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Latest Bulldog News

  • Each week after Georgia plays we take a deeper dive into the stats to illustrate what happened, the takeaways for the season, and look ahead to the next opponent. This week we review a bit more from Georgia’s 31-3 rout of Mississippi State, and give a quick statistical preview of Tennessee. LEADING NUMBERS 172.03 QB rating for Georgia’s Jake Fromm, ranking second in the SEC behind Shea Paterson of Ole Miss. 26.8 Terry Godwin’s yards-per-catch this season, the most in the SEC. 76 Pass attempts by Georgia this season, the second-least in the SEC, trailing only Alabama. 7 Nick Chubb runs of 20 yards or longer this season, tied for the most in the SEC. Last year Chubb only had eight. 7.9 Points per game for Dan Mullen’s Mississippi State teams in eight games against a Kirby Smart defense, including seven games at Alabama and Saturday night. 274.6 Yards per game for Mullen’s Mississippi State teams in those eight games. 8-0 Smart’s record vs. Mullen in those games. 379.2 and 29.2 Yards and points per game for Jim Chaney’s offenses in five games against Todd Grantham’s defenses. 21 Three-and-outs forced by Georgia’s defense this season. (7 vs. Notre Dame, 5 each vs. Samford and App State and 4 vs. Mississippi State.) 15 Three-and-outs by Georgia’s offense. (7 vs. Notre Dame, 3 vs. Mississippi State, 1 vs. Samford and 4 vs. App State. )   31 Most points against an SEC team by Georgia in the Kirby Smart-Jim Chaney era: Saturday vs. Mississippi State and last season against Tennessee. 24 Rushing yards for MSU tailback Aeris Williams – 122 less than he had last week vs. LSU. 130 Combined passing (83) and rushing (47) yards for Nick Fitzgerald vs. Georgia – 136 less than he had last week vs. LSU. 20 Touches the past two weeks for freshman D’Andre Swift, after Kirby Smart said post-Notre Dame they had to get Swift the ball more. 33.3 Mississippi State’s red zone percentage, with just one field goal to show for three trips inside the 20. 311 Dominick Sanders’ career interception return yardage, leaving him four short of record-holder Jake Scott. 14 Rodrigo Blankenship’s streak of kickoff touchbacks, dating back to the final kickoff at Notre Dame. -4 Punt return yardage this year for Georgia opponents. 3 Years it had been since Georgia scored on its first offensive play of the game: Hutson Mason hit Chris Conley for a 35-yard touchdown against Charleston Southern in 2014. 203 and 201 Georgia’s rushing yardage and passing yardage. When told Georgia couldn’t have been more balanced statistically than that, Kirby Smart deadpanned: “Well, we could have.” GEORGIA’S PLACE IN SEC STAT RANKINGS 4 Total defense (yards allowed), trailing Auburn, Alabama and Mississippi State (in that order). 3 Rushing defense, trailing Alabama and Kentucky. 6 Passing defense, trailing Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas. 3 Scoring defense, trailing Alabama and Auburn. 8 Total offense (yards allowed). 4 Rushing offense. 14 Passing offense (yards passing). 2 Pass efficiency rating, trailing only Ole Miss. 6 Scoring offense. TENNESSEE SEC STAT RANKINGS 10 Total defense. 14 Rushing defense. 4 Passing defense. 9 Total offense. 9 Rushing offense. 4 Passing offense. 8 Scoring offense. MORE ABOUT TENNESSEE 2 Sacks allowed by the Volunteers this season. 450 Rushing yards for Tennessee RB John Kelly, the most in the SEC. 4.5 Yards-per-play Tennessee managed on Saturday vs. UMass – Georgia averaged 7.5 vs. Mississippi State. 3.5 Tennessee’s yards-per-rush against UMass. 128.2 QB rating for Tennessee’s Quentin Dormady, ranking 12th in the SEC.   The post By the Numbers: More on why Georgia is rolling this season appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – It’d be hard to imagine Georgia playing any better than it did Saturday night against Mississippi State. Maybe Terry Godwin doesn’t drop that one pass late in the third quarter. Maybe Natrez Patrick and J.R. Reed are able to hold Nick Fitzgerald to less than a yard on fourth down and nix that one field-goal drive by Mississippi State. Otherwise, it was close to a perfect day. You know a team played well when its head coach devotes as much time and energy to deflecting praise as he does providing it himself. “We’ve got to do a good job managing our team,” Kirby Smart said toward the end of his postgame question-and-answer session with reporters. “If you have a mature team, they’ll handle things well. It does concern me because