Offense Steals Thunder as Unbeaten Bulldogs Sink the Commodores

Home >

Offense Steals Thunder as Unbeaten Bulldogs Sink the Commodores

The Georgia O-line opens up a big hole for running back Nick Chubb (27)  -  First half of UGA vs. Vanderbilt -  Saturday, October 7, 2017
The Georgia O-line opens up a big hole for running back Nick Chubb (27)
– First half of UGA vs. Vanderbilt –
Saturday, October 7, 2017

Well, there’s no question that the play of the Georgia offense has been overshadowed for much of this football season by the Bulldogs’ spectacular defensive unit.
But not this day, not Saturday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn. when Jim Chaney’s UGA offense rolled up 549  total yards against an outmanned Vanderbilt defense and sparked the unbeaten and 5th-ranked Bulldogs to a 45-14 spanking of the Commodores. With the twin terror seniors, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, running for 150 and 138 yards, respectively, and freshman Jake Fromm continuing to make big plays while passing for 102 yards and two touchdowns and reeling off read-option runs of 16, 7 and 19 yards, the Bulldogs went up and down the field, much to the delight of the thousands of fans in red who took over Vanderbilt Stadium. Clearly, the UGA O-line rendered its finest performance in many games as the Bulldogs romped for 423 yards on the ground … the sixth-best total in school history and the most rushing yards since 1987.
Next up for the 6-0 Dawgs will be the Missouri Tigers this coming Saturday night in the annual Homecoming tilt at Sanford Stadium. Georgia will be a heavy favorite over the struggling Tigers and, barring a complete letdown, should roar into Jacksonville unblemished, following the Oct. 21 open date.
And again, the Georgia defense wasn’t too shabby either. After allowing its first touchdown in three games and 31 consecutive drives by the opposing offense, in the final moments of the first half, the Bulldogs almost fashioned a goal-line stand in the final quarter after the ‘Dores got the ball at the Georgia 1.  Vanderbilt was set up for its second score when Jacob Eason, seeing his first action of the day, was hit from the blind side, fumbled and nose tackle Nifae Lealao scooped the ball up and rambled to the 1. Still, it took the Commodores four plays to get it in as, after being pushed back to the 4-yard line, Kyle Shumur hit C.J. Duncan for the touchdown. That only made it 45-14 with 9:08 to play.

Dandre Baker (18) tackles the Vandy ball carrier  -  First half of UGA vs. Vanderbilt -  Saturday, October 7, 2017
Dandre Baker (18) tackles the Vandy ball carrier
– First half of UGA vs. Vanderbilt –
Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Bulldogs’ stop-em unit again shut down the opposing running game, limiting the Commodores to a measly 64 yards on 22 carries. Through the air, Shurmur was 17-of-31 for 172 yards and the one TD pass. Again, Georgia was sparked by electrifying middle linebacker Roquan Smith with seven total tackles. Cornerback Deandre Baker followed with five stops and Smith, Davin Bellamy, Jon Ledbetter, Dominique Sanders, D’Andre Walker and Juwan Taylor — who started at inside linebacker with Natrez Patrick suspended — all recording tackles-for-loss.
In addition to Michel going for the 150 yards on just 12 carries including a 50-yard touchdown run and Chubb putting up his 138 on 16 carries including TD jaunts of 33 and 14 yards, Elijah Holyfield zipped for 51 yards on seven carries including a 15-yard scoring run, D’Andre Swift hammered out 32 on four attempts and Fromm kept the ball four times for 36 yards. Terry Godwin snared two passes for 70 yards including a 47-yard touchdown catch from Fromm on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half and Javon Wims also caught two balls for 20 yards. Eason came on at quarterback in the final quarter and overcame his lost fumble on his first pass attempt by completing all three of his attempts for 24 yards.
Georgia punted the football only one time all day with Cameron Nizialek booming a 59-yard kick.
Folks, that’s a lot of offense in one football game and, most certainly, brightens the picture for this Georgia team as the Bulldogs look down the schedule at rugged upcoming games against Florida, South Carolina, Auburn, Kentucky and Georgia Tech.
The Bulldogs moved into a 21-0 lead with touchdown drives of 83, 45 (following a 15-yard Vandy punt) and 80 yards. Notching the scores were Chubb on a 33-yard burst, Swift on a 5-yard pass from Fromm and Chubb again on a 14-yard run. But the Commodores then broke the defense’s scoreless string when Shurmur uncorked a 38-yard pass to Kalija Lipscomb — who had beaten Bulldog cornerback Malkom Parrish — to the Georgia 1-yard line, followed by Ralph Webb’s scoring plunge. Thus the Bulldogs led by 21-7 at the break.
Georgia then cranked things up to another level in the third quarter as Fromm ignited the offense with his perfectly-thrown 47-yard touchdown pass to Godwin, who was streaking open behind the Vandy secondary. Then came Michel’s 50-yard touchdown jaunt which lifted the Bulldog lead to 35-7. A Rod Blankenship 27-yard field goal with 3:34 left in the quarter blinked the board to 38-7 and reserve tailback Holyfield chalked up Georgia’s final score via a 15-yard scamper in the opening two minutes of the final quarter. Then came the Commodores’ second score following the Eason fumble.
Ought to make for a happy and boisterous Homecoming for all Dawg grads and undergrads this coming weekend between the hedges as the Bulldogs are likely to be ranked at least No. 4 in the nation … what with 3rd-ranked Oklahoma’s loss to Iowa State.


Recent Articles by Murray Poole

[pt_view id=”2fb799183g”]  

share content

Author /

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.