Damn, all those first team reps and the team is still all “not ’til Kirby says so”.
Inject these stats directly into my veins.
When’s the last time a Georgia quarterback generated numbers like that? (Well, except for the pressure line.)
If you’d have told me before the game that (1) Mississippi State would hold Georgia to eight yards rushing; (2) MSU wouldn’t turn the ball over; (3) Georgia’s defense would give up two rushing touchdowns; and (4) Will Rogers would complete almost 80% of his pass attempts, I would have told you… well, after cursing first, I would have told you that sounded like it checked all the boxes for an embarrassing upset loss to a severely undermanned Mississippi State team.
Fortunately for Kirby Smart and his team, JT Daniels chipped in with an epic performance that I doubt anybody saw coming. I know I didn’t.
Cue the bullet points.
Georgia is in an unusual place. Many of the assumptions we and the coaching staff had about this season before it got underway have proven to be unreliable. Strangely enough, though, much of that has led me to a sense of optimism about where things may be heading. I do think the o-line problems are fixable. If Kirby Smart can’t address what’s wrong with the defense, well, then, I don’t know who can. Meanwhile, the burning problem that’s plagued this team since Jamie Newman took an untimely powder looks to be addressed.
Mixed bag? Eh, maybe. Even so, I’m looking forward very much to seeing what this team can do this week in Columbia.
Yeah, JT Daniels really brought something Saturday night this Georgia program’s been starving for — the deep ball.
Ain’t that the truth. And he did it over and over again.
The Bulldogs mustered three pass plays of 40 or more yards in the first six games. They had four on Saturday.
“I’m smiling when the ball goes 50 yards,” Salyer said.
There were seven pass plays of 30 or more yards in the first six games. There were five on Saturday to three different receivers — Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson and Demetris Robertson — and that’s with George Pickens’ longest catch on the night of 28 yards.
And with two drops in the end zone, I might add.
It was something of an historic performance, as Weiszer notes.
It certainly didn’t keep him from going where no Georgia quarterback has gone in a Bulldog starting quarterback debut with his 401 passing yards.
Nobody had even hit 300 yards passing in his first start going back to at least 2001.
Hutson Mason came the closest with 299 against Georgia Tech in 2013.
D.J. Shockley threw for 289 against Boise State in 2005 and five touchdowns.
David Greene passed for 285 and two touchdowns on 21 of 29 passing against Arkansas State in 2001.
True freshman Matthew Stafford passed for 107 yards without a touchdown against UAB in 2006.
Georgia and its fans can only hope that Daniels showed what’s to come in this Monken offense.
And that’s the thing — can we? Daniels faced a defense that sold out to stop the run and left him with tons of one on one matchups that he and his receivers were able to exploit. What happens when he faces defenses that don’t take such an extreme approach? (Aside from Georgia being able to run the ball better, that is.)
PFF notes the downside to an historic performance.
Not only did Daniels have the most surprising performance of the night, but he might have very well had the most surprising performance of the entire 2020 season.
After struggling in his true freshman season back in 2018 at USC, tearing his ACL in the 2019 opener, losing his starting job and subsequently transferring to Georgia, Daniels finally put together that five-star performance many were expecting from the get-go.
Though it wasn’t all peaches and roses for Daniels to start in Week 12. On his first drive back since his injury in 2019, Daniels looked like the quarterback we saw in 2018 when he put up a 59.8 PFF grade that ranked 118th in the FBS. He threw one right to the linebacker that ended up being a dropped interception, and then the next play took a bad sack that ended the drive.
From that point on, Daniels was nearly perfect. He recorded a 97.0 passing grade following that first series, featuring six deep completions for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
It was a promising debut for Daniels, who quite frankly has never played as well in his entire collegiate career. We still need to see a lot more from him before we proclaim him the Bulldogs’ saving grace, but if Daniels does manage to keep this up, it would be a statistical anomaly.
He really played at a different level than he showed at USC. Is that sustainable? I think it is, based on the surrounding talent and Todd Monken, but that may be the romantic in me. I have to admit, for now at least, it’s a valid question.
This might be the most arrogant attitude from a mid-major squad since Danny White showed his ass after UCF’s undefeated season.
Hint: you won’t be in the top four, BYU.
This is the kind of call that comes back to bite you in the ass. Play Washington and win, and you just might cement an undefeated season with a CFP appearance. Instead, you get to keep dragging Sagarin’s 112th rated strength of schedule around like a ball and chain. Well played.
I think it’s worth pointing out that quarterbacks may come and go at Georgia this season…
… but Todd Monken’s play design abides.
Shot and chaser:
The man really doesn’t GAS what people think of him. I kinda have to respect that, in a weird way.
You may not be satisfied with JT Daniels’ first start not coming until this past weekend, but you’re not JT’s father.
“I was out here in August and saw JT in a scrimmage, and you could tell he wasn’t 100 percent,” Steve Daniels said, referring to the Aug. 29 closed scrimmage that Smart allowed parents to attend.
“You could see it in JT’s throws, he wasn’t able to get the same velocity on some of his passes, and that’s one of the things that separates him, is his accuracy.”
… Steve Daniels explained why the family did not second-guess, even though he knew his son was eager to play at Georgia after selecting the Bulldogs over the likes of Washington, Michigan and Tennessee.
“As parents, Ali and I feel blessed to be at a place like Georgia with a coach like Kirby, who put our son’s health first and foremost,” Steve Daniels said. “Kirby didn’t rush him or put him out there too soon, and that’s why you come to a place like this, for this kind of support.
“Look at the support Kirby and the staff gave D’Wan Mathis the year before.”
Gee, I wonder how that plays on the recruiting trail. And, just maybe, how it should play with the fan base.
Another week, another set of net yardage figures in the book.
Here’s the conference order by net yards per play, with the offensive ypp and defensive ypp, respectively, in parenthesis.
As I’ve been doing, I also show the week-to-week change in the net figure (stats via cfbstats.com.)
Here’s the current order for turnover margin.