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, and who was the coach, anyhow? Former coach Mark Richt was laying on the beach somewhere in South Florida, while future coach Kirby Smart was getting ready for Alabama’s run at the national championship. A couple of days before the game, Georgia’s interim coach, Bryan McClendon, was tapped to head to South Carolina as Will Muschamp’s offensive coordinator. I mean, it’s getting to the point that you wonder who’s going to be on the sideline to call time out, if needed. Will the last coach leaving Butts-Mehre please turn out the lights?
Well, speaking of turning out the lights, the Georgia defense played “lights out” against a pretty good offensive team. The final score was 24-17 for the good guys, but not that close until the end. As an example of the “Georgia way”, we decided to turn off the intensity in the fourth quarter and allow the Pedolions to crawl back in. I pray Kirby Smart will cure these lapse’s of intensity first thing. There is the potential for greatness here. So, let’s it break it down by unit.
The defense held Penn State to 120 rushing yards, but gave up a whopping 281 yards coming through the air. Perhaps the game determiner came about when linebacker Roquan Smith tackled Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg, and the quarterback landed hard on his shoulder. Hackenberg was then replaced by his freshman back up, and the Penn State offense was not the same. Dominic Sanders had an interception, and overall the defensive backs played well. There were some big hits provided by Lorenzo Carter, Jordan Jenkins, Malkom Parrish and, believe it or not, kicker Marshall Morgan. It was also good to see freshman Natrez Patrick on the field and getting experience for next year. Thanks to the defense for playing with intensity and shutting down the PedoLions for three quarters.
Well, they’re called “special” for a reason, right? Marshall Morgan made a touchdown saving tackle and was lost for the rest of the game as a kicker. Fortunately, Patrick Beless was able to step in and drive home a couple of extra points. Isiah McKenzie ripped off a beautiful 37 yard punt return that almost scored. Terry Godwin handled kickoff returns and returned a nice 27 yarder. Marshall Morgan was 1 of 1 in the field goal department, and he made his extra point try before leaving the game with his injury. Brice Ramsey shared kicking duties again with Collin Barber. The kicking duo punted 7 times for a 38.1 yard average. A very competent effort on special teams. We even covered a fake punt and a short kickoff. Looks like these lads have learned something this year. I hope not all of them are graduating.
Greyson Lambert went the whole way as quarterback, with the exception of one series. Lambert was 10 of 20 for 115 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Greyson trying to avoid Penn State’s rush is a study in awkwardness, which I believe will hurt him if he’s planning on turning pro. Fortunately, we had wide receiver Terry Godwin come in and throw a touchdown from the Wild Dawg formation. One for one with a 44 yard touchdown gave Godwin a QBR of 100%.
Sony Michel is going to compete heavily with Nick Chubb next year. What a great thing! Sony finished the day with 85 yards rushing on 20 attempts and a touchdown that was just unbelievable. It was our only rushing touchdown, and Sony carried about half of the defense into the end zone with him. Fantastic!
Keith Marshall contributed 62 yards rushing, on 14 runs. He looked close to the Keith of old, and I hope he will be able to get a big payday at the next level.
Malcolm Mitchell had 5 receptions that netted 114 yards, with one touchdown. It will be sad to see Malcolm head off to the pros. Fortunately, Terry Godwin stands in the wings.
Time of possession was tilted in their favor, 31.22 minutes to 28.38. We recorded the most first downs 17-16, but Penn State turned out over a hundred more yards on offense. Luckily, we won the turnover wars 1-0.
Getting ten wins for the Seniors was a great thing. The Seniors will be leaving with 40 wins for their career, something to aspire to. Please join me in chanting the Georgia mantra, “wait until next year”.