UGA Insider: Grading the Dawgs

VIDEO: Kirby Smart gives thoughts on close game against Nicholls

Georgia came away with a win against Nicholls, but the Colonels gave the Bulldogs fits in what was a close 26-24 game. Here are the grades for the Bulldogs.

Quarterback: C

Jacob Eason got his first career start against Nicholls and the true freshman had some growing pains, but all in all had a solid performance. Eason completed 11 of his 20 passes for 204 yards with one of those completions being a 66-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie. With Eason completing just a little over fifty percent of his throws, you could argue for the grade to be a bit lower, but you have to remember that four of his passes were dropped by his receivers. When the game was on the line, Jim Chaney and Kirby Smart put in senior quarterback Greyson Lambert to close out the game, which he did. It will be interesting to see who the coaches decide to start against Missouri, because the quarterback battle will continue.

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Running Backs: D

Nick Chubb just was not Nick Chubb against Nicholls, plain and simple. Twenty carries for Chubb normally amounts to at least 150 yards, but against Nicholls he gained only 80.  Yes, the offensive line play does factor into this grade, obviously, but Chubb was not bouncing out to the edges like he normally does and had a fumble and a dropped pass. Brian Herrien got eight carries, which was the second highest on the team, and he did managed to gain 47 yards. Sony Michel made his season debut, as Smart mentioned that he wanted Michel to get hit a few times, and he did just that with his three carries for only three yards. This group will step it back up, no one is questioning that, but they just had a bad game, bottom line.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: C

Third down conversions are what kept this group in the C range, as they were able to convert on a few throughout the game that helped keep drives alive. Yes, Michael Chigbu had a few dropped passes, but overall the group looked good, which was lead by McKenzie. McKenzie had 61 yards and a touchdown, Terry Godwin was targeted more in this game than he was against UNC, catching three passes for 47 yards, and Charlie Woerner had a reception go for 29 yards. Kirby Smart called out his receivers after the game, saying he had a few who would not block in the run game.  This group is going to go through growing pains this year, but they will also continue to get better.

Offensive Line: D-

Sam Pittman has his work cut out for him with this group. Tyler Catalina, the graduate transfer from Rhode Island, just did not look good, which forced Pittman’s hand to take him out of a few drives and try something different. Isaiah Wynn, one of the stalwarts on the offensive line, also had some uncharacteristic errors in the game. Backup offensive guard Dyshon Sims got called for a couple holding penalties. The strength of this unit for the last few years has been its ability to run block, but they were not able to do that against Nicholls, which is why this game was so close. SEC play is only a week away, and this unit will have to be ready for a very good Missouri defensive line.

Overall Offense: D

Yes, Georgia was able to put up points on the board, but they were favored to win this game by over fifty points, and the starters were expected to be out by halftime. Overall, this type of performance is not going to win you any games in the SEC, and the coaches have a week to get this group readjusted and back to playing the type of football we saw against UNC.

Defensive Line: C

What a game for Trenton Thompson. Thompson finished with eleven tackles, three tackles for a loss, and a sack, and was just dominant throughout the whole game. Besides Thompson, this group did not truly affect the game in any way. The freshmen that Tracy Rocker continues to rotate in are only going to get better with more experience, which will help take some pressure off of Thompson to have to put up massive numbers in order for the defensive line to be successful. Georgia registered zero quarterback hurries against Nichols and is currently last in the SEC in tackles for loss.

Linebackers: C

Natrez Patrick had six tackles, Roquan Smith only had four, and Reggie Carter finished with seven. The play from the inside linebacker position did not stick out, and they missed a few tackles in critical situations. Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy, and D’Andre Walker were not able to create pressure on Nicholls’ quarterbacks, but that was likely due to the QBs dumping the ball off quickly.. Carter was able to pick up a fumble and record a defensive touchdown, which turned out to be crucial, but other than that, this group just did not seem to have the fight in them that we’ve seen in previous games.

Secondary: A-

Georgia’s secondary kept the Bulldogs in the game, no question about it. Aaron Davis forced a fumble which was returned for a touchdown. Dominick Sanders and Juwuan Briscoe had  interceptions, and Malkom Parrish had a pass breakup. Parrish did get turned around on the lone touchdown pass from Nicholls, but this group held the two quarterbacks that Nicholls used to only 111 passing yards. Overall, a solid showing from the defensive backs and they had a ton of big plays that helped win the game for the Bulldogs.

Overall Defense: C+

Georgia just could not seem to stop Nicholls for most of the game and they just did not look like they were motivated, and Nicholls took advantage. A solid outing by the defensive secondary and defensive lineman Thompson were to be expected. There is no excuse to give up 24 points to Nicholls, but turnovers by the Bulldogs offense gave the Colonels the ball on the Georgia 30, 9 and 7-yard lines.

Special Teams: C

For another week in a row, the special teams unit hurt the Bulldogs. McKenzie muffed a punt, which led to a Nicholls touchdown, and on the ensuing kickoff McKenzie touched the kickoff before it went out of bounds, which pinned Georgia deep in their own territory. McKenzie did have a 55-yard punt return as well. William Ham went 2-3 on field goal attempts, with his lone miss being from 52 yards, and four of Rodrigo Blankenship’s six kickoffs were for touchbacks, a big improvement. Overall, this unit needs to cut out mental mistakes, or they could potentially end up costing the team a victory this year.

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