In their fourth SEC matchup of the season, the Georgia Bulldogs pummeled the Vanderbilt Commodores 55-0.
Georgia had a few key pieces missing on both sides of the ball, but that didn’t prevent them from shutting down Vanderbilt.
On offense, the Bulldogs were without wide receiver AD Mitchell for the fifth straight week, and they were also without running back Kendall Milton. Wide receiver Ladd McConkey also sustained an ankle injury in the beginning of the third quarter. He was held out the rest of the game, but head coach Kirby Smart assured that he was okay and could’ve gone back in.
Despite their absences, Georgia was still able to generate explosive plays that stretched out the defense. They had 15 plays that went for 10 yards or more, and 10 of those plays went for 15 yards or more. The offense had 11 different receivers, and all of them had at least two receptions.
Senior running back Kenny McIntosh was the hot hand to start the contest for the Bulldogs. He caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Stetson Bennett for the first score of the game, and came right back with a 7-yard rushing touchdown. That gave the Bulldogs an early 14-0 lead and many Bulldog playmakers stepped up from that point on.
Freshman wide receiver Dillon Bell led the team in receptions with five, and accumulated 54 yards along with a touchdown. Junior Darnell Washington also had an impressive outing with four receptions for 78 yards. The 6’7 270-lb tight end had a nice one-handed grab along the sideline that helped Georgia on one of their scoring drives. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Ladd McConkey had 4 receptions for 49 yards, and junior wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint caught the ball three times for 48 yards. Junior running back Daijun Edwards ran the ball 10 times for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt junior Dominick Blaylock was able to haul in a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. It was Blaylock’s first touchdown since he was freshman back in 2019. Blaylock has been battling knee injuries since his freshman year with a couple of torn ACLs. All of his teammates and coaches were proud of his accomplishment after a long, tough road to recovery.
“It’s really amazing,” Rosemy-Jacksaint said. “He would go through a lot of injuries, lot of adversity. He was down at one point, but to see him keep fighting, keep working, grinding, and working on his craft. The whole sideline was excited for him.”
Redshirt sophomore Arik Gilbert was also able to get into the end zone for the first time since his freshman year at LSU in 2020. He was away from the Georgia team last year due to personal reasons, and his team was very excited for him the get that touchdown.
On defense, the Bulldogs pitched a shutout despite the absences of defensive tackle Jalen Carter and inside linebacker Smael Mondon.
They held the Commodores offense to 150 total yards, and they only averaged 3.2 yards per play and 2 yards per rushing attempt.
With this victory, Georgia moves to 7-0 on the season, and 4-0 in the SEC. The injury-riddled Bulldogs now enter their bye week where they are expected to recover and prepare for The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against the Florida Gators.
Offensive Player of the Game: RB Kenny McIntosh- 9 rushes 43 yards, TD, 2 receptions 21 yards TD
Defensive Player of the Game: S Christopher Smith- 5 solo tackles, 1 TFL
- Bulldogs continue to establish depth
With key players out for the past couple of weeks, lots of players behind them have been asked to step up in their places. In this first half of the season, Georgia has been able to play lots of players in meaningful situations, when they weren’t expected to do so this early on. Georgia is going to need as many bodies as possible at each position group in order to get through the entire season.
- This freshman class will be one to remember
The Georgia Bulldogs have been able to feature a lot of players from this true freshman class. Outside linebacker Mykel Williams and safety Malaki Starks were the two most highly-touted freshmen coming in, and they’ve earned the most playing time so far. Both of Starks and Williams have made big plays with the first-team defense and show a lot of potential they have yet to tap into. The Bulldogs have also been able to play linebacker Jalon Walker, defensive lineman Bear Alexander, and cornerback Daylen Everette in meaningful minutes at times as well.
On offense, Dillon Bell has been the true freshman with the biggest role as a receiver. He’s now caught passes in four straight games, and had his biggest game of his career today against Vanderbilt. Running back Branson Robinson has shown promise as a runner after a big game last week, and many people see him as the future at running back for Georgia. There are many other true freshmen that I did not mention, but they have been able to get on the field some when the game is out of hand. Once this freshman class matures into their second and third seasons, they could eventually become of the best classes Georgia has ever seen.
- The real tests are coming up
Although Georgia has been impressive overall this season, their toughest games are coming up after this bye week. Of course, they will play Florida in Jacksonville in two weeks. Georgia is likely to be favored big, but that game is always tough no matter who’s wearing those uniforms.
After that game, the Bulldogs will face their toughest test against Tennessee. The No. 6 Volunteers just closed out a huge home win over No. 3 Alabama 52-49. That was there first time beating the Crimson Tide since 2006, and it was the most points the Tide have given up to an opponent since 1907. Tennessee’s quarterback Hendon Hooker looks like one of the best in the country at his position, and had a strong 5-touchdown performance today.
The Bulldogs will then face off against two currently-ranked teams Mississippi and Kentucky. Then, they will of course play against their rival Georgia Tech. Georgia still has a long way to go in order for them to return to where they were a year ago, and we’re about to see what they’re made of very soon.