Here is how Georgia graded out in Saturday’s 20-19 win over Notre Dame.
Georgia’s offense had its share of highlights. Terry Godwin’s touchdown catch may wind up being one the best anyone sees across the country all season long. Javon Wims jumped high for a deep completion. The run game was able to bust some big gainers at times.
The offense, however, had its fair share of missed opportunities. Wims dropped a touchdown pass. Mecole Hardman dropped a touchdown pass. A penalty turned a big gain from D’Andre Swift into a 2-yard run.
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Head coach Kirby Smart expressed disappointment in the offense after the game. It felt like Georgia should have put up many more points than it did against Notre Dame’s defense.
This performance is why Kirby Smart was brought to Athens. Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy played the best games of their careers. Roquan Smith was all over the place making plays and preventing running back Josh Adams from getting to the edge.
The secondary more than held its own against Notre Dame’s big receivers. The Fighting Irish were limited to 265 total yards. For as much as it was made about Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush's rushing ability, he finished with 1 yard on 16 carries.
This was one of the best defensive performances Georgia has had against a top-25 opponent in a long time, which includes last year’s win over Auburn.
Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker had a great game-plan that was executed to near perfection.
Special teams: B
Rodrigo Blankenship, now on scholarship, made two of his three field goal attempts, with his lone miss coming from 44 yards. Blankenship also didn’t have the kind of success he enjoyed on kickoffs a week ago.
But his lone touchback against Notre Dame came at the perfect time of the game, following his made 30-yard field goal with over three minutes to go.
Punter Cam Nizialek also didn’t have the kind of game he enjoyed a week ago, but was able to get plenty of hang time on a few of his punts. The punt coverage team did an excellent job to prevent returner Chris Finke from gaining any yards.
The return game also nearly had some big plays bust through. Elijah Holyfield had a long return called back due to a hold. Mecole Hardman was ever-so-close to breaking free for a potential touchdown multiple times.
The defensive coaching staff called an excellent game. That was obvious.
The offensive coaching staff has seen better days. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has previously said multiple times that he would like to “freshen up” the offense. But there were plenty of questionable moments in this particular game.
Nick Chubb received two carries in the third quarter. Yes, two. He only had four carries in the fourth quarter. Georgia also didn’t mix up its types of runs too much either. Most came out of the shotgun, even when the Bulldogs hit some big gainers on runs from under center.
Chaney did have some good moments that just didn’t work out, however. He dialed up a deep shot to Hardman that should have been a touchdown but was dropped. He called a deep pass to Godwin that was overthrown slightly.
Perhaps Chaney’s calls that were scrutinized wouldn’t be as much if the Bulldogs were able to execute on the big plays it easily could have scored on.
Correction: Chubb did receive the first two carries of the third quarter instead of zero as initially written.