‘We now possess got better gamers’: No. 3 Georgia cruises

‘We now possess got better gamers’: No. 3 Georgia cruises

Sep 3, 2022

  • Price SchlabachESPN Senior Creator


    • Senior college soccer writer
    • Creator of seven books on college soccer
    • Graduate of the University of Georgia

ATLANTA — Defending national champion Georgia may possibly possibly possess misplaced 15 gamers to the NFL draft, however the No. 3 Bulldogs regarded appropriate gorgeous in the principle game of their title protection, blasting No. 11 Oregon 49-3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.

Even after shedding 5 defensive gamers in the principle round, alongside with No. 1 decide Travon Walker, Georgia’s protection changed into as soon as too mercurial and bodily for the Ducks.

After having misplaced the most gamers ever drafted from one college in NFL draft historical past, Georgia regarded luxuriate in it is going to restful be back looking out for a CFP berth for the third time in coach Kirby Neat’s seven seasons.

Nonetheless Neat knows his young crew restful has a prolonged manner to walk to come again there, even after its lopsided victory in the opener.

“Expectations are actually already in test,” Neat acknowledged. “You compose no longer possess to distress about that.”

Georgia’s offense, which played second fiddle to its file-setting protection final season, changed into as soon as well-known extra explosive against the Ducks. Quarterback Stetson Bennett, a former stroll-on who led the Bulldogs to their first national title in 41 years, accomplished 25 of 31 passes for a profession-high 368 yards with two touchdowns.

With 21 seconds left in the principle half, Bennett spun away from four Oregon defenders and by some capacity noticed Ladd McConkey, who changed into as soon as wide start in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown that gave Georgia a 28-3 lead at the half.

After starting final season as Georgia’s No. 3 quarterback and being thrust into the lineup most effective after JT Daniels changed into as soon as injured, Bennett is the undisputed starter this year.

“I compose no longer judge Stetson in actuality will get plagued by anything I attain, you attain or any individual does,” Neat acknowledged. “Stetson lives in his possess world, and he does a terribly apt job of blocking off out the full noise. The person had a flip cellular phone, OK, in 2021. He doesn’t in actuality receive into all that.

“I judge that is what his produce of edge is, and he made some plays that he didn’t develop the finest decisions on in the present day time, and he knows those. He knows his errors. He’s got to be easy. He does issues that presumably we compose no longer put a query to him to attain. Nonetheless he did develop some plays alongside with his feet, and I judge you take the apt, and I’m no longer going to call it horrifying, however you take the apt alongside with his miserable decisions.”

Georgia scored touchdowns on each and every of its first seven possessions, transformed its first nine third-down plays and went 6-for-6 in the red zone. The Bulldogs didn’t punt till early in the fourth quarter, when freshman Brett Thorson boomed a 53-yarder.

The Ducks couldn’t muster well-known of anything against Georgia’s rebuilt protection. Oregon had 313 yards of offense, averaging 4.6 yards per play in comparison to the Bulldogs’ 9.2. Georgia had two interceptions and stopped the Ducks on a design-line stand at the three-yard line with 1: 22 left to play.

“We compose no longer wish to be the hunted,” acknowledged safety Christopher Smith, who had one in all Georgia’s two interceptions. “We want to hunt.”

Oregon changed into as soon as taking part in its first game below recent coach Dan Lanning, who changed into as soon as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in 2021. It changed into as soon as a disappointing debut for Lanning, who’s a first-rate-time head coach.

“He’ll attain a terribly apt job at Oregon,” Neat acknowledged. “He’s relentless. They are going to jump back from this and he knows we now possess got better gamers. He’ll by no strategy converse that, however he knows we now possess got better gamers.”