Athens Georgia – The #1 ranked Volunteers faced off against the #3 ranked Bulldogs in what was highly anticipated to be College Football’s game of the year. The results? Georgia won. While the box score does not show how truly powerful Georgia was, Tennessee’s only touchdown of the game came with 4 minutes left when they were trailing by 21 points late in the 4th quarter.
It was 24-6 at half time, Tennessee’s first half this season without scoring a touchdown. Georgia’s defense dominated the entire game forcing six sacks, a should have been safety, a pair of fumbles, an interception and holding the best offense in College Football to only 13 points (they were previously averaging 40+ points a game).
The Countdown Begins
Georgia beat two top 10 teams this year: Oregon in the first week of the season and Tennessee this Saturday. Both are high powered offenses that seem to be able to score almost at will. However, this was not the case against the stout Georgia defense. In fact Georgia held Tennessee and Oregon to a combined 19 points, a mark that both offenses average almost double of on their own. This Georgia defense is certainly nothing to sneeze at. With that being said let’s get down to the top 3 plays of the week. Funny enough all three of my picks for Georgia’s top plays of this week come from the first quarter. And this week’s 3rd best UGA play belongs to:
Stetson Bennett played a great game on Saturday. Probably his second best game of the entire season. He completed 68% of his passes for 257 yards, a pair of touchdowns, got a touchdown with his legs and thoroughly outplayed Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker. That rushing touchdown is the third best play of the week. Facing 3rd and 10 from Tennessee’s 13, Stetson Bennett decided it was up to him to make a play.
With an unblocked man bringing immediate pressure from the left, Stetson had to bail out the pocket before he could even make a read. Stet decided he would not only pick up the first down, but also fought through major contact (a huge hit from the defender on his helmet) and pushed into the endzone for a hard fought 6 for Georgia. After that score Georgia would not trail in this game again. A great play for the leader of Georgia’s offense – #13 Steson Bennett.
Ladd McConkey once again had a great game, showing us why it was so tough for Kirby to bench him when he was struggling. McConkey is such an electric athlete with a great combination of both speed and elusiveness always making him a tough cover for a defense; especially for a defense as weak as Tennessee’s, and that is who the 2nd best UGA play of the week belongs to:
After forcing a Tennessee punt from deep inside their own territory, The University of Georgia got the ball back on their own 37 yard line. Georgia was up 7-3 but miffed that their should-have-been safety on the last play of the game had been called back. McConkey certainly made it clear that he was not happy with Tennessee, absolutely burning the defense deep and finding himself wide open for an easy touchdown. It was such a simple but beautiful route.
Ladd started by running a go route and when he reached the defender he cut slightly to the right then accelerated right past him. He found himself wide open with the safety about 10 yards too far from him. Stetson threw an absolute dime and UGA cashed in for 6 on a one play one touchdown drive. UGA had an 11 point lead not even 15 minutes into a game that the whole country expected to be close.
Jalen Carter. Carter hurt himself on one of the very first plays of the season against Oregon. He made his first in-game appearance again last week v.s. Florida, however, his hand print was all over this game in Tennessee. Carter is a highly touted defensive player, known around the country as one of the best defensive players in college football, and will , in my opinion, be a first round pick (and probably top 10) in next year’s NFL draft, and that is why the best UGA play of the week belongs to:
Defensive linemen can be a quarterback’s worst nightmare, and Jalen Carter certainly was. He was disrupting plays early and often, showing Heisman Candidate Hendon Hooker why he is seen as an early first round draft prospect. His play of the game came in the middle of the first quarter on what should have been a Georgia safety. Following a Georgia punt Tennessee started a drive on their own 1. In 2 plays they got to their own 5 facing a 3rd and 6. Carter fully bullied past two lineman and hit Hooker just before he could complete his throwing motion leading to a fumble in the endzone.
Unfortunately Georgia could not recover the ball in the endzone and one of Tennessee’s linemen picked up the ball. He ran forward for maybe half a yard until he was tackled by Georgia’s defense. However, after an official review, the analysts said he had apparently made it out of the endzone and the play was not deemed a safety. This was an unfortunate call, but still Carter made a great play, and hitting Hooker so early in the game was clearly throwing him off his game which translated into a win for UGA.
The entire defense gets a shoutout for a terrific game played against such a prolific and high scoring offense. Holding them to a mere 13 points is very impressive, and Volunteers Quarterback Hendon Hooker was hit 20 times. 20. That is a very high mark and Georgia actually got more sacks this game than they had all offseason.
Also not pertaining to Georgia but worth mentioning that LSU knocked off Alabama that very same night. This means, if both teams win out, Georgia would face LSU and not Bama in the SEC championship and Alabama is essentially knocked out of the playoffs.
That’s just something to think about. Tune in again next week for another top 3 plays of the week.