Of signature wins and other such things

It’s way too early for me to assign deep meaning to Georgia’s win Saturday night.  Only two games in, we don’t know how each team’s season will develop.  Reflect back on how half the fan base was ready to anoint Jim Donnan as the second coming of Steve Spurrier after the Dawgs demolished the Gators in 1997.  How did that turn out?

While I’m not ready to draw any big picture conclusions about the state of the program based on the Notre Dame game, I will say that there are certain things about Kirby Smart to take away from it.

For one, I think we can dismiss the “it was Nick Saban’s defense” narrative.  Georgia took on an offense that generated over six hundred yards of total offense the week before and held it to 265.  Notre Dame’s yards per play declined from 8.19 to 3.44.  The Irish offense that ran for 422 yards against Temple only managed 55 rushing yards against the Dawgs.

While it was the last, it wasn’t nearly the first time Wimbush was hit Saturday night. Due to the impressive speed on the defensive side of the ball, Georgia was able to get into the backfield often and make Wimbush uncomfortable. They also were able to stick with Notre Dame wide receivers all night and quickly shutdown running lanes. The Irish offense looked much different than it did against Temple the week prior.

“Yeah, it was everything I thought it would be, but I never played against a team with speed like that,” said Wimbush, who was genuinely impressed with the Bulldogs’ speed defensively. All 11 positions, all the guys were really physical and had speed. That was a little different. It’s hard to emulate that during the week, but our scout guys do the best job they can do.”

Georgia was fast, well-prepared, mechanically sound and Nick Saban was nowhere in the neighborhood.  Kirby can coach a little D all by his lonesome, it turns out.

Second, this Georgia team was nothing if not resilient in South Bend.

4

Deficits Georgia faced and rallied from at Notre Dame. The Bulldogs trailed 3-0, 10-3, 16-10 and 19-17.

You sensed a couple of moments when things could have gotten away from them, especially when the offense struggled, but they never did.  For a young team with a true freshman quarterback starting his first game on the road against a ranked opponent who was favored, that’s an indication that it has a head coach who is able to instill a sense of toughness and focus that’s been lacking at times over the past few seasons.

It might even turn out to be a statement.

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41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

41 responses to “Of signature wins and other such things

  1. While it didn’t have the drama of the Hobnail Boot, this win felt a lot like that except the defense was making the big plays at the end of the game to seal the victory. That’s the best defensive performance I’ve seen from a Georgia team since the 2014 Auburn beat down.

    Just as we started believing in what Richt was selling after that day in Knoxville, I’m believing … now, don’t go out and screw around with Samford, Dawgs.

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  2. Timphd

    My biggest impression besides the UGA crowd, was how the team never got down even playing behind. Resilience seemed clear. Hope it never ends!

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  3. Jared S.

    Man, when I saw all that Red & Black in the stadium I was so proud to be Dawg fan. Glad so many were able to make the trip and secure tickets. When Brian Kelly ran out into the stadium I can’t help but think he was thinking, “You’ve GOT to be kidding me.”

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  4. Jim

    You know the old baseball saying “speed doesn’t slump”? Yeah…

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  5. Granthams replacement

    This team is loaded with speed, but is also loaded with mental errors. If Kirby gets them to minimize the mistakes it’s going to be a fun year.

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  6. TMC DAWG

    Senator I know it’s only 2 games but from what I saw you are looking at a top 10 defense in the nation!,

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    • Chi-town Dawg

      I think the defense clearly has the early signs of being on dominant on a national scale. The only concern in the back of my mind is the pass coverage of our secondary. Davis is doing a decent job filling in for Parrish and Baker is a solid SEC cornerback, but we lack a true lockdown corner. Wimbush was able to find open receivers when given time and he’s not a great passing QB. Until we demonstrate the ability to shutdown a talented passing offense, I’m cautiously excited. Fortunately, there are very few talented passing teams in the SEC.

      Overall, it was great to beat a ranked name opponent on the road and I’m getting more and more excited about the season’s potential. The atmosphere at the game was incredible as it felt like the Florida game with so many of our fans there. Everything the Senator mentions right up to the fewer/shorter commercial breaks and the beautiful stadium were dead smack on.

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  7. zdawg15

    For me it was how the defense held up on 3rd down all game. The magnitude of some of the 3rd down stops and what it meant for a drive to be stopped and cause either a field goal or punt were huge. That’s one area of improvement that was noticeable to me, at least in this game. Roquan is my player of the game.

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    • “Roquan is my player of the game”

      I totally get it. He was a close 2nd for me behind the bookends Carter and Bellamy together. They had to play well on the edge to keep Wimbush from beating us on the read option and to keep him in the pocket on passing downs. The fact they did that and made the 2 biggest plays in the game with the strip-sacks made them my choice.

