Georgia football: Grading the Bulldogs after win over Arkansas State
The Georgia Bulldogs are 3-0, but their season really hasn’t even started yet. That comes this week when Notre Dame comes to town.
The first weeks have been nothing but a rehearsal. And even as hot as it is, they’ve barely broken a sweat. Saturday was no different. The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs overwhelmed another outmatched opponent, this time beating Arkansas State 55-0.
These games are a joke. They aren’t at all entertaining, and they really don’t do much to get Georgia prepared for the meat of the schedule. Even Georgia coach Kirby Smart has no idea how his starters will react to playing 4 quarters this week, instead of 2 or 3.
“It’s a good thing (winning easy), but it’s a little concerning that we have not played a 4-quarter game yet. We’re about to go down that road. Will we play the same in the 4th as we do in the 1st? We have physical, tough practices as if we’re in the 4th quarter. Most of our kids will tell you our practices are tougher than the games.”
Here’s what I liked — and what I didn’t like — about the home-opening win over Murray State:
What I liked
D’Andre Swift ready for primetime
Georgia’s talent is obvious in these blowouts, but you still get amazed when you see what running back D’Andre Swift can do. He touched the ball only 11 times but still accounted for 140 yards and a touchdown.
He had a 39-yard run and scored on a 48-yard screen he caught behind the line of scrimmage. He’s definitely the best 2-way threat in the country.
Georgia averaged 8.1 yards per carry and the running game is a machine right now. The offensive line has been tremendous, and the Bulldogs’ great stable of backs has been taking advantage. Four RBs scored a TD Saturday, including James Cook (37-yard run) and Kenny McIntosh (62-yard run).
“The guys are doing a great job up front, doing a great job of communicating. Hopefully they can keep it up and keep it going,” Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said of the offensive line. “It wasn’t very hot out there today, so they didn’t have to worry about that. But let’s keep challenging them and keep making those guys better.
Jake Fromm and his freshman receivers
Fromm had another near-perfect day as a quarterback, and his 2 stud freshman wide receivers played a big role in the passing game success.
From was 17-for-22 passing for 279 yards and 3 touchdowns, and for the most part looked good doing it. He missed on a couple of throws to the end zone, but Dominick Blaylock had 4 catches for 112 yards and a score and George Pickens had 5 catches for 84 yards.
“We treat every game like we’re playing in an SEC Championship or a National Championship, no matter who the opponent is,” said veteran wide receiver Lawrence Cager, who caught a TD pass. “For them (Pickens and Blaylock) to come out and play the way they did with consistency, it’s exciting to see for Georgia for many years to come.”
Defense dominates once again
Pitching a shutout is always a good thing, no matter who you’re playing. And the Bulldogs’ defense is playing at a high level right now.
“I was happy with the way the defense played. We had good matchups outside and we challenged our guys to get their hands on them. They made some plays. … With our bigger people up front, they struggled to move us (in the running game). They could not get us out of there. We controlled the line of scrimmage.”
Arkansas State and only 43 yards on 28 carries and never threatened all day.
What I didn’t like
One last schedule rant
In the past 2 weeks, Georgia has beaten Murray State and Arkansas State by a combined 118-17. Both games weren’t even the least bit competitive and the outcome was never in doubt.
You can go on and on all you want about how hard the SEC is, but it’s ridiculous that the Bulldogs schedule multiple games like this every year.
It’s not the least bit fun for the fans either. Play someone better, so it can get you better prepared for the season.