One thing about these 2023 Georgia Bulldogs is that they like to keep it interesting, and yesterday’s performance was definitely that. A sunny turned gloomy game day forecast wound up being a perfect way to describe the emotions of Georgia fans as they went from excited to depleted watching their team march into Nashville and take about as many punches as they threw. Missed plays, turnovers, and an injured Brock Bowers ended up being the result instead of what everyone thought was going to be an extended highlight reel. The Dawgs straight up looked out of tune in the Music City yesterday scooting past Vanderbilt to the tune of 37 to 20.
37 to 20 is a solid score to have against a ranked opponent— not Vanderbilt.
If you were hoping to see some momentum carry over from the prior week’s 51 to 13 victory over Kentucky, you were disappointed. Unlike Kentucky, Georgia did not dominate this game.
It wasn’t any one guy’s fault, but the guy who’ll probably take the most heat was the same guy who everyone had on a pedestal last week: Carson Beck.
He didn’t have the best day. It also wasn’t the worst. Throwing 29 of 39 for 269 yards and a touchdown definitely isn’t all too bad, but there were some decisions that left head coach Kirby Smart “frustrated” to say the least. For one Beck was without his star receiver, Brock Bowers, for over half of the game. Bowers was injured after he was featured on a run play but was able to get up and walk off the field under his own power. The X-rays indicate an ankle sprain, and luckily it doesn’t look too bad, but it was another injury nonetheless.
Second, Beck’s decision making took a big toll on the team. He was sacked twice and threw an interception (almost pick six) that led to a Vanderbilt touchdown, but as mentioned earlier it was a team effort. Beck’s performance can definitely be credited to more pressure let up by the offensive line, but the offensive line had to scramble and field true freshman Monroe Freeling because Xavier Truss went down with an ankle injury. Bowers and Truss’ injuries, in addition to a couple of other guys, gave the Dawgs plenty to worry about and made the upcoming bye week– and the rest that came with it– all the more valuable.
On the brighter side of things, the running game looked like it was coming together with multiple runners going for over 50 yards. Daijun Edwards led the group with an astounding 147 yards off of 20 carries, a long-run of 62 yards, and to top it all off, a touchdown too. Edwards, with Kendall Milton and Cash Jones were a three-headed beast out of the backfield offering a consistent and efficient option for the offense to lean on.
This definitely wasn’t the Vanderbilt game anyone expected. In years past it’s looked so easy, but that was then and this is now. As the players say this outing has given plenty for the team to “go to the doctor” about come Monday, and luckily they have extra time because of the bye week to make it happen. These Dawgs may not be the Dawgs we were expecting, but they’re doing exactly what Coach Smart said they were capable of doing: taking a punch and throwing a punch.
The Georgia Bulldogs won and advanced in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores and now look forward to a much needed bye week as they tend to their wounds.