It was a strange day in college
football as tons of top ranked teams lost their first game. It would see
#2 Oregon lose two nights earlier. And on this day, #3 Alabama, #4
Oklahoma, #6 Texas AM, #9 UCLA, #15 Stanford, #16 LSU, #17 USC and #18
Wisconsin leave the ranks of the undefeated. All helping Georgia in its
quest for the playoffs.
the game against Troy, this Saturday looked like another walk through
for Georgia as they faced the worst team in the SEC in Vanderbilt. The
Commodores did manage a win at home against UMASS, but only by three
points. Otherwise, they were destroyed in their home opener by Temple
37-7, lost even bigger to Ole Miss 41-3 and to South Carolina 48-34. And
all those games were at home. They have one road game to date, a loss
last week at Kentucky 17-7.
Of course, there was that meeting with Georgia last year where they
scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to stun the Bulldogs
31-27. So, they have that going for them.
One problem Vanderbilt has had is lack of discipline with nearly twice as
many penalty yards as their opponents.
Georgia looks to put this one away early with an offense that is
averaging 45.2 points a game, second in the SEC and eighth nationally.
They will be without the services of two of their five backs. Rising
star Sony Michel is out with a left shoulder injury and junior
Keith Marshall will miss the game due to a leg injury.
But there still is that guy wearing #3, Todd Gurley, coming off an
SEC Offensive Player of the Week performance against Tennessee where he
posted a career-high 208 rushing yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.
His rushing total is the most by a Bulldog since 1992 when Garrison
Hearst tallied 246 vs Vanderbilt. This game would not be different
as Gurley gained another 165 yards on 25 carries, added 24 more in
receptions, then put the icing on the cake with a 50 yard pass...the
longest of the season by anyone in a UGA uniform.
No surprise as the Dores started the game with a three and out
including a Leonard Floyd sack.
The Bulldogs got to it quickly with a two minute sixteen second scoring
drive. First, an eight yard catch by Isaiah McKenzie followed by
12 yards by Gurley and a 20 yard pass to Jeb Blazevich. Hutson
Mason hit McKenzie for 12 more to the five yard line. Gurley took
the snap and ran it in for a 7-0 lead
Vanderbilt got a first down on their second drive with the help of an 11
yard run by RB Ralph Webb but no more.
McKenzie took the punt and evaded himself into a negative six yard return
to the 17. Nothing happened this time for UGA or Vandy.
Georgia would start their third drive at their 26 with Bryce Ramsey
at quarterback. But it would be the Todd Gurley Show as the Heisman
candidate accounted for 59 of the 74 yards on the drive. He got a first
down on a 13 yard run that put him past Lars Tate on the team
rushing list. He took another in the air for 15 to the Vandy 27 then
went back to the ground for 13 more and sealed the deal with the final
14 into the end zone. 14-0.
A three and out and a shanked 20 yard punt gave UGA great field
position at midfield. On the first play, Mason hit for TE Chris
Conley for 44 yards and another score 21-0.
Vandy would make it to the UGA 32 but would come up empty after a
missed 49 yard field goal attempt.
Malcolm Mitchell would return after a year on the DL and pull down
a catch for 11 yards but not enough for a first down after a holding
call. Vanderbilt would start from their 34.
The Commodores would finally move the ball by attacking the Georgia
secondary. Stephen Rivers passes of 20 yards to Latevious
Rayford and 36 to Chandler Dorrell got them into the red zone
with Web taking it in to put them on the board 21-7.
Following a Hutson interception by Jahmel Macintosh, Vanderbilt
made it far enough to put up a 34 yard field goal to make it 27-10.
The Dawgs would return the favor when Devin Bowman picked off a
pass and returned it 63 yards for a TD to make it 34-10.
Vandy would get one more score as would Georgia on a Nick Chubb 33 yard
Vanderbilt would have only 132 yards on the ground compared to Georgia's
(Gurley) is a big, physical guy," said head coach Mark Richt. "As
the game wears on, he's in good enough condition where tired tacklers
struggle to get him on the ground. And the linemen see that and they get
excited to block in the third and fourth quarter."
The Bulldogs now get ready for another SEC road game, this time to
"Missouri won the East
last year," said Richt. "They've had this week off and an extra week to
prepare for us, and they're at home (next Saturday). I'm not sure what
else they could be looking for right now."