Georgia beat North Texas 45 to 21.
That doesn’t sound too comfortable of a win.
But hidden in the intertwining of the 21 points were two special teams blunders – a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD and a punt block for a TD, as the Bulldogs spotted the Mean Green 14 points.
North Texas was averaging 31.7 points per game and consistently moving the ball against its competition through the first three weeks, but a different Bulldogs’ defense showed up.
I’ve been in the minority thinking this Georgia defense can gel to be as good — or better — than last year’s NFL-filled unit. No, Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo and Shaw Williams aren’t there. It’s just a bunch of hungry, talented no names looking to make a name for themselves. There’s something to be said about that.
Saturday was a step forward.
The Bulldogs held the Mean Green to just 245 total yards and seven rushing yards. That’s improvement no matter who the competition is. The player leading the charge was OLB Leonard Floyd. Floyd recorded six tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks and four QB hurries, and he is quickly becoming a ferocious player in the front seven. In fact, he’s the player we all thought OLB Jordan Jenkins was going to be, but it now looks like Floyd is the one making the push to replace Jarvis Jones’ production, not Jenkins.
Through three games, Georgia’s run defense is allowing 143 yards per game, less than last year’s defense, against two very good rushing attacks, but there’s a whole new test Saturday against one of the top backs in college football – Jeremy Hill.
Hill torched Auburn’s defense for 183 yards and three touchdowns, and he’s the lifeblood of LSU’s balanced attack. Backups Kenny Hilliard, Terrence Magee and Alfred Blue are nice players, but Hill gets to another level. Rarely does one tackler drop him. He makes QB Zach Mettenberger better, and he makes WRs Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham more potent. Hill has the it factor at running back.
And stopping Hill will be A#1 on Todd Grantham’s checklist of preparations.
Georgia will have to pick their poison Saturday. Do they sell out to stop the run and make Mettenberger beat them through the air? I think you have to, if your Grantham and Mark Richt.
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