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    • Rp

      Roquan made some serious NFL money on Saturday night. If he plays like that all year he can go in the 1st round. I thought he was the best player on the field.

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  8. TMC DAWG

    This defense has top 10 written all over it, even as freshman and a sophomore Le Counte and JR reed are studs

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  9. 3rdandGrantham

    Not sure about the rest of you, but the only time I was nervous was when we punted at the end of the game, which gave them an opportunity to win it with a FG. Given the myriad 15 yard penalties we suffered, I was afraid that a few first downs and another PF penalty would set them up for an easy FG for the win.

    Simply put, UGA just looked like the better team, and the ol’ eyeball test told me we were more talented and athletic across the board. This is why I never really questioned whether we would win, even though I predicted a loss all offseason. So far through two games we looked far better coached and prepared, and our D and special teams improvement is a thing of beauty.

    Eason thankfully should be back by MSU, and if we can get the O dialed in we will be a team to be reckoned with. BTW, Bama looked somewhat unimpressive, UF is a mess, UT has some talent but are not on our level, and while SCU won again, they have been out gained in yards their first two games.

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    • Cojones

      Just an opposite feeling when we punted at the end. I saw that Kirby didn’t appear worried and was fine in turning over the game to the D, as was I after seeing earlier signs of great speed, gang tackling and a D that had all players looking poised and confident. Plus, I’ll bet that Kirby had specifically whispered into Bellamy’s ear before he tore around the end to go after Winbush. When it comes down to it, I felt this way once before when Murray walked onto the field at the end of tight games; you just knew he would get the job done.

      It’s nice to look specifically toward the D for big plays that just whet your appetite for more.

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  10. Got Cowdog

    While out and about Friday I listened to part of an interview with a national CFB pundit. I can’t remember who it was, but he made the statement that “Notre Dame is a playoff contender now”. I don’t know if that’s the case, as we all know ND is a media darling and perpetually over-hyped. If they are actually as good as advertised, UGA isn’t overrated. Here’s to my Irish friends, I hope they go 11-1.
    Ia anyone else concerned about Vandy and MSU?

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    • I’m sure over the next week or so we’ll be hearing that ND sucks and Georgia hasn’t beaten anybody. Nobody last week was saying, “It was only Temple” like they were saying “It was only Appalachian State.”

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      • Uglydawg

        Great observation.. Temple was elevated to elite status…I’d take App over Temple in a matchup.

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        • Absolutely. I think while App probably won’t get the Group of 5 NY6 bid, they are going to be tough to beat. If they beat Wake in Boone, they will be in the conversation for a bid because I don’t think anyone else on their schedule will beat them.

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          • Macallanlover

            Wake’s offense is straight out of the blue, last two years they were winning games by holding opponents to less than double digits. That could be a real contest in Boone. Too early to know who should be favored.

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    • dawgman3000

      Not really concerned about MSU, but Vandy has my attention.

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  11. sniffer

    My benchmark for this season is admittedly low. Show improvement and play hard. So far, so good.

    You hear a lot about ND recruiting top
    athletes year after year. I’m wondering what teams we will face this year that’s as talented or more?

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  12. I agree with everyone the the D is great, I mean great. They should keep us in every game. I also agree with 3rd that we looked like a much better team from the start. At the half I thought we would win by 2 or 3 touchdowns. Does anyone think that Chubb did not look good? I hate to say it but he looked like the 2nd or 3rd best back. He was stopped several times with arm tackles that he used to easily run through.

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    • waterloodawg

      I wondered if he was sick or getting over something.

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    • Russ

      Hard to evaluate with Sony or Chubb when they only get 13 carries a piece. Look at any back, including the elite ones, and they don’t get 5+ yard on every carry. They average that because they get a bunch of 2-3 yard runs and then a few 10-15 yard runs (or longer). Those runs happen later in the game when the defense gets tired of tackling them.

      As the Senator pointed out elsewhere, when your freshman QB attempts more passes than Chubb/Michel get runs, there’s something wrong with the play calling. I like mixing it up, but Chaney was trying to be too cute Saturday night.

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  13. Irwin R. Fletcher

    I said this in one of the other posts..just reminded me of those early games in 2002. On the road against Carolina and Bama…grind them down and win close games.

    It doesn’t leave a lot of room for error, as we saw on saturday, but with this D, it feels like if we can give the offense some more time to gel, we could have a really good little season.

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  14. Chico Dawg

    There’s a line in Pulp Fiction by Harvey Kietel, who plays the incredible roll of Mr. Wolf, when he is cleaning up the mess made by John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson which comes to mind…”let’s not — each other’s —– just yet.”
    This team has a chemical make up that has potential, built on a fast and well coached defense and reliable special teams. But I saw several mistakes in the first two games which can cost you later in the season. Not trying to throw shade here…I feel great about the win. And I do take refuge in the fact that the coach and players were almost relieved that the mistakes didn’t cost them the contest.
    Great win, guys- proud of you- but in two weeks you will play your first legitimate opponent. Clean it up and get a W there, and I will begin to think we may have a special team.

