Saturday, September 25, 2021

Dawgs Slam The 'Dores

UGA Sports Communications

The second-ranked Dawgs started fast and cruised to a 62-0 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores in front of 32,178 fans at Vanderbilt Stadium and an SEC Network nationally televised audience on Saturday afternoon.

Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) tallied 532 yards of offense: 291 passing and 241 rushing. Junior tailback Zamir White led the Dawgs' runners with 48 yards on nine carries and a touchdown.

Redshirt junior quarterback JT Daniels finished 9-for-10 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns before senior quarterback Stetson Bennett relieved him in the second quarter. Bennett finished 11-for-15 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown, while freshman tight end Brock Bowers led the team with four receptions for 69 yards and three touchdowns – one rushing and two receiving.

On the defensive front, the Dawgs held the Commodores (1-3, 0-1 SEC) to just 77 yards of total offense, including only 53 on the ground. The Dawgs also racked up two interceptions, a sack, and four tackles for loss. Senior outside linebacker Robert Beall led all tacklers with three solo stops, while a slew of Dawgs totaled three tackles.

“I was proud at how fast the guys started,” said Kirby Smart. “I’m really proud of our fan base. I thought the turnout was incredible, as it normally is when we come up here. Our guys came out here and started fast. That was the goal all week... We talked about starting fast and playing to our standard.”

“Tough atmosphere to play in early on. From warm-ups throughout. We talked about it being early, not letting it be an excuse. If you’re going to be elite as a team, you have to be elite all the time. Not some of the time. That is not how elite teams play. Our guys embraced that and I’m proud of them,” Smart said.

After winning the coin toss and differing to the second half, the Georgia defense immediately made their presence known by forcing back-to-back Vanderbilt three-and-outs. On offense, the Dawgs made quick work. Bowers, a native of Napa, Calif., took an end-around for a 12-yard touchdown before catching a 25-yard touchdown pass on the next Georgia drive.

Back-to-back Commodore turnovers led to the Dawgs' next two scoring drives. First junior Jaylen Johnson forced a fumble on kickoff, which led to White punching one in from the goal line. On the very next play from scrimmage, senior defensive back Christopher Smith recorded his second interception of the year. Two plays later, Daniels found redshirt-freshman Ladd McConkey for a 12-yard touchdown pass, his first career score.

“It felt good to get my first touchdown,” said McConkey. “At the end of the day, the win is all that matters. It was good to have some individual accomplishments, but as long as we win that is my biggest thing.”

After forcing yet another Vanderbilt three-and-out, McConkey found the end zone again. This time on a 24-yard end-around run to give the Dawgs a 35-0 lead in the first quarter. Georgia continued to dominate and cruised to a 62-0 win, in the two teams’ first meeting since 2019. The Dawgs move to 59-20-2 all-time against the Commodores after today’s win.

“The vibe on the sideline is always positive, but we still treat every play likes it’s 0-0,” said junior outside linebacker Nolan Smith. “We try to always cause more turnovers. We have a standard here. We always try to meet that standard every game…We always say that there is no drop-off. If you’re on the field, you’re a starter… We say no one gets in our endzone, and that’s the standard for everybody.”

Post Game Notes

UGA Sports Communications

Another Shutout By The Defense: Georgia posted its sixth shutout in the Kirby Smart era and the fourth in an SEC game with today’s 62-0 victory. Today marked Georgia’s second biggest margin of victory ever in an SEC game, trailing only a record 75-0 win over Florida in 1942. VU finished with 77 yards on 46 plays. At halftime, VU had 50 yards on 25 plays as the Dawgs led 38-0. It marked the third time this year that Georgia has blanked a team in the first half. Coming in today, Georgia ranked second in the SEC, allowing just 7.7 points per game. Today was Georgia’s first shutout since blanking Missouri 27-0 in 2019.

Huge Margin Of Victory: The 62-point margin of victory was the largest since 2014 when Georgia blanked Troy 66-0. The Dawgs have won their last three games by at least 27 points, marking the first time they have done that since the 2017 season when they did it six times.

Pair of Dawgs With Rushing & Receiving TDs: Freshman TE Brock Bowers had four catches for 69 yards with 2 TD receptions plus one TD on the ground. Bowers’ first career rushing TD was a 12-yarder on his first career carry while his TD catches covered 25 and 29 yards. He is the second Dawg to have a rushing and receiving TD in the same game this year, joining James Cook who did it versus USC last week. Then, they were joined by redshirt freshman Ladd McConkey who did it as well today in the first half. He notched his first career TD, a 12-yard catch and then his first career rushing TD, a 24-yarder. McConkey ended up with four catches for 62 yards, both career-highs, all coming in the first half. Also, he had two punt returns for 19 yards today.

