Rapid Reaction: Georgia wrecks Georgia Tech behind smothering D, efficient Stetson Bennett
With a crowd predominately dressed in red at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia completed its undefeated regular season in dominant fashion.
Georgia did it with the same formula it’s used all season. Stetson Bennett began in efficient fashion with 9 completions to 9 different receivers, including an 11-yard TD pass to Ladd McConkey as he hit the pylon to score. But the most newsworthy addition to the offense was the presence of George Pickens, who made his season debut early in the game. Pickens got his first catch of the season on the first play from scrimmage to start the second half.
After Bennett gave way to JT Daniels and then Carson Beck, Georgia rolled 45-0 over Tech, as the Bulldogs moved on to focus on next week’s SEC Championship against Alabama.
Brock Bowers blew the game open with his second catch of the game, a 77-yard catch when he used another gear to separate from the Tech defense. It was his ninth touchdown of the season, the most ever by a Georgia tight end in program history. Georgia led by 24 points in just 19 minutes. Bowers tacked on another touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. That gave Bowers 3 catches for 100 yards, and had plenty of people wondering why the freshman was not among the 3 finalists for the Mackey Award given to the Most Outstanding Tight End in the country.
Georgia’s defense continued its suffocating ways, as it came into the game leading the nation with its averages of 236 yards and 7.5 points allowed per game. Tech didn’t cross the 50-yard line until 7:03 remaining in the first half. Tech only had 6 plays in Georgia territory in the first half, and they produced 5 yards.
It was largely a walkover by halftime as Georgia piled up 272 yards, to just 67 for Tech even though the Bulldogs were 0-for-3 on third down. The Georgia defense held Tech to just 5 first downs and 17 passing yards. For context, Bennett accounted for 233 total yards in the first half.
Georgia had 5 tackles for a loss in the first half, and continued its stranglehold on some of the top defensive statistics in the country. The Bulldogs came in leading the nation in points allowed (7.6) and total yards 236.3, and was second in rushing yards allowed (77.2), third in passing yards (159.1) and fourth in sacks (38).
By the time Kenny McIntosh scampered 59 yards for a touchdown with 3:45 left in the third quarter, Georgia’s longest run of the season, the celebration officially began for the Georgia faithful as it took the score to 38-0. McIntosh got some scissors blocking from the tight end tandem of Bowers and Darnell Washington, who criss-crossed each other to provide the lane in the Tech defense for McIntosh.
The win meant Georgia has won the last 4 games, and 10 of the last 12 in the series.
Tech came in struggling in several areas during a 5-game losing streak, and coming off 55-0 loss at No. 6 Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets could not avoid their third three-win finish in as many seasons with coach Geoff Collins. Because of that, Georgia was favored by 35 1/2 points.
But this loss meant Tech ended the season on a 6-game losing streak, the longest such streak for the program since 1994.
While Georgia continued to control the state championship, the Bulldogs are playing for more than that this season, as next week’s bigger game in Atlanta will help Georgia solidify itself atop the College Football Playoff bracket.
Georgia can now officially focus on a rivalry it’s been on the other side of in recent years. Georgia has lost its last 6 against Alabama, including 2 in the SEC Championship Game and one for the national championship following the 2017 season.