teammates, “We don’t quit, We don’t quit… and they did not. Vanderbilt just got outplayed by a superior team and worn down by Georgia’s depth, but they didn’t quit.
The Road Dawgs were out in force again on Saturday. It is alway hard to estimate the fan split just by peering into the stands, but I’m convinced that Georgia fans were in the majority in at Dudley Field. At one point I was shooting from an end zone with A.D. McGarity standing to my side. After scanning the crowd, I said to McGarity, “Georgia sold out Vandy today.” The athletic director responded with a smile, “Sure did.” Kirby prefaced his press conference by acknowledging the importance to the team of the dedication of Dawg Nation. Additionally, the players continued their tradition of celebrating with the throng of Red and Black clad fans who stayed to cheer beyond the final horn.
Did you notice the amount of playing time Ahkil Crumpton (16) got Saturday? For the first time this year, he seemed to be an integral part of the game plan. Crumpton was a late addition as a junior college transfer in the summer. He is of the same mold as Isaiah McKenzie and has stood out to me since I first saw him during Fall Camp. Small like McKenzie, Ahkil has hands like glue and is extremely quick. Now that he appears to have begun to show mastery of the playbook and his blocking assignments, he will be a big-play addition for the offense.
Now it’s back to Athens for another night game. This time, the Missouri Tigers will test the focus for Kirby’s Junkyard Dawgs (with apologies to James Brown). Mizzou has been miserable in 2017. The challenge for Kirby and Company will be to keep the intensity that has characterized the first half of the season. As Smart is fond of saying, “In the SEC, humility is one week away” See you at Sanford!
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