Here are some thoughts at halftime, with Georgia leading Tennessee 24-17.
Nick Chubb’s knee injury looked gruesome.
I’ll wait until there is official confirmation on the damage done, but as everyone saw, it’s a serious one. Georgia was quick to rule Chubb out for the remainder of the game for obvious reason. You can’t help but feel for Chubb, who’s done a lot for this program in just his second season. And the injury itself was one that makes you think about his long-term status. CBS sideline reporter Allie LaForce reported Chubb fainted while attempting to walk with the training staff to the locker room. He had to be carted off from there. The injury occurred on the game’s first play of the game and looked devastating. It could be tough for the Bulldogs to be without their heart and soul.
In Chubb’s absence, Sony Michel came has stepped up.
Michel was like a pinball out there, bouncing off and juking by Tennessee defenders. On a 66-yard run, Michel broke at least five tackles, although he did have the football punched out from him, but out of bounds. Michel becomes the top tailback on Georgia’s offense with Chubb out. In the first half, Michel totaled 124 rushing yards on 13 carries. He’s now the lead dog in the backfield and will see increased action from here on out.
Georgia did its best job to allow Tennessee back in this game.
Georgia was up 24-3 and rolling. But then the Bulldogs allowed the Volunteers to drive down the field, with quarterback Joshua Dobbs finding receiver Josh Smith for a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Sony Michel fumbled and Tennessee recovered. In a matter of 37 seconds, the Volunteers went from being down 21 to trailing by seven. For a moment, it looked like Georgia was putting in a performance like Alabama’s a week ago. And then in a matter of moments, Tennessee got itself right back in this game.
Both teams tackled poorly on defense early in the first half.
But as bad as it got for Georgia at times, the Bulldogs were able to shape up around the goal line, at least in the first quarter. When Tennessee threatened early, outside linebacker Davin Bellamy forced a fumble from Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd. Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd took the fumble 96 yards for a touchdown. And then later, Tennessee was forced to settle for a field goal. Of course, poor tackling ended up doing Georgia in, which allowed the Dobbs-to-Smith score in the second quarter. And on Tennessee’s second touchdown drive of the half, Quincy Mauger missed what would have been a key tackle. The Bulldogs will need to do a better job of wrapping up and tackling in the second half
Yes, Reggie Davis returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown.
Outside of that, Georgia was dismal once again on special teams. Kicker Marshall Morgan missed a 41-yard field goal attempt and later had to make a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff that Tennessee broke close to midfield in the second quarter. For as well as Michel played as a running back, he lost a fumble on a kick return, which set up Tennessee’s second touchdown. Special teams have been a big issues for Georgia this year and that’s continued Saturday.