Here are Georgia's grades following Saturday's 48-6 win over Southern.
Georgia had much more trouble with its running attack than expected in the first half against Southern. Nick Chubb only had 31 yards at halftime with the Jaguars selling out against the run. It was a situation where Southern, an FCS school which gave up 62 points to Louisiana Tech, was winning the battle up front against one of the nation’s top offensive lines. That alone gives Georgia a B-minus, considering how overmatched the Jaguars should have been from start to finish. In the second half, Georgia made the necessary corrections and started dominating Southern up front. But in a game like this, Georgia’s offense should have had way more than the 20 points it had at halftime.
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Along the same lines as the offensive grade, Georgia was sleepwalking on defense through the second quarter after jumping to a 17-0 lead. The Jaguars’ offense was able to turn out 93 of its 150 first-half yards in the second quarter and ran the ball at an efficient clip. Southern also began the game 4-of-7 on third down, before Georgia was able to clamp down and turn away its next nine third-down opportunities. But again, that second quarter stands out as something Georgia should have never allowed to happen. On the contrary, that’s easier said than done when a three-game slate of Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri loom after a meeting against Southern.
Special teams: C
The good and bad were mixed once again for Georgia on special teams. Georgia did a good job containing Southern’s burner Willie Quinn, although the shifty 5-5 “stick of dynamite,” as head coach Mark Richt called him, was able to break two decent-sized returns. Quinn, for his effort, did a good job making defenders miss as opposed to taking advantage of Georgia being out of position. Malkom Parrish also blocked a punt, which helped set up Georgia’s first touchdown drive of the game. Marshall Morgan made two field goals, including a season-high 47-yarder. However, Collin Barber miss-hit a punt that traveled only 24 yards. The special teams kickoff and punt return groups did not gain much ground, totaling 37 yards in both areas.
These games worry coaches more than you think. Richt and the coaching staff did a great job of motivating the players after a lackluster first half. It’s tough to ensure all 120 guys are all jacked up to play a team like Southern when Alabama is up next. Georgia started the game flat and, whether the players will admit it or not, they probably heard plenty from the coaches at halftime. The Bulldogs played with more of a purpose in the second half and rolled to the easy victory many predicted would take place after only 30 minutes of play.