The Georgia Bulldogs kicked off their regular season the way they needed to, with a win.
The Bulldogs beat the visiting UT Martin team 48-7, in a game that seemed longer than usual, particularly in the first half when the Bulldogs didn’t seem to impose their will on their opponents early in the first half, scoring a single touchdown in the first quarter. After halftime, the Dawgs tacked on 31 points, better than the 17-point first half.
Their “better never rests” Head Coach Kirby Smart emphasized he thought there were areas the team needed to improve and made no excuses for their first-half performance, but after the game, he said he knew it would be a tough task for his guys, a few of whom were banged up and on the sidelines before the regular season began.
“We knew there was going to be some butterflies for some guys particularly some in the offense and I thought they grew up tonight,” said Smart in the postgame presser. He said the run game could use some extra help, but the team did well in stopping UT Martin’s run game. He gave credit to UGA’s defense. “They did some nice things, and we got an opportunity to improve on some things and get better,” he said about the team as a whole.
New Dawgs quarterback Carson Beck, who had a lot of pressure on him having to follow 2-time Natty champ ex-QB Stetson Bennett, got 294 passing yards and a touchdown. Coach Smart was happy with the communication with Beck and TE Brock Bowers. “Both those guys continue to get better,” said Coach Smart. “I am so pleased with their progress and what they are doing.”
Bowers got 77 receiving yards. He fumbled the ball once.
The Bulldogs as a whole got 400 passing yards, 159 rushing yards, and 400 receiving yards. By contrast, UT Martin got 128 passing yards, 132 rushing yards, and 128 receiving yards. Georgia’s defense combined for 86 tackles and one sack (from Mykel Williams.) UT Martin’s defense got 65 total tackles and no sacks.
Malaki Starks (8 tackles), Tykee Smith (6), and Javon Bullard (4) were the most active among Bulldogs’ defense.
The Bulldogs are now 1-0, and off to a good start in a season many see (or hope) as leading to a third consecutive National Championship. They face their next opponent, Ball State, Saturday September 9th at noon. Ball State are 0-1 after their 14-44 defeat to the Kentucky Wildcats.