The game actually felt close for a quarter, even as Georgia crept out to a ten-point lead. Tennessee’s defense played hard and did its best to keep things in check. Unfortunately for them, the Vol offense looked completely ineffective, allowing the Dawgs to shut down John Kelly. A one-dimensional offense and minus-3 in turnover margin is a good way to get your ass beat, and you could see the UT defense slowly have the heart squeezed out of it as the second half progressed.
You know what’s next.
- If I didn’t start the bullet points in praise of Nick Chubb, that would be wrong. It’s the most Chubb-like he’s looked all season — hitting creases, making cuts, bulling his way through people. Revenge is a dish best served in a blowout.
- Is Georgia deeper at running back or defensive line? Discuss.
- We can argue over whether Fromm’s day should be characterized as “good enough” or just plain good, but it does seem like quibbling in the aftermath of a 41-point blowout. The better way to look at his day is that he turned in his fifth straight job of doing what the coaches needed from him. For a true freshman quarterback, that’s more than alright.
- That being said, if you take a peek at Bill Connelly’s advanced box score for the game, check out the difference in Fromm’s performance on standard downs versus passing downs. He stepped up when they really needed him to.
- This is the second straight game they’ve broken my heart by ignoring a wide open wheel route, this one by Michel on the game’s first series that would have been an easy touchdown. Quit teasing me, fellas.
- On the other hand, who needs the Wild Dawg when you decide to let your quarterback keep the ball on the read option?
- Roquan Smith.
- One thing I really like about Hardman’s return game is that he knows the importance of going north-south instead of trying to juke the defenders.
- I can’t figure out what Wynn was doing on Tennessee’s first sack, but I’m guessing that Danielson was right about a busted assignment. There went the perfect season.
- Man, if Thomas had only blocked his man on the Swift pass play, that would have been one sweet TD.
- Did you like Wims beating Shaq Wiggins for the first touchdown? I liked Wims beating Shaq Wiggins for the first touchdown.
- You hate to see a key player get hurt, but how encouraging was it to see the defensive line not miss a beat after Thompson went down?
- The butt fumble was amusing, but it was also the turning point of the game. After Fromm’s bad pick, the hope was that the defense could keep Tennessee out of the end zone and at least hang on to a seven-point lead. Instead, the offense got the ball back and while it didn’t do anything immediately, Nizialek flipped the field and one series later, the offense launched an 87-yard drive that put the team up 17-0 and basically put the game out of reach.
- Tyler Clark had one helluva game.
- Another game, another perfect day for the offense in the red zone. Ho-hum.
- Danielson’s line about there being a “contractual demand” to show the Hobnail Boot play was great. His best moment of the day was late in the first half, as Georgia was driving to go up 24-0, when he said Shoop had no idea what was coming because Chaney’s entire playbook was open. Then came Fromm keeping the ball on the read option for the score.
- The improvement in the secondary since Malkom Parrish’s return is no coincidence. There is a ton of confidence out there, as we saw a second week of almost every pass physically challenged by a defensive back.
- And is there a more improved player over the past two games than Tyrique McGhee? Monster game.
- Offensive line play continues to give me hope. Both sacks came from the left side on what appear to have been busts, but other than that, the line got its footing and mashed hard on run blocking in the second half. Thomas is coming along nicely and the run blocking is noticeably improved when Kindley is in there. I thought Gaillard turned in his best game of the season.
- If you don’t think this team has bought in to playing hard for a full sixty minutes, check out the effort shown on the last touchdown drive, when the game was already far out of reach. Herrien ran with everything he had and Blazevich at one point blocked his defender so well he goaded him into an ejection for fighting.
- If you were disappointed in special teams play, that’s probably because it wasn’t perfect. Blankenship had a kick or two returned (!). And Nizialek shanked a couple of punts. Even with that, though, the Vols didn’t manage a punt return. And how often will you see a punt blocked by somebody’s helmet?
- Chaney turned in another capable week of play calling. He’s comfortable with Fromm and the offensive line, and to that he got to add having Eason healthy enough to insert into the game, which meant he was comfortable letting Fromm run on occasion. Don’t think that won’t keep paying a few dividends down the road.
- Tucker is doing a brilliant job this season. I would expect to hear his name in the mix for the Broyles Award if things stay on course.
- Smart was ready for this game and had his team ready. If you needed any proof that it was a job well done, check out the man celebrating with his players when the game went into victory formation mode.
I said a while back that I thought the Tennessee game looked like the key to Georgia’s season and I stand by that. That doesn’t mean Georgia is a lock for postseason glory; what it does mean is that this team is finding an identity and staying centered in the process. Given the state of the SEC East, you have to like Georgia’s chances in the division. (Let’s not talk about Alabama, though, okay?)
It’s not winning by 41 that was so convincing for me. Georgia is a better team than Tennessee, and any game where it runs up that kind of turnover margin should turn in to a rout, or at least a near rout. What was convincing was that this was the kind of game where an emotional lapse after a big unexpected win would have been totally in character for this program, given the last quarter century, and this team avoided that. One game excellence might be a fluke, but you get the sense that Smart is building something more sustained. That’s exciting.