It was fantastic to watch the Bulldogs beat Clemson in the season opener. I am so glad that football is back, and there are packed crowds in the stands. Most pundits did not give Georgia a chance against ClemsonThis was a big win for Georgia, both for the program’s future and building Georgia’s resume for the College Football Playoff. Georgia’s offense was struggling at times, but with a significant win on the belt and CUSA team the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) on the schedule next week, Georgia’s offense can work on some inefficiencies.
Only two rushing yards were allowed by the Georgia defense in the entire game. Clemson had 23 rushing attempts and averaged 0.087 yards per attempt. The Georgia defense shut down any attempt by Clemson to have a ground game. DJ Uiagalelei was forced to have to beat Georgia in the air. He had some success with Joseph Ngata, but the one-dimensional attack prevented any surprises for the Georgia defense. As a result of constantly expecting Clemson to pass, Christopher Smith II was able to intercept and return the ball 74 yards for a pick-six touchdown.
With seven sacks by six different Georgia players, The Dawgs kept relentless pressure on DJ Uiagalelei, rendering his running ability inert. DJ seemed rattled and unprepared. This was the first game of his college career that had fans in the stands. He was protected by an inexperienced Clemson Tiger offensive line, who could not hold off Georgia’s constant pressure. The fact that six players recorded sacks highlights Georgia’s talent on the defensive side of the ball.
10 for 94
The Georgia Bulldogs had ten penalties which resulted in 94 lost yards. These yards were not the only problem with these penalties. A few of the penalties happened in big moments that changed potential turnovers to a new set of downs for the Clemson offense. Penalties also affected the Georgia offense, which sometimes killed momentum and gave the Bulldogs an unfavorable field position in crucial moments. I want to blame the penalties because it was the first game of the season, and there is a lot of inexperience on the team. I do not expect penalties to be a problem for Georgia moving forward.
Nine targets to starting true freshman tight end Brock Bowers, and Bowers was the leading receiver against Clemson, targeted 30% of the time. He performed like a seasoned veteran. He had a catch percentage of 66.67% and gained an average of 7.71 yards per catch. It is very encouraging to see Todd Monken utilizing the tight ends. It will be exciting to see what Moken has in store for Darnell Washington when he returns from injury.
Clemson’s office was only in the “red zone” 1 time, resulting in 3 points. Conversely, Georgia’s offense was only in the “red zone” 1 time and only resulted in 3 pts. The only touchdown in the game was scored defensively. Neither offense was able to be effective. Both offenses had flashes of cohesiveness but never were able to get their engines started. Over the next week, we can expect Kirby Smart and Todd Monken to spend a lot of time on their offense. Georgia was successful on short-yardage plays but was unable to attack further downfield. This is not likely an issue with Georgia’s receivers, but an issue with the experience and talent of Clemson’s secondary that these receivers had to face.