I do worry about those guys reading it and believing it. But I was around a guy for 10 years who did a good job of managing that.” That’d be Nick Saban, who has patented “the process” at Alabama. Nobody’s quite ready to start comparing Smart’s second bunch of the Bulldogs to any of Saban’s Crimson Tide juggernauts. But Georgia is exhibiting enough positive traits a quarter of a way into the season to make folks believe they may get to play Bama before this season is over. Here’s what we saw from the Bulldogs versus Mississippi State: Offense: A Quarterback Jake Fromm played a near perfect game, and so did offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. He was 9-for-12 passing the ball and one was a throwaway the other two were drops. The Bulldogs reverted back to more of a pro-style look with the quarterback under center and that translated into some big plays both in the running game and the passing game. In fact, Georgia was almost perfectly balanced. The Bulldogs ran for 203 yards and passed for 201, leading Smart to feign disappointment that they weren’t 202 and 202. Drops by Terry Godwin and Javon Wims didn’t matter in the context of Saturday’s game, but they shouldn’t happen. And a couple of penalties on tackle Isaiah Wynn were aggravating. But generally, there was nothing not to like here. Defense: A Mississippi State came in as the SEC’s top scoring team at 47.7 points per game and had just put 37 on LSU. The Bulldogs held MSU to 280 total yards and just three points. And as State desperately tried to get into the end zone late in the fourth quarter, just for posterity sake. Georgia’s second teamers were able to keep the score where it was, a victory not just for the scoreboard, but also for their future roles on the team, according to Smart. It took four games for the Bulldogs to finally register an interception, and then they came up with two. Deandre Baker picked off the third of his career in the third quarter, then Dominick Sanders hauled in another one off a J.R. Reed tip. Sanders’ pick tied him with Smart, Scott Woerner and two others with 13 in his career. Special Teams: A The remarkable transformation of Rodrigo Blankenship continues. The redshirt sophomore, who earned a scholarship earlier this season, tied his career long with a field goal of 49 yards and continues to crush his kickoffs. He extended his streak of consecutive touchbacks to 14, dating back to his last kickoff of the Notre Dame game. Graduate transfer Cameron Nizialek continued his good work as Georgia’s punter as well. Mississippi State was unable to return any of his four punts, which included a 53-yarder and one fair catch at the 10. Returners have -4 yards against Georgia. The Bulldogs’ returners have yet to bust one themselves, however. Mecole Hardman lost three yards on his only punt return and went 25 yards with his only kickoff return. Coaching: A Smart and Georgia’s staff get the highest of marks for Saturday’s game plan and execution. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney implemented significant changes into the Bulldogs’ offense to maximize the skill set of Fromm at quarterback. Chiefly he had him under center much more in this game, and the Georgia was able to get its play-action game going as a result. Clearly, the Bulldogs have been saving some of their best stuff for the start of the SEC schedule. Meanwhile, Georgia’s defense has demonstrated that it has mastered the art of defending the spread-option attack. They’ve now seen it four weeks running and they’ll see it again from Tennessee in Knoxville next week. Overall: A The Bulldogs did an excellent job of playing within themselves and taking advantage of all the ideal circumstances that surrounded them coming into this contest. Sanford Stadium was packed and rocking. ESPN was in the house for a national broadcast. There was also a parade of blue-chip recruits, that included seven 5-star prospects. It was truly a special night and Georgia made it sure it stayed that way by the way it played on the field. The challenge only grows from here as the Bulldogs likely will head up to Knoxville with a Top-10 ranking and a lot of pats on the back during the week leading up to it. Staying grounded yet improving as the stakes continue to rise is the mission now. The post Report Card: Perfection was in Georgia’s grasp versus Miss. State appeared first on DawgNation.
  • No. 11 Georgia took care of No. 17 Mississippi State 31-3 under the lights of Sanford Stadium. 
