Han Vance on Georgia football: It’s game five of the young college football season this week, and the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama are already on the biggest collision course in America. The writing is on the wall for a probable rematch of the national championship game in the SEC championship, same building in Atlanta, December 1st.
The Dawgs hit the 4-0 mark with a second road divisional win in towns called Columbia. Co-Mo collapse for the recently high-quality 9-1 Mizzou Tigers. Bama besting the Aggies by three TDs. Georgia, number two in one poll and number three in the other, has scored 40+ every week, showing a roster stocked with athletes all over the field. Bama still #1 and has the best passing offense they’ve had under Saban. They were “held” to 45 by Texas A&M, having scored 50+ in each of their first three games.
I predicted 40-30 Dawgs at Missouri for the 11 a.m. Ozarks-time kick, with the defense or special teams scoring for Georgia. Both non-offense sides actually scored for UGA Saturday, 43-29.
Mizzou had four rushing touchdowns, the first yielded by the opportunistic 2018 Georgia defense, pushing Georgia’s per game average to just one per game. Physicality will be a point of practice for Kirby’s troops moving forward.
The quarterback duel was won by sophomore Jake Fromm over senior Drew Lock, as Fromm had myriad Georgia receivers attack the football and still found an off-game Mecole Hardman Jr. late in the tilt for a big bomb (54 yards). He had also hit JJ for 61 and Ridley for another, both of whom looked physical and athletic. Lock threw nearly twice as many passes as Fromm and finished with close to the same passing yardage.
Fromm came in leading the nation in completion percentage, then struggled mightily in the first half, before completely finding his game in the second and winning. His intangibles and gamer quality are unbelievable. Kid is just an amazing human.
Mecole has scored in every game, but the aura of Georgia is becoming more and more Jake Fromm. There was never any quarterback controversy in Athens, Fromm steady throughout and shining late in an SEC championship season. Those calling for an end to the Fromm era at halftime were proved seriously misguided on a long day in the Heartland. Lock, the possible number one overall NFL draft pick, was held without a scoring pass.
Georgia was pretty shaky in this game, though, take away the finding-a-way-when-we-needed-to effort of the second half. Save all the turnovers, some of which were forced, which the team can’t expect to replicate. The Dogs could have easily lost this football game, if Lock had suddenly gotten hot late at home. It was a far from dominant win, which UGA still dominated.
The Dawgs are good. Mel Tucker isn’t getting enough of the credit for what Georgia is doing on defense, all three of the years he has run the defense. Kirby Smart is the CEO and head football coach. It’s Mel’s D.
Tucker’s defense had yielded just 24 points all year, a total more than doubled by Missouri, as projected here. Keeping a team that had been scoring in the 40s every week, led by a top senior passer, to under 30, is accomplishment in itself.
Fromm finished just 13-23 passing with a pick but his rallying the team, the way he did with his precision play in the second half, showed a lot of leadership. He couldn’t be denied to the end zone, and it was impressive.
But the heralded, huge O-line has revealed itself also describable as: young, raw, slow. Men are falling on the line, left and right, and Georgia sorely misses Isaiah Wynn, more than any player from last year’s team that went pro. Impossible with the greatness of play of Roquan Smith, nearly, yet the defense still flies around and makes plays.
Lots of the Georgia defenders played both ways in high school, evident Saturday as around double digit non-offense players had their hands on the rock, running the field with expertise and grace. We looked really ready to scoop and score this season, reminiscent of some of the Miami Hurricane defenses under Jimmy Johnson. Again, athletes everywhere is how I evaluate UGA overall right now, a good feeling.
My main concerns are big ones though, the lack of anything close to a feature running back to-date and the lack of sacks, the second a problem stemming from last season, even worse now. Neither Georgia’s offensive or defensive lines truly dominate football games at this stage and Auburn and LSU are both on the regular season slate outside of division but in-league.
Sorry to say this considering the talent of Nauta, but tight end production not that existent outside of blocking is just a personal qualm as far as I’m concerned at this point. If my school is scoring 40+… No complaints. Jim Chaney is calling a great year.
Holyfield and Swift both ran hard and broke tackles and got extra yardage with their athleticism. While I like the runners in our stable, certainly nobody is screaming “Sony Michel” or “Nick Chubb” at this stage of their careers. It’s workmanlike at best as UGA has one 100-yard game, Holyfield hitting exactly that last week on MTSU; he had 90 at Mizzou. Lead runner Swift has yet to have a 100-yard game at UGA. This is Running Back U, meaning you should be less than enthused at that position after four games.
Consider the SEC East. Give us the trophy right now. The Georgia fans are the best in the country, and the confidence in winning the division is swelling to a level of sheer certainty, with a rivalry week dawning in the Classic City. Checkerboards, dude, checkerboards. 3:30, CBS. GO DAWGS!!!
Mizzou was smoked at home giving the ball away a bunch, exact same for Vandy and Tennessee. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this year’s schedule is straight garbage. Tech lost again, of course, by the way. Gators improving after losing their streak to Kentucky in the Swamp, they own UT.
The league looked down as a whole to me after the clear top two teams, Alabama and Georgia. LSU was flat in holding off LaTech and Auburn can’t run the ball this year so far. Miss State, my dark horse long shot in the West, fell to Kentucky.
That’s right. BOOM! Feel that SEC East power, baby. The SEC East has finally won another big game over the SEC West that didn’t include Georgia, that just has not been happening in this football league. In fact, Ol’ Georgia suddenly finds itself on a collision course with the Big Blue, up there on November 3rd. To say their Benny Snell Jr. – the school’s all-time leading touchdown rusher after two seasons – is a feature back, is understatement.
No SEC East team outside of Georgia was ranked last week, with Kentucky surging to #17 in both polls after a second big win. LSU (10/13) is #5/#6 in the polls; Auburn (11/10) is #10 in both polls. …And, it’s Tennessee week!