Quick Strike For Offense and Day For Daniels: In the first quarter, Georgia QB JT Daniels finished 9-for-10 for 121 yards with 2 TDs to help build a 35-0 lead and was done for the day, improving to 7-0 as a starter at UGA. He had a 25-yard TD pass to freshman Brock Bowers on third down and eight. His lone incompletion was a drop. Georgia’s 35-point outburst in the first quarter was the most points scored in a quarter since tallying 42 in the second quarter against New Mexico State in 2011. Senior QB Stetson Bennett played most of the rest of the game until giving way to Carson Beck. Bennett ended up 11-for-15 for 151 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The offense tallied 326 yards on 43 plays in the first half and finished the game with 524 yards on 76 plays.

Points Off Turnovers: Georgia scored 14 points off three turnovers while the Commodores got no points off one Dawg INT. There was a VU fumble on a kickoff forced by Jaylen Johnson, recovered by Daijun Edwards who returned it to the VU 4. Georgia’s Christopher Smith notched his 2nd INT of the year and returned it to the VU 21. Freshman Kamari Lassiter got his first career pick, making a diving catch at the UGA 1.

Special Teams Summary: Senior punter Jake Camarda had two punts for a 35.0 average and handled all but one of the kickoffs. Junior Jack Podlesny was 8-for-8 on PATs to improve to 22-for-22 in PATs this season plus he made two field goals covering 31 and 36 yards and took care of one kickoff. He is 4-for-6 in FG this year.

For Starters & Game Captains: Georgia had one first-time starter today in freshman Kelee Ringo (DB). The captains were senior Jake Camarda (P), junior Nolan Smith (LB) and junior John FitzPatrick (TE). Georgia won the toss and elected to defer the football until the second half.

Series History & Up Next: With the 62-0 win, Georgia now has a 59-20-2 edge in the series history including 28-12-2 in Nashville. Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) returns to action Saturday at home against Arkansas. Kickoff will be at Noon ET (ESPN).

Thursday, September 23, 2021

SEC Statement On Education Related Benefits

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Alston v. NCAA, the Southeastern Conference presidents and chancellors have voted to confirm that each SEC member university now has the discretion to determine criteria and methods to provide education-related benefits and academic achievement awards to their student-athletes, consistent with the Court’s recent decision.

The Alston decision granted universities the opportunity to provide student-athletes with additional education-related benefits such as computers, science equipment and musical instruments, along with direct financial support in the form of academic achievement awards, up to the legally established maximum of $5,980 per year.

While the Alston decision allows individual conferences to set limits on the new educational benefits, the SEC’s presidents and chancellors have elected not to place additional constraints on Conference members in determining how to provide this new support to their student-athletes.

The unanimous vote by the SEC’s presidents and chancellors was an approval of a recommendation from the Conference’s athletics directors.

“The presidents, chancellors and athletics directors of our 14 universities have determined it is appropriate for SEC athletics programs to have discretion and flexibility to provide support for student-athletes in their academic and athletic endeavors,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “While the Alston decision invited individual conferences to impose limits on education-related benefits and academic awards, the SEC believes it is in the best interests of our student-athletes for these decisions to be made at the campus level rather than through Conference policy.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Dawgs Talk About Vanderbilt

UGA Sports Communications

Coach Kirby Smart 

Opening Statement…

"We're excited for this game and trip to Nashville. Our guys are excited for the opportunity. We didn't get to play them last year, so our guys are looking forward to it. We have to get off to an early start with the early kick time."

On playing good defense without some starters…

"The key to that is a good off-season, recruiting well, and playing a lot of players last year. A lot of these guys that are playing now, played some last year. We're playing a lot of people this year. Somebody said 23-24 guys played in one game. That is what we build this defense on. Moral, effort, playing a lot of guys. When you do that it doesn't matter who starts. It doesn't matter how many returning starters you have because a lot of guys have played."

On the defensive front…

"They play hard. They play with effort. They are good football players. I mean UAB ran the ball on us really well. We have to be able to play with a lot more consistency in what we are doing. We have to be able to mix that at a rate that we don't give up explosive passes like we did last week. You can't be good at one thing. You have to be good at both, and we're not. We are functioning at one or the other each week and not both. That is what our goal is."

On the Vanderbilt QB Ken Seals…

"He's a really good athlete. He's very fast. He's been mobile and makes good decisions. Their quarterbacks are capable of running the ball and creating that extra element with the run. I have a lot of respect for the job he's done in the two games he's played."

