For the first time this season Georgia ever so briefly trailed.
But they were never really losing. The Bulldogs put together an efficient, physical beatdown on the Plainsmen, escaping the Loveliest Little Post-Apocalyptic Shantytown in the Columbus metro area with a solid 34-10 win.
Stetson Bennett once again got the start and once again looked like he deserved it, hitting 14 of 20 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Critically, unlike in his prior two starts in relief of JT Daniels the Mailman did not throw any interceptions.
The Bulldogs had no turnovers at all, and committed no offensive penalties, either. It was a surgical effort, to the extent that surgery can be performed with a sledgehammer. 432 yards of total offense is a creditable total. And long completions to Ladd McConkey (60), Brock Bowers (33) and Darnell Washington (25) were all impressive.
But the Red and Black’s 231 yards on the ground was the real highlight. Three Bulldog tailbacks and Stetson Bennett all averaged over 4.0 yards per carry and at no point did Georgia ever truly find itself stymied on the ground as they sometimes did early in the year. When the Dawgs wanted (or needed) to run the ball, they generally did so.
Particularly, Todd Monken’s charges churned out four drives in the second half of over four minutes apiece. In the process they slowly but surely broke the will of the Tiger defense, depriving the Plainsman offense of any chance to get back in the game.
Speaking if that offense, the Bulldog defense chased Bo Nix like lions after a gazelle, his receivers didn’t do him many favors either, dropping a handful of passes that could have kept this one tight.
Nix was 21 of 38 passing, which in its own doesn’t sound awful. But those completions averaged 5.7 yards apiece, as the Dawg defense pursued just as relentlessly after he released the ball as they did before. Auburn’s Bryan Harsin said this week that his team needed to be able to run at the UGA defense. It was a laudable goal, but in practice it wasn’t that easy. Auburn managed only 46 yards on the ground, averaging a puny 1.6 yards per attempt. That total would have been slightly better but for Nix’s -16 yards on 10 attempts that ranged from the resigned to the outright frantic.
The Classic City Canines have now won 14 out of 17 matchups in what was once one of college football’s most closely contested historic rivalries. And it feels great. Vanderbilt has actually has a better record against Georgia over the same span. We should start calling this the Deep South’s Oldest “What’s Your Excuse This Year Aubbie?” Party.
I hate Auburn. But I don’t fear them.
Georgia now returns home to take on a resurgent Kentucky team that comes to Athens with legitimate College Football Playoff aspirations. Maybe they’ll pose a bigger challenge than these cats. Until later…