Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game: UGA 28 – Auburn 7

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Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game: UGA 28 – Auburn 7

Jake Fromm (11) fires a strike to Mecole Hardman (4) - 2017 SEC Championship, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 -
Jake Fromm (11) fires a strike to Mecole Hardman (4)


Kevin Butler, former University of Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2017 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 28-7 SEC Championship Game win over Auburn on Dec. 2.



The entire Georgia offensive unit, which compiled 421 yards against Auburn’s talented defensive front and controlled the ball for 12 minutes in the final quarter to stymie any Tiger comeback hopes.


“Look at these stats for the season,” said Butler.

#11 in rush offense at 263 yards per game.

#37 in total offense at 433 yards per game. 

#4 in the red zone efficiency at 96%.

#9 in passing efficiency with a 160 rating.

An offensive line that is nominated for the “Joe Moore” award for the best line in America.

Two running backs in the top 61 rushers in college football in Chubb and Michel.

“All of this completes the offensive player of the week for the SEC championship game because it takes a team to win championships and the Dawgs did that in 2017!”


Roquan Smith (3) heads off Tiger RB Kerryon Johnson (21) - 2017 SEC Championship, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 -
Roquan Smith (3) heads off Tiger RB Kerryon Johnson (21)



Georgia’s entire defensive unit, which limited Auburn’s powerful attack to 259 yards and a lone first-quarter touchdown.


“Wow, when you talk about defensive players of the game, well, let’s get started with the Georgia defense,” said Butler.

“It was an entire team effort on defense all year long and this is why:”

The #4 defense in the nation in total defense.

The #12 defense in rushing defense.

The #2 defense in passing yards allowed per game at 158 yards.

#3 in the nation in scoring defense at 13.2 pts. per game.

#4 in the nation in 4th down conversion for defense at 25%

#24 in 3rd down conversions for defense at 33%.

“Roquan Smith is the best defensive player in the nation, and that’s a fact. Teams don’t win championships without powerful defenses and we have one of the best!”


Rodrigo Blankenship - 2017 SEC Championship, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 -
Rodrigo Blankenship



All of Georgia’s special teams players, who took their season-long stellar performance into the championship game against Auburn and, once again, helped spur the Bulldogs to victory.


“This is the hidden factor to championship teams,” said Butler. “This group can make dreams come true and also make those dreams come crashing down. Our special teams play has complemented our offense and defense all year long. The coverage teams have been powerful in every aspect of the kicking game.”

#7 in net punting at 42 yards per punt.

Kickoff coverage has had 60 of 84 kickoffs ended in touchbacks.

#13 in the nation with 3 blocked kicks.

#16 in the nation in kickoff returns averaging 24.62 per return.

88% FG percentage by Rodrigo Blankenship.

“We have flipped the field and protected our leads with great special teams play all year. It might be the biggest improvement of any squad in one year.” 




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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.