Photo Credit: Andy Harrison/UGA Athletics
Defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (No. 78) was one of the bright spots for the Bulldogs Saturday.
Did you enjoy the game? (Hint: The answer is no.)
Georgia's 26-24 win against FCS minnow Nicholls State Saturday in Athens was the most distressing victory I've ever experienced as a Dawg fan. It barely felt like a win at all, considering we almost fell victim to the worst upset in NCAA history—we were this close to supplanting Appalachian State over Michigan as the game everyone references when an FCS team is within a touchdown of a Power Five team—and it was because of self-inflicted wound after self-inflicted wound.
But we're not going to talk about that today. There are plenty of places where you can dwell on the negative. This column has been one many times in the past, and it will probably be one again some time in the future. It's a new season with a new coach, though, and I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. Plus, I want to forget this game ever happened, and the sooner I distract my mind from the horrible mistakes made