On the run game…

"Hot and cold. We've done a good job getting a 4-5 yard average. We always talk about being efficient in the run game. That's different than what your average run is. It's your ability to cut the sticks in half. In one game we were efficient and in one game we weren't efficient. To me, it is very important that you are efficient in your run game because it sets up play action. It allows you to manage third downs… I've been pleased at times, and other times disappointed. It's like everything else, it's not ever one way or the other. It's a work in progress. We are trying to go out there today to get better at it. It's what we're going to focus on."

JT Daniels, Junior, Quarterback

On third down conversions…

"Third down is a huge deal for me, personally and I think for quarterbacks everywhere. When you talk about third down conversion and are in third down, there is a lot less to do terms of play action, a lot less to in terms of running the ball, RPO's, a lot of things that make the games easier kind of go away when third down comes. So, a lot of third down is a lot of pure drop back passing, something that I have always prided myself in and something that I am always looking to improve on being the type of quarterback that I am. Drop back passing has got to be a significant attribute of mine. So, third down passing for me is an indicator of how well I am doing and how well our offense is doing in terms of execution and the drop back pass game."

On his health…
"You know it is getting better every day. It is something that's been hurt since fall camp. It never really goes away, we played Clemson, and there was a little dip, so we focused on rehabbing, more of that last week. We rehabbed as much as we could but this week, we are still doing the same thing, same plan. It is just going to keep getting better and better."

On starting opportunity at Georgia…
"I just, continue to take it day by day. I didn't even realize it has been over a year, obviously it has, but it is not something that I have really thought about. In terms of it, but I think when I look back, I see a lot of growth on my part. Significantly in terms of my leadership, my ability to develop connections with the whole team, I've gotten a lot better with that. I think I have gotten significantly better in terms of understanding the game of football, and it helps coming to a new league. It is very different schematically, offensively, and defensively. But in terms of what is left, I am just going to keep taking it week-by-week. Always have, always will. That is a big emphasis for us, I am fully focused on Vanderbilt. The Vandy game we got on Saturday. I am not worried about what comes after that."

Kenny McIntosh, Junior, Running Back

On JT when he's in the huddle….

"He's a leader. Tells us what we have to get done in the huddle, lets us know all of our assignments. He lets us know to go out there and play as hard as we can and be prepared. He's that type of guy to carry the team in any way he wants to. He's a great leader and he plays that real well."

On the defensive line and who's the most athletic…

"Our whole front seven is very athletic, I feel like all of those guys can definitely go to the next level and play. It's a frustration running against them everyday in practice so I can't really pick one guy out. The whole front seven, the whole defense is just tough to run the ball against and catch the ball. Practices always turn into this competition, we're always going out there to compete so it's hard running against those guys especially Jordan Davis. Everybody on that defense is definitely going to the next level."

On George Pickens recovery….

"I think he's doing well, I think he's getting healthier by the day. Like you said, he's out there running with us now. He's feeling really comfortable, he's getting his comfortability back. I feel like having him around the team is going to allow the wide receiver group to go to the next level like we're capable of doing. But with him around, it's going to bring a lot more excitement to the team, a lot more energy, and stuff like that because that's what he brings as a player. Just him being around there, it shows."

Dawgs 2022 Schedule Announced

 A season opener against Oregon in Atlanta, eight Southeastern Conference games and the annual tilt against Georgia Tech highlight the 2022 Georgia football schedule announced Tuesday by the SEC.

The Dawgs will open the season against Oregon on September 3rd, 2022 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. This will mark only the second time the two football programs have met. The one previous meeting resulted in a 27-16 home win for the Dawgs in 1977.

Georgia will host SEC contests against Auburn, Vanderbilt and Tennessee and will travel for league matchups against South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi State and Kentucky. The Georgia-Florida game will take place Oct. 29 in Jacksonville.

2022 Georgia Football Schedule

Sept. 3             vs. Oregon (Atlanta)

Sept. 10           SAMFORD

Sept. 17           *at South Carolina

Sept. 24           KENT STATE

Oct. 1               *at Missouri

Oct. 8               *AUBURN

Oct. 15             *VANDERBILT

Oct. 22             Open Date

Oct. 29             *vs. Florida (Jacksonville)

Nov. 5              *TENNESSEE

Nov. 12            *at Mississippi State

Nov. 19            *at Kentucky

Nov. 26            GEORGIA TECH

 *Southeastern Conference game
   Home games in BOLD.