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    • “…but in two weeks you will play your first legitimate opponent.”

      Let the Dawgrading of Notre Dame begin!

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      • Uglydawg

        Maybe MSU being a conference game that counts for more than pride is a better description than “legitimate”.. All foes are legitimate..as we saw last year. But MSU is a near essential win..lose it and we’re looking at the eight ball or something close to it.

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  15. reality check here

    When we beat App State I was satisfied but not overly pleased.

    The win over ND leaves me pleased. I thought Lorenzo Carter was outstanding and Bellamy did a great job against their All American tackle. Roquan Smith is always superb. The defense as a whole seems to be championship caliber.

    The O line even had some plays where there were actual holes for the backs.

    We’ll see what happens, but that was a good performance.

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  16. reality check here

    And congratulations to Rodrigo Blankenship on being awarded his scholarship. He earned it on the field and overdue as far as I am concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Uglydawg

    Either Georgia has one of the fastest defenses I’ve ever seen or ND is slow as molasses or a little of both..but it was amazing at how fast our backers and d-backs would close on a runner seemingly looking at space. I’m not sure Notre Dame is where they were being hyped to be. Take away the first downs we gave them on penalties and it’s a miss-match…
    And I thought the officiating sucked. We had obvious pass interference on our receivers twice in the endzone..not called. Notre Dame held so badly on offense that I thought one of our players would have his shoulder socket torn. Good thing for ND’s QB or he might not have survived.
    Say what you want but it was biased. The tackling of our defensive players was ignored.
    Play that game on a nuetral site with honest refs and UGA wins by 21.
    I’m much more concerned with MSU. They will not be overhyped and slow.
    Win against Sam’s ford, and MSU and we’ll all be off the chain excited and rightfully so.
    It was great to get the win in the face of so much adversity, and hat’s off to the Dawg fans that went and supported them! Y’all looked great and showed great support.

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    • Russ

      Lots of holding on ND not called, but the most egregious/blatant/amazing was the ankle tackle from behind of (I think) Roquan by one of their lineman. Literally a tackle around the ankles in the middle of the field in from of the ref, and no call.

      Also, for all the times Wimbush scrambled around our edges and our ends couldn’t get free to pursue/tackle – no holding the entire game? Really Matt Austin?

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      • Without question this was yet another shining example of a visiting conference officials trying so hard to avoid any speck of bias actually being biased for the home team. The non-call on Roquan “block” mentioned above was the proverbial icing on the cake for me. Matt Austin and his SEC crew should be ashamed- and made to sit. Call it DOWN THE MIDDLE. #FireSteveShawNow

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        • Macallanlover

          Think it goes beyond the attempt to avoid being seen as biased. SEC officials, collectively, have been horrible for the past 25 years. They are just bad, not biased or conspiring, ever since the GT guys were put in charge back in the 90s we have been on a downward spiral. Embarrassing to see them in bowl games when no SEC team is involved, coaches and players just shake their heads. Best CFB in the nation, called by very poorly trained and evaluated officials. No excuse for Slive, or Sankey to not be called out for it by presidents and ADs.

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          • Mayor

            Some crews have a bias against the Dawgs too though. Remember Penn Wagers and his crew? Matt Austin and his bunch is another one. Eggindawg is right–they should be made to sit. In my mind they should be fired after the season too.

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  18. Macallanlover

    Important game to win, and we did, but wouldn’t put the “signature” tag on it, We have all known the defense would have to carry the offense this year, especially early in the season, and they are as good as advertised. Even without the two DBs they have dominated, well done. We have another warm up game on tap, the offense needs to get rolling before we hit the conference schedule in two weeks or we may not make Atlanta. Chaney still falling short of expectations, we have play makers everywhere, put them in a position to win and open the offense up this week to let them gain some confidence. I feel like they have a governor on the offense as they use it to play defense.

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    • Mayor

      We are stuck with a third rate OC apparently for the rest of the season. The guy can’t call a game on O–he just doesn’t have it.

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  19. DawgByte

    This is a big win for a lot of reasons. Here are but a few:

    It doesn’t mean a hoot how good ND actually is as a football team. What’s important is going to South Bend for the first time in UGA history and bringing half of Athens with us and walking away as winners.
    ND has virtually their own television network (NBC). Why? Because they have a massive coast-to-coast following that keeps NBC liking their ratings. Getting national exposure to your program is a big deal for UGA.
    A win in South Bend is great for recruiting.
    People in the national media had this game circled on their calendar from day 1. Having those eyeballs on your team gets people talking about your program. Good for Georgia.
    Perception is reality. The perception is that Georgia is beginning to turn the corner. That’s what we want people to think. See #3 for further details.

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