The Georgia Bulldogs have a game that should be a walkover. But in a season where there are no runaway front runners yet, they cannot afford to look past their trip to Nashville. So, we get this game out early with Georgia vs Vanderbilt at midday.
Georgia vs Vanderbilt at Midday
Georgia vs Vanderbilt did not happen last season as the game was a victim of Covid rescheduling. It was the first time they did not meet in 43 years.
It could be another in a long line of ugly days for Vanderbilt. UGA quarterback J.T. Daniels is putting up gaudy numbers running an offense that is offense averaging 35.3 points and 433 yards per game. Daniels threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 40-13 win over South Carolina. He missed the week before against UAB with an oblique injury. What is really standing out for Daniels is his 73.8% completion rate, albeit he has yet to be challenged by a premier defense yet.
He will face a Vanderbilt pass defense that is slightly improved, with improved being a relative term. The Commodores are tied for 52nd in the country in passing yards given up, with an average of 197 per game. The problem Vandy is having, and it is a significant one, is that while they are keeping the ball in front of them, they are not forcing turnovers. The Commodores have only one interception through the first three games of the season.
That would be palatable if they were at least putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. But they also have only one sack all season. It’s imaginable that they did not get much penetration on the line against a physical Stanford team in the loss in Nashville last week. But they should have been able to do more, statistically in the season-opening loss to East Tennessee State.
That should bode well for Daniels getting plenty of time to throw behind an offensive line that has only given up two sacks so far this season.
Commodore Offense vs Bulldog Defense
Vandy’s offense is struggling right now. They are averaging a mere 16.7 points and 353.7 yards per game. Second-year quarterback Ken Seals is completing only 55% of his passes. That puts him in the bottom 20 in the country. The firepower just isn’t there. He has thrown for a grand total of 553 yards with only three touchdown passes. Again, stats are going to put him near the bottom of the national quarterback rankings. In most cases, the fan base would say it is time for a change behind center. But in six games last year, dual-threat quarterback Mike Wright only threw 10 passes, completing six of them.
Sure it will produce more of a running than Seals brings. But with no real threat to beat UGA through the air, there is no reason for the Bulldogs to play honestly against an unproven passing game. The Bulldogs are giving up only 146 yards per game through the air. They have five interceptions as well, to go with 13 quarterback sacks. The one upside to going to Wright would be that the running game keeps the UGA offense off the field a little longer.
Vandy running back Rocko Griffin is going to carry the rest of the load in the backfield. The Commodores’ top running back, Re’Mahn Davis, is out for the season after suffering a toe injury in the loss to Stanford last week.
UGA’s defense has given up only 75 yards on the ground, average per game, against a Clemson team that has proven to have no running game, and overwhelmed UAB and South Carolina, teams. Vanderbilt is going to pull out anything it can imagine on the whiteboard to stay in the game.
As for Georgia, we could pretend that this could be a trap game or something that catches them by surprise. But what it should be is a game where Daniels is out of the game early in the second half. The Bulldogs can work on solidifying a running game and getting out healthy before next week’s showdown against Arkansas.