Every weekend, UGASports.com teams up with 11Alive.com to hand out grades to Georgia’s position groups.
Here is the report card from the Bulldogs’ 45-14 win over Vanderbilt:
Jake Fromm completed 7-of-11 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a beautiful 47-yard scoring strike to Terry Godwin early in the third quarter to all but put the game away for the Dawgs. Fromm didn’t need to do much against the Commodores because of the success of Georgia’s ground attack, but he did manage an almost perfect game from start to finish. Jacob Eason entered in the fourth quarter to get his feet wet but was blindsided by a sack on his first snap, whereupon he lost a fumble. After settling down, the sophomore signal-caller completed all three of his pass attempts, although two attempts resulted in relatively simple possession receptions.
Running Backs: A+
This game was essentially all about the Dawgs’ ground game. On the first drive alone, Nick Chubb gained 69 rushing yards, including a 33-yard score. The senior from Cedartown didn’t stop there, as he finished with 138 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. His counterpart, Sony Michel, actually led the team with 150 rushing yards on just 12 carries and a touchdown. On the whole, the Bulldogs rushed for a whopping 423 yards and four touchdowns, while averaging 7.8 yards per carry.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B+
The top play for the receiving corps was Godwin’s touchdown catch, but Georgia also had a few first-down receptions. While Fromm and Eason combined for just 10 completions, the ball was spread around as six different wide receivers made a reception. There were two drops in the early going. Also, something which will not show up on the stat sheet, the group did an excellent job of blocking on the outside for the running backs. Receivers Jayson Stanley and Trey Blount didn’t catch a pass, but both had great blocks during the game.
Offensive Line: A+
This was the offensive line’s best and most complete game of the season as the Commodores’ defensive line seemingly did not stand a chance from the first snap. The offensive line did allow two sacks, but one was on a play where guard Kendall Baker simply missed his assignment. For the most part, Georgia’s quarterbacks had ample time in the pocket to look downfield. More so, the offensive line did an amazing job paving the way for an exceptional performance by the Bulldogs’ running game. There were huge holes for the tailbacks and the line even moved the scrum a few times, picking up extra yards after Georgia’s runners were locked up with defenders.
Defensive Line: A
Despite being without Trenton Thompson due to an injury, Georgia’s defensive front still limited Vanderbilt to just 2.9 rushing yards per carry on 22 attempts. Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb had a 28-yard run early in the game, but the Bulldogs’ front stiffened, allowing a long run of just seven yards the remainder of the contest. The unit failed to record a sack of quarterback Kyle Shurmur, it did a good job of pressuring him for most of the game. Jonathan Ledbetter led the line with three tackles, including one for loss, and a quarterback hurry.
Roquan Smith led Georgia in tackles for the second week in a row with seven. He added a pass break-up, as well. Spearheaded by Smith, the linebackers did a good job of limiting big plays, both against the passing and running games. Playing with a large club on his hand which limited his ability to get to the quarterback, Davin Bellamy still finished with three tackles, including 0.5 for loss. Middle linebacker Natrez Patrick did not make the trip after being arrested earlier in the week, but Juwan Taylor filled in nicely, totaling three tackles—each of which was a massive, rattling hit.
Defensive Backs: B
Georgia gave up just one passing touchdown, but Vanderbilt’s other touchdown resulted after cornerback Malkom Parrish was beaten by wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb, placing Vandy on the one-yard line. The Commodores’ passing touchdown was from the three-yard line against the second-team defense, when it appeared freshman Deangelo Gibbs got turned around on a slant pattern while thinking he had help over the middle. Other than those two plays, the secondary did a good job covering the opponent. Deandre Baker continues to get better, as he led the group with five tackles, while J.R. Reed looks to be a bonafide standout.
Special Teams: A
Due to the success of Georgia’s offense, punter Cameron Nizialek punted only once but he made the most of the opportunity with a 59-yard boot. Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship made a 27-yard field goal and all of his extra-point attempts, while five of his eight kickoffs went for touchbacks. On a 19-yard punt return by Mecole Hardman, he nearly found a seam which could have resulted in a touchdown. Overall, the unit is exceptional at flipping the field when needed, scores points when appropriate, and seems to only be improving.