Football Atlanta - Online

#1 UGA "Struggles" In 17 Point Win Over Kent State


By Don Stone - Georgia Football Magazine and Football Atlanta

  Its a perfect autumn football day in Athens with blue skies and temperatures in the low 70s.
   But for the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs, it was anything but perfect. Just like the game two weeks earlier with Samford, fans were expecting a cakewalk. I thought those Bulldogs would give these Bulldogs a little more of a fight. That didn't happen as UGA stomped the visitors 33-0. And that was playing backups for most of the second half.

  Kent State came in off a convincing 63-10 trouncing at home vs LIU rushing for 353 yards shared by five different backs..

   And, before that, they went to Norman, Oklahoma and played the No. 7 Sooners tough for the first half. The Golden Flashes were actually ahead 3-0 late in the first half limiting the Sooners to just seven rushing yards to that point. Oklahoma eventually kicked in gear and ran off 33 unanswered points.

   But, this is the reigning national champions Bulldogs, again ranked No. 1 in the nation. UGA has outscored their first three opponents by a combined 130-10 and is a 42 point favorite against Kent State. Regardless, the Golden Flashes didn't seem to be intimidated by the environment having already played at Washington and Oklahoma.

  Georgia had not allowed a turnover in their first three games. They coughed it up three times in the first half against Kent State, two by Ladd McConkey. The Dawgs defense had allowed a total of 10 points combined in their first three games. The visitors had that many in the first half before eventually getting 22.

  Maybe it was looking past Kent State at a looming schedule of seven straight SEC games. Maybe it was thinking this game would be a mismatch. Maybe it was like Kirby Smart said that this was a really good Golden Flashes team that shouldn't be overlooked.

  Whatever the reason, the Bulldogs seemed lackluster. Its not that the outcome was ever in doubt, but, the reigning national champions seemed unable or unwilling to crank up the enthusiasm needed to put them away. It seems odd to say that a 17 point victory wasn't convincing. But, when you turn the ball over three times, its hard to run away with it.

  "We thought they were a really good football team and they proved that today," Smart said. "They're going to be tough in that conference because of the teams they've played. Their kids play with great toughness and resiliency. They hit, they strike, they don't run from contact. That's SEC football."

  SEC play begins for real next week as the Dawgs head to Columbia, Missouri to take on a 2-2 Mizzou team that just lost a last minute 17-14 overtime thriller to Auburn. Gametime is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.