UGA Routs #9 Ole Miss in Dominant Fashion
UGA 52 – Ole Miss 17
UGA ROUTS #9 OLE MISS IN DOMINANT FASHION – Safety Javon Bullard did something no other player thought to do. After a cold, rainy game against the Rebels, Bullard ran over to the student section to celebrate, likely because he knows this was not just the final home game of the season, but of his Georgia career.
Right Tackle Xavier Truss stood in the field, taking it all in as fans exited the stadium. You have to wonder what was going through his mind.
The Dawgs eviscerated the Rebels on Saturday, in a game that was not close after the second quarter. After amassing 180 yards of offense in the first quarter, Ole Miss couldn’t muster that many yards in the next three quarters combined. This was about as dominant of a performance that you’ll see, and the Dawgs did it against a top 10 team.
What I Liked
This was Georgia’s best, most complete performance of the season. They still gave up a touchdown on the opening drive, but that has almost become standard practice at this point. And — also now standard practice — they were nearly lights out on defense from that point forward.
Georgia piled up 600 yards of offense, averaging 10 yards per play. PER PLAY. Beck also notched his obligatory 300 yards passing.
UGA rotated more offensive and defensive linemen than they had all season, which contributed to their success. Amarius Mims was back at tackle, and UGA used 4 different combinations of linemen between all their rotations. They all were effective.
Defensively, Tramel Walthour and Nazir Stackhouse had great games. Stackhouse was challenged by Kirby to step up his performance. In the last two weeks he certainly has become a difference maker in the way I expected him to be all season.
Georgia is as healthy as they have been all season and they are reaching their final form as the year winds down. Look out.
Brock Freakin’ Bowers
I believed Brock would play a role, but never expected him to start or get 45 snaps. While he didn’t light up the stat sheet, UGA used him just enough so that the defense had to cover him heavily, opening up opportunities for other players. I’m glad Mike Bobo force fed him a touchdown in the second half because the kid deserves it.
He’s a warrior. He’s an example of just about everything Kirby wants his program to be about. He’s physical, composed, and relentless in his play style.
Kirby’s been preaching “Mission. Team. Me” as his mantra the last couple of weeks, and Bowers put both the mission and team over himself as he played through pain against Ole Miss. One of the reasons why I hope Georgia 3-peats (beyond the obvious) is that I would be perfectly happy for Bowers to go down as the greatest Bulldog of all time by being a star player on all three championship teams.
I know, we gotta beat Tennessee, Tech, Bama, etc first. I’m not saying it will happen, but it’s just one more reason why I would love to see it.
One of the key elements of this game was how CJ Allen would step up in Pop Johnson’s absence. He started shaky, but once Coach Schumann made some adjustments, he performed incredibly. He led the team in tackles with 9.
I loved one run play to the outside that was stretched out by Marvin Jones Jr. While he extended the play, CJ Allen struck a blocker, shed him, and then made the tackle for no gain. His speed and athleticism were remarkable at times in this game.
He will face a tough test this week, as Tennessee brings a big challenge in the running game too, but with even more tempo. Allen and Co. held Judkins, Bentley, and Dart in check all game long. I actually think Pop’s injury could be a blessing in disguise.
With Allen getting lots of reps to end the year, I think he actually could position Georgia to be much more effective at slowing down Jalen Milroe in the SEC Championship. Pop’s too slow, but Allen and Mondon could both be athletic enough to get it done.
Kendal Milton came to Athens from California as one of the top rated running backs in the nation with five stars attached to his name. And yet, years of injuries have hindered his career. He’s never been able to get healthy.
Every time he gets hit at the knees I wince, expecting him to come up limping. This week, he had the best performance of his career, gashing the Rebels for 127 yards on 9 carries. Milton looks to have his combination of power and explosiveness back.
He demonstrated it in a run that should have restyled in a loss, but instead went for about 6 yards. Milton’s legs were wrapped up on the ground, but he leapt out of the defender’s arms. He then initiated contact with another, driving forward as he was brought down, making 3rd down and easy conversion for the Dawgs.
If he can stay healthy, and that’s a big if, he brings an incredible balance to UGA’s running game. Daijun Edwards will make you look silly with quick cuts and shifty moves. Milton will put you on Sportscenter because he trucked you into oblivion.
Kamari Lassiter is one of the best corners in the Kirby Smart-era at UGA. Seriously. He’s a shutdown dude.
He locked up Luther Burden last week and held Tre Harris to 2 catches this past week. He loves to tackle and he’ll smother you in coverage. With the pairing of one of UGA’s two safeties, they are able to all but eliminate a key player from the opposing team’s offense from the game.
What I Didn’t Like
Julian Humphrey’s Injury
Humphrey lunged for a tackle on a stretched out running play. He whiffed and hit the ground hard causing an upper body injury. He left the game clutching his arm, and initial rumors were that he broke his collarbone.
Kirby has been cryptic on the matter, saying he may be able to come back. UGA needs him to return, as his performances were getting better each week. Unfortunately, it’s clear that opposing offenses are going to attack Daylen Everette with a good amount of success.
If there’s a weak spot in the defense right now, it’s him. It’s still not that bad, but it’s their biggest vulnerability. Humphrey had been coming along and taking more snaps from Everette, but now may be sidelined for weeks, if not the rest of the year.
The good news is that UGA seemed to escape without any major injuries aside from his. WR Ladd McConkey and DL Warren Brinson got banged up during the game, but will be fine.
Room to Improve
Beck and RaRa Thomas seem to be improving their chemistry. Beck put a throw right on RaRa that he turned and busted for 44 yards in the first half, in a very similar fashion to a play Ladd made in recent weeks. That play aside, RaRa is not winning his 1 on 1’s frequently enough.
When Beck gets him a 50-50 ball, RaRa is not coming down with it 50% of the time. More like 10%.
The Dawgs had a 3-and-out on the first drive of the second half. Other than that, they made consistent explosive plays and scored touchdowns every chance they got. They looked unstoppable while showing new wrinkles in the offense that can be built upon.
Bobo was in his bag.
Given the recent dominance of UGA defenses, 17 points given up isn’t incredible. Given this year’s team and its defensive issues, this was a great performance. They forced Ole Miss to run an offense that was one-dimensional and unremarkable.
Special teams: A
They didn’t do much.
I think UGA’s dominance has been adequately documented above. The only thing I haven’t mentioned are the baffling choices by Ole Miss. Good Lord, Lane.
The best offensive play you had was attacking the edge with runs. So why on earth did they try to almost exclusively run up the middle in the second half? It didn’t work. Almost ever. They abandoned the one thing that was going well. I know they probably didn’t have great confidence in their backup tackles, but still, it was at least worth a shot.
Ole Miss seems to be the Penn State of the SEC. Always better than most in the conference, but never the best.
UGA — if they can stay healthy — are looking like they are in playoff form. They still have one more true test this week, which is less about Tennessee and more about sustaining their performance for so many consecutive games. This is the team UGA fans were waiting to see all year.
Also, apparently I’m terrible at picking if UGA will cover the spread, so fade me. But if the Dawgs keep winning, I don’t really care.