ATHENS – As good as it was, Kirby Smart clarified, Georgia’s victory over Auburn could and should have been better.
The Bulldogs n. 4 dominated the Tigers n. 7 with a 27-6 win Saturday night at Sanford Stadium, showing the same improvement from week one to week two as any SEC team.
SUMMARY: How Georgia beat Auburn 27-6, scoring, highlights
The defense, which kept Auburn out of the end zone and allowed the Tigers only 216 yards, was dominant as expected.
This, despite losing American defense quarterback Richard LeCounte to a questionable second-quarter aiming call.
Former walk-on, junior college transfer and spring fifth-string quarterback Stetson Bennett continued his compelling Cinderella story with another efficient performance
Here are three quick tips from the game:
; – for now
Bennett was 17 of 28 for 240 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers, fired once for a loss of 15 yard.
Above all Bennett moved the ball, 7 out of 10 passing 109 yards on the third down, leading UGA to score in his first four drives.
This made for an adequate performance for Bennett, with the fast play also generating 202 yards out of 45 attempts.
“I think he had a little bit of anxiety at first, (and) he probably missed a couple of pitches,” said Smart. “The people around him played well, and that’s important for Stetson. But he did a good job of figuring out what we wanted to do in the game plan, and he executed it well.
“We think he’s the guy right now, and he’s done a good job of preparation.”
The JT Daniels transfer was cleared last week, but Smart had indicated that it may take a while for Daniels to feel comfortable playing with the right protective knee brace he has been using since suffering a torn ACL in the opening of the USC last season against Fresno State.
Meanwhile, the Georgia players are delighted to see Bennett live up to his nickname “Mailman” by continuing to deliver.
“MAILMAN, MAILMAN” 📨 https://t.co/HxKED5IglP
– Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) 4 October 2020
As much as the Georgia defense swarmed Auburn QB Bo Nix, Smart left the feeling that the Bulldogs have left a few plays on the pitch and given up too much ground.
“I didn’t think we finished well, I thought we had four or five bags lost, I just couldn’t get it to land,” said Smart. “I was happy with the way we ended up (statistically); six points and production.
“But we don’t usually give up many thirds downs. We did well to go off the pitch to third down and (Auburn was) 7 out of 16, we didn’t reach our goal.”
Oh, and that 15-game, 54-yard drive that allowed the Tigers to score a field goal and cut the lead to 24-6? The coach was not happy.
“We know that the first drive of the second half was not up to our standards,” said Smart, who has now kept Auburn at 14 points or less in five of his six fights with Malzahn since becoming head coach of the Bulldogs.
Goal line package
Georgia fans are already in love with a jumbo package like they’ve never seen it before.
When junior Jordan Davis (6-7, 330lbs) and freshman Jalen Carter (6-3, 305) line up closely and full-back, you know they’re aiming to get into someone’s grid.
This is what happened on two occasions, both successful plays in short yardage.
“Monken talked about the inability to travel a lot of guys in the NFL, and how they used defensive players for those packages, and we certainly think Jordan is a weapon, in terms of athleticism and size,” said Smart. “And Jalen played a lot of these things in high school. He’s a really talented guy who played a full back.
“We’ve had it for a while and thought we’d use it when we needed it.”
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