The Georgia Football team kicked off 2019 with a 24 point win over Vanderbilt. The young Bulldogs defensive performance in the second half, is a very positive sign for the team moving forward.
The Georgia Football program has put together a talented defense. The only issue is that they are very inexperienced. Saturday’s season opening performance against Vanderbilt, was certainly a step in the right direction for the Bulldogs young defense.
The UGA defense got off to a good start, allowing just one first down and 16 yards, before forcing a punt. This allowed the Bulldogs offense to score their second straight touchdown of the game.
The defense took the field and again produced similar results. This time the defense allowed 52 yards on 7 plays, including a fourth down conversion, but the end result was still a punt by the Commodores.
The Georgia Bulldogs defense surrendered two field goals to the end the first half. The two Vanderbilt scoring drives, combined to gain 125 yards on 19 plays, an average of 6.58 yards per play.
However in the second half of the Georgia Bulldogs season opening win, the young defense took over the contest. The stingy UGA defense forced the Commodores to punt the ball five consecutive times in the half number two.
Vanderbilt managed only five plays on their first drive, after attempting to make halftime adjustments. Subsequently the Georgia Bulldogs defense stifled Vandy even further, by forcing four straight, three and out drives.
During those five consecutive drives that Vanderbilt punted on, the Georgia Bulldogs allowed a an amazing total of just 12 yards on 17 plays.
On the four straight drives in which the Dawgs held Vanderbilt without at first down, the Commodores were held to a total of negative one yard on 12 plays. In fact Vandy failed to even gain a yard, on three of those four opportunities.
The Georgia Bulldogs defense continued to shut the door on Vanderbilt and more and more young Dawgs received value playing time. UGA defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt recovered a Vandy fumble on the following drive.
To cap off the victory, the Georgia Bulldogs defense forced the Commodores to turn the ball over on downs to finish off the ballgame. This set the table for the UGA offense, to take one knee in victory formation.
The Georgia Bulldogs defense was hounding all game long and they swarmed to the football like a pack of wild Dawgs. Junior linebacker Monty Rice and redshirt freshman edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, were the Georgia Football defensive players of the week. Rice tied junior defensive back Mark Webb for the team led with seven tackles.
Azeez Ojulari was third on the Bulldogs defense with six tackles. This includes a half sack that he split with sophomore linebacker Channing Tindall.
The inexperienced young UGA defense, provided a dominant showing in the second half against Vanderbilt. They will now get two weeks to fine tune things against Murray State and Arkansas State, before getting another opportunity to flex their muscles on a national stage against Notre Dame.
Overall the Georgia defense held Vanderbilt to just 225 yards. They allowed just 3.4 yards per pass and 3.9 yards per rush. This young Georgia Bulldogs defense, is as talented as any defensive unit in the country.
A key factor to the potential success of the unit, is having strong veteran leaders up the middle. Players such as senior strong safety J.R. Reed, junior free safety Richard LeCounte and junior linebacker Monty Rice, should be able to ensure that the other, less experienced players are always lined up properly.
As the Georgia Bulldogs defense continues to gain experience, they have the potential to become dominant. Combine that with the explosion we saw from the UGA offense in the first half and this could be the year that the Dawgs bring home that elusive National Title.