Georgia came into Fayetteville, Arkansas as a heavy 27-point favorite up against the Razorbacks lead by former Georgia Offensive Line Coach Sam Pittman. Well, Georgia ended up winning by exactly 27 points and looked dominant at times in the second half as a team, and throughout the game as a whole defensively. However, this truly was a tale of two halves as Georgia suffered mightily from a lack of execution and a rash of self-inflicted wounds in the early going versus Arkansas.
Georgia ended up out-gaining the Razorbacks 387 yards to 280 and ripped off 32 unanswered points to end the game. On the surface this would seem to be an opening game romp that Kirby Smart and the Georgia faithful would be excited about. However, there are several clichés and adages that come to mind when a performance such as this one from the Georgia Bulldogs presents itself. “A win is a win,” and, “survive and advance.”
In his postgame press conference, Kirby Smart succinctly addressed the dichotomy between disappointment and optimism as they relate to this game. The fifth-year Georgia Head Coach said he was, “disappointed in the performance and the lack of discipline,” but at the same time said he was attempting to, “be positive about the second half and what the guys were able to do.”
This week’s Stats That Matter are a mixed bag for Georgia in the 2020 SEC and season-opening win.
6 of 20
The Georgia offense converted their first third down of their first drive of the game. On a third and six on their own 36-yard line, Dwan Mathis completed a 9-yard pass to George Pickens. That conversion would be the last one of the half for UGA, and the last of the entire day with Dwan Mathis at QB.
Georgia would not convert another third down until a 13-yard scamper by Zamir White on the first drive after the half. UGA would convert 2 of 3 third downs in the third quarter and 3 of 5 in the fourth quarter to total 5 of 8 third down conversions for the second half and to finish 6 of 20 (30%) for the game.
Overall, not an ideal percentage at all, but the results from the first half to the second are evident because of the uptick of third down success.
49.9 was the average of the seven punts that rocketed off the foot of Jake Camarda. The Norcross, Georgia native continued his great work from the ladder part of the 2019 season and helped the Georgia defense stifle any Razorback momentum during the offensive struggles of the first half.
Not only were Camarda’s punts impressive because of their distance, but also the amount of touch and the placement of the punts were terrific as well. The Dawg’s veteran punter was able to pin Arkansas inside their own 20-yard line on five of his seven punts. One of his punts, that had Arkansas starting on a drive inside their own five positioned the Georgia defense beautifully and ultimately lead to a safety that got Georgia’s scoring kicked off.
12 different Georgia players caught a pass on Saturday. While the offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders early, this is an encouraging sign that Georgia needs to have reliable targets emerge to take pressure and attention off of George Pickens.
Georgia had 108 yards worth of penalties in their opening game. Obviously that is not a recipe for crisp looking football and it will undoubtedly be a point of emphasis heading into the home opener versus Auburn. However, it is worth noting that a lack of spring practice and regular offseason likely contributed to this stat.
There are questions that remain after the 2020 season’s opening game. There are things to celebrate, like winning and players stepping up when needed and called upon. There are kinks to work out, like mental errors and lack of execution. But SEC and Georgia football is back, and it’ll be even nicer when it’s between the hedges