UGA Cruises to Victory in Rivalry Matchup against Florida
UGA CRUISES TO VICTORY IN RIVALRY MATCHUP AGAINST FLORIDA – UGA cruised to a comfortable victory over their biggest rivals this past Saturday. Led by Carson Beck and Daijun Edwards, the Dawg offense was cooking early in the Florida heat. One of the best offenses in the country, Georgia cruised to a convincing victory in one of their most important rivalry matchups of the season.
UGA 43 – Florida 20
No Bowers, No Problem
Georgia can’t replace Brock Bowers with any one player, but they had plenty of explosive plays.
If any one player did their job to replace what Bowers brings, it was Ladd McConkey and his 6 catches for 135 yards. McConkey looked himself for the first time this year, and provided the yards after catch for UGA that Bowers often brings.
Oscar Delp had a good game for himself and is improving each week as a blocker.
Xavier Truss powered through a leg injury to put in a good shift at right tackle. Monroe Freeling replaced him later in the game and again looked the part as a true freshman.
Daijun Edwards carved up the Gator defense all afternoon, and the Dawgs averaged 4.5 yards per carry on the day. Not a spectacular number, but effective when needed. The only knock I’d have on the o line was that in the red zone they were not as effective, which meant UGA had to settle for more field goals than they’d like.
Beck Back Home
Carson Beck returned to his hometown with another solid performance.
While he still left some plays out there, in particular missing McConkey on a deep ball, and failing to see a check-down to Edwards that would have let him walk into the end zone, he had a really good day and kept the Dawg offense explosive. He finished yet another game with over 300 yards on 19 completions.
DB’s Lock it Down.
Safety Javon Bullard led the team in tackles, and found himself more around the ball than in previous games this year. His crushing hit in the second half will make highlight reels for UGA fans for the remainder of the year.
Tykee Smith had a great performance Saturday as well, finishing with 6 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 PBU. Kamari Lassiter also locked up receivers repeatedly on the outside. It was an outstanding performance from the secondary after the first drive of the game.
Let ‘Em Play
Jalon Walker played 11 snaps in the game, but he sure seemed to make a noticeable impact on nearly every one. He’s an inside linebacker but is used to speed rush the edge on 3rd downs mostly.
Florida had no answer for his combination of speed and bend around the tackles. DL Christen Miller is commanding more playing time, as well as Marvin Jones Jr. at OLB. I’m hoping to see Walker, Miller, and MJJ earn more and more playing time as the season progresses. Each of these guys have a high ceiling, but also parts of their game that need work.
Tykee Smith exited the game with a head injury, but he should be fine.
He was interviewed with reporters after the game and did go back in the game briefly. LB CJ Allen, who is doing so well that he saw action on the first drive of the game, picked up a hamstring injury, although the severity is still unknown at this point. Allen has become the first option to rotate in at ILB for the Dawgs, and they’ll want him healthy down the stretch.
Final Thoughts and Grades
Overall, this was about as good of a performance that UGA could have hoped for. Aside from keeping the Gators out of the end zone in garbage time, UGA’s defense looked like it stepped up in a big way.
The offense continued to move the ball despite not having Bowers. McConkey is a special playmaker, and UGA needs to keep his back healthy so he’s available for the rest of the year.
The running game now has multiple games where they have found their rhythm and Daijun Edwards has made the jump from serviceable running back to a true difference-maker.
Offensively, I’d like to see UGA’s red zone offense improve, and I want Beck to finally connect on some long throws. If they can clean up those two elements, this UGA offense will be a top 3 offense in the nation. They are ruthlessly efficient.
UGA made Mertz uncomfortable most of the day tallying 4 sacks.
They showed a variety of pressures and blitzes that made UGA look more like what we have seen previously on defense. Dumas Johnson had one of his best games of the year, and the secondary was superb.
The Dawgs still have some vulnerabilities in fooling the eyes of the defense and they still will give up explosive plays from time to time. 20 points on its surface isn’t great, but the performance was suffocating from the Dawgs.
Woodring was lights out yet again and is on a hot streak with his kicking. Brett Thorson is doing great the infrequent times he’s called upon to punt. And Mekhi Mews had a better game in terms of decision making. UGA has a major edge over Missouri in special teams, so hopefully these guys are ready to make a play. Aguero’s blocked punt put the exclamation point on this aspect of the game.
UGA seems to be finding its identity and playing to its strengths. Beck is doing everything we could hope from a first year QB and then some. Georgia has enough weapons offensively and has found their consistency in the run game to be a balanced attack that can punish you in a variety of ways.
Defensively, UGA still has some warts, but they continue to grow and improve. Missouri will test the defense, and some of the ways Florida found success against the Dawgs, Missouri would call their bread and butter. The tests mostly get harder from here. But this year’s team seems to be totally locked in. If Missouri, who presents a number of concerns for UGA, can’t keep it close, look out.
This team may be bound for the playoffs yet again.