Instant analysis: Georgia defense makes statement in win over Clemson
If you’re a defense and punt fan, then you absolutely loved Saturday’s showdown between Georgia and Clemson.
He was an old-fashioned slobber, with two defenses that won the point of attack time and time again. Neither team was able to execute the ball with much consistency. Georgia‘s running back team will be much more successful in the games to come. Maybe Clemson’s will too, but they didn’t have that chance against Georgia.
In this grudge match, the Georgian defense proved more formidable in a 10-3 victory.
Considering Georgia’s head coach Kirby Smart’s past as a security and defense coordinator, you know he must have loved most of the moments his defense produced on Saturday night.
What this means
Georgia immediately moved into consideration for second behind Alabama after the first week game list. Even though the Georgian offense couldn’t move the ball much, the defense has shown it could be the best unit in all of college football.
It’s only one game and Georgia have a tough SEC roster to contend with. But getting a win over a quality opponent – a mainstay of college football’s playoffs – cannot be overstated.
Georgia face UAB next week and, barring the most unforeseen scenario, are expected to be 2-0 after the week. With Clemson on the schedule, this is exactly where you want to step into the South Carolina game in Week 3.
Three important pieces
Choose six: Clemson’s punter suite Will Spiers’ 35-yard punt in the second quarter, football rebounded Kendall Milton, with the convalescence of the Tigers. However, Clemson was unable to take the opportunity, with Georgia taking full advantage. On a game of third and four after the accident, safety Christophe smith caught a pass and returned it for 74 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
Good coverage: With just over nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter and facing a third and a goal, Latavius brini stayed in a good blanket and would not allow Frank Larson, Jr. go down with a ball in the end zone. This followed a second game in which Brini also performed exceptionally well with his pass defense. It was the only practice when the Georgian defense allowed Clemson to move the ball across the pitch. And in the end, the Tigers were only held to a field goal.
Fourth and five: Hoping to tie the game late, Clemson was forced to try his luck in fourth place with less than six minutes to go. As he had done on several occasions, the linebacker Nakobe Dean broke into the line of scrimmage and forced Uiagalelei to incompletion. With Georgia’s offense struggling, the Bulldogs’ defense proved huge.
It wasn’t Georgia’s fault that she got that bad grade. Clemson’s defense was spectacular throughout the game, stuffing the run and preventing the quarterback JT Daniels to develop a rhythm in the passing game. The fear was that Clemson’s defensive line would make it tough for Georgia’s offensive line, and that turned out to be true. The offense was mostly ineffective throughout the game, although it didn’t suffer many self-inflicted mistakes.
Georgia’s pass rush looked elitist on Saturday night. With seven (!!!) sacks, Georgia’s defensive front made it tough for Clemson’s quarterback DJ Uiagalelei the whole game. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Uiagalelei was able to find openings to throw the ball, and even then those opportunities were slim. Uiagalelei faced a lot of pressure, with the Bulldogs holding the Tigers to just 180 yards overall. It’s absolutely crazy when you think about how the Clemson offenses have produced in recent years.
Special teams: A-
The only reason that special teams were given an A- instead of an A is Jack Podlesny’s the failed field goal and the error that resulted in a fumble recovery on a 35-yard punt from Clemson. Jake Camarda was exceptional in kicking the ball, averaging 43.4 yards per attempt with a long 51. More importantly, Camarda knocked down four punts inside the 20-yard line. In a game where the defense was excellent, it certainly helped to have a kicker who put the unit in such good positions.
Smart went hand in hand with Dabo swinney and came out on top. It was a throwback type game, which isn’t sexy these days. But honestly, who cares? Georgia secured a top-five victory in the opening week of the season.
There is a ton to celebrate.