  • So far this season the Bulldogs’ defense has been able to do just about everything you could want a defense to do, except one thing. Georgia’s defense had not been able to check the box marked ‘interception’. Well, that was before the third quarter of Georgia’s 31-3 win over Mississippi State. The Georgia defense went from having no interceptions in the first three games of the season to recording two in the third quarter alone in  Saturday’s game. With less than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald’s pass was intercepted by Georgia’s Deandre Baker to give Georgia its first of the year, and third of Baker’s career. While recalling his read on the interception, Baker was quick to pass along the credit to others on the Georgia defense. “It came from a good rush on the d-line and the linebackers dropping into zone,” Baker said. “[Fitzgerald] had to put a little bit of air on it so I thank those guys [up front].” But Baker wasn’t alone in the interception category on Saturday night. In Mississippi State’s next drive, it was Georgia’s Dominick Sanders who recorded the second interception of the night, and the year, for Georgia. That was Sanders’ 13th career interception, which ties him with none other than head coach Kirby Smart, and three other former Georgia players, for the fifth most career interceptions in Georgia history. According to Smart, Sanders thrives on interceptions, but when asked about his thoughts on Sanders passing his career record for interceptions he was quick to give him a knock. “I’m proud of Dominick, it took him a long time,” Smart said with a smile. But more than just a number on a stat line, the two interceptions  tonight were something that the defense felt were necessary. “We needed those,” J.R. Reed said. “We’ve been talking about it all year how we needed interceptions, we have to get those interceptions. We focused on playing to the ball this week.” And while it may have been something that the defense worked on, according to Smart, the opportunities for interceptions were there throughout the first three games, the only difference with  Saturday night was that they were actually caught by the Georgia defense. Smart also emphasized the importance of having a lead to cushion aggressive plays that led to the interceptions. “They come in bunches,” Smart said. “I think when you get people behind the sticks and behind in the game it’s a lot easier to play aggressive. The teams that I have had that have had the most interceptions are the ones that had a lead.” And now that Georgia can finally add two interceptions to the growing list of defensive accomplishments, its something that the offense is ready to start expecting from their defense. “[The interceptions] mean a lot because we know that our defense is going to stop them, but  tonight they showed that they are going to get us the ball back with great field position,” Terry Godwin said. “We know that every time that ball is up in the air there is always a possibility that one of our [defensive backs] is going to come down with it.” The post Georgia picks off big defensive shortcoming with 2 interceptions against Miss. St. appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – During the game, Isaac Nauta showed why he can be such a great weapon for Georgia, and why he was a preseason All-SEC pick. After the game, though, it was fairly apparent he still has to do more to please Kirby Smart. Nauta had one spectacular play in Georgia’s rout of Mississippi State, getting past the secondary to haul in a Jake Fromm pass, then dragging a defender over the goal-line for a 41-yard touchdown play. On other plays, the sophomore tight end showed his improved blocking ability, helping clear space on the outside for Georgia’s running backs. It seemed to be a turning point for Nauta, who was so quiet in Georgia’s first three games. Just three catches for 33 yards. During the broadcast of last week’s win over Samford, television analyst Barrett Jones relayed that Smart was concerned about Nauta’s practice habits, that they had to improve. That was why Nauta wasn’t getting the ball more. Nauta was asked about that Saturday night. “I like to think of myself as a hard worker,” he said. “It was just a matter of being more consistent, practicing. I come out every day with my work hat on and go to work. Coach Smart just wanted to see more consistency out of me at practice. “And I knew that as well. I was having a couple plays where I could do better and I knew it. That’s just going to be my focus every week, is go as hard as I can, be more consistent in practice, and opportunities will come.” A few minutes later, Smart was asked if Nauta’s practice habits improved and if that was reflected in that touchdown play. Initially, Smart answered: “No comment.” But without prodding he quickly did comment. “Isaac continues to improve. We’ll keep working with Isaac,” Smart said. “And he’ll keep doing the things that he’s got to do. I’m glad that he was able to make the play that he made.” Nauta was Georgia’s third-leading receiver last season, hauling in 29 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns. He started five games. So this year he was expected to take on an even bigger role, and perhaps be a breakout player nationally. The talent is there, going back to his five-star rating coming out of high school. But after a quiet first few games, the long touchdown play on Saturday night felt like a long time coming to Nauta. “Man it felt good,” he said. “I’ve been working for it. So it felt good to finally get in there. But no, I was happy to put more points on the board, to further our lead and get a security blanket for us.” The post Georgia tight end Isaac Nauta still working to please Kirby Smart appeared first on DawgNation.