College football doesn’t have an exhibition season like the NFL. There are no games in August to work the kinks out before the season starts for good.
Instead, college teams have to play games like Georgia did Saturday. The Bulldogs hosted Troy, a team from the Sun Belt Conference. This was one of those “cash for clunker” games, where Georgia just needed a team to fill out their schedule and wrote a team a big check to come and get beat.
After last week’s loss to South Carolina, and facing seven straight SEC games starting next week, Georgia needed to work the kinks out. The Bulldogs needed a game like this, even if some of those kinks had already been exposed by the Gamecocks.
Troy wasn’t very good. In fact, the Trojans were horrible. There was no DeMarcus Ware or Osi Umenyiora on this Troy team. But that’s OK. Georgia needed to feel better about itself considering what happened last week.
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Mission accomplished. A 66-0 win will do that every time.
“You have expectations when you’re playing teams like this that you don’t want to just come out and win, but you want to dominate,” Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason said. “You want to send a message. I thought we did on both sides of the ball.”
It is difficult to know what to take from a game like this. But still, pretty much everything Georgia did was positive.
“I don’t really know what it did for us,” Mason said. “No offense to Troy by any means, but the competition in this league is going to be better than what we played (Saturday). (Saturday) was all about taking care of business. The maturity of this team was at a high level. There was really no lag coming over from the South Carolina game. There was still no feeling sorry for ourselves like we were still focused on that game. We showed up. We played great.”
Georgia came out determined to run the ball. It was almost as if the coaching staff said, “OK, we heard you. We’ll run the ball.”
Considering the controversy from last week at South Carolina, that was a good thing. Plus, with the talent in the backfield at running back, why not run the ball?
Todd Gurley touched the ball the first four plays for Georgia in the first quarter. He had 70 yards. It was a sign of things to come.
The running backs dominated. Gurley finished with 73 yards on six carries. There was no need to use him more than that in a game that was finished before it began. Sony Michel was actually the star. He had 155 yards on 10 carries and showed he’s pretty good, too.
It’s amazing for Georgia to have this talent group of running backs. It’s what makes this team dangerous, and it’s also what made the fan base so frustrated last week after the loss to South Carolina.
No, the decision to not run Gurley or one of the others on first-and-goal from the Gamecocks’ 4 was not the only reason Georgia lost. But when you see what the Bulldogs could have done instead of that pass play, using these great backs, it makes it more difficult to accept.
This is a special group of running backs. And we shouldn’t be surprised by anything they do anymore.
“I’m expecting it now,” offensive tackle John Theus said. “You see it every week, and we kind of take it for granted. We’ve known since camp and the whole preseason that these guys can play. It’s good to have those freshmen come in and help the depth out. The stable of running backs we have is awesome. I expect it from them every week and they deliver.”
All-in-all, it was a pretty good exhibition. It will help Georgia moving forward knowing how well the Bulldogs can play and how great they are when they run the ball. It’s just unfortunate they didn’t have this tune-up before the South Carolina game. It might have showed them what they had to do to make the result in Columbia a bit different.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at www.twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.