Good morning, y’all. It is colder than a well digger’s bottom up here in Nunsuch, but the cockles of our heart have been made warm by the efforts of our boys in the red and black. It is amazing to see how the collective zeitgeist is raised by the results of the efforts of two groups of young men, “kicking a pumpkin up and down this cow pasture”, as Andy Griffin used to say in, “What it was, was football“.
The game held a great deal of foreboding for most of the Georgia collective. Could our boys actually play better than their coaching had allowed them in the SECCG? Could coach Kirby Smart shake off whatever voodoo Nick Saban holds over him and get the boys past Michigan? Would the defense rise to the occasion against a strong offense in spite of the fact that their defensive coordinator was getting ready to be the head coach of the Oregon Ducks? Had the knowledge exposed a couple of days before the SEC Championship game that Georgia’s all world defensive coordinator Dan Lanning was interviewing for jobs created a let down in the defensive psyche? Could the boys “man up” and get ready for the bruiser’s from Michigan?
Playing under the lights in Miami’s Orange Bowl, the Georgia defense played “lights out” against a pretty good offensive team. The final score was 34-11 for the good guys, but not really that close. As an example of the “Georgia way”, we decided to turn off the intensity in the fourth quarter and allow the Wolverines to get a meaningless score against the scrubs. I pray Kirby Smart will counsel whatever defensive back that was responsible for the blown coverage. Lapse’s of intensity will be exploited by Alabama in the championship game. Oh, did I mention, we’re off to the NCAA final game? Defense: The defense held Michigan to 91 rushing yards, but gave up a whopping 237 yards coming through the air. Perhaps the coolest defensive play was made by linebacker Nakobe Dean when he sussed out a screen pass from across the field and raced like a heat-seeking rocket to tackle the Michigan running back for a loss. It was just a superior effort and showed the intensity of the entire defensive unit. They were back in their soul crushing mode after the debacle against Alabama. Derion Kendrick had two interceptions, and overall the defensive backs played well. Devonte Wyatt recovered a fumble to go with the big licks he was dishing out. Nolan Smith led the group with 8 tackles but was joined in the mayhem by Jordan Davis, Quay Walker and Travon Walker. The defensive group accounted for 4 sacks and 7 tackles for loss. Thanks to the defense for playing with intensity and shutting down the Wolverines. They played like they wanted it. Special teams: Well, they’re called “special” for a reason, right? The best part of special teams is when you have nothing special to report on. Jack Podlesny was 2 of 3 in the field goal department, and 4 of 4 on his extra points. Let’s hope he’s made his last field goal miss of the season. Jake Camarda punted just twice for a 45.5 yard average. When you’re not punting a lot it means things are going well elsewhere. A very competent effort on special teams. Looks like these lads have learned something this year. I hope not all of them are graduating. Offense: Stetson Bennett went the whole way as quarterback, but did have to share his passing duties on a trickeration play with Kenny McIntosh that resulted in a touchdown. Bennett was 20 of 30 for 313 yards with three touchdown and no interceptions. He also had 3 runs for 32 yards which undoubtably would have been tackles for loss with a less mobile quarterback. He was named most valuable offensive player of the game and deservedly so. This was his best game so far and I feel like his efforts have shutdown a lot of his critics. While Running Back U. combined for a total of a 190 yards, there was no stand out back. Zamir White led the pack with 54 yards rushing on 12 attempts and no touchdowns. In fact, there were no rushing touchdowns in this game. That is just unbelievable. All of our scoring came through the air from our much maligned quarterback. Fantastic! James Cook contributed 32 yards rushing, but a whopping 112 through the air and one touchdown. Pooh poohed for being undersized as an under class man he has really come into his own this season. I hope he will be able to get a big payday at the next level. Brock Bowers had 5 receptions that netted 55 yards, with one touchdown. What an amazing true freshman. Sad to say we didn’t get to see him run one in this game. Maybe next time. Time of possession was tilted in our favor, 34.15 minutes to 25.45. We recorded the most first downs 21-16, and dominated Michigan with 521 yards of offense to their 321. We won the turnover wars 3-0. Getting the win for the rematch with Alabama is HUGE! The Seniors will be leaving with over 40 wins for their career, something to not be sneezed at. Hopefully they’ll add one more to the list. “Glory, glory to old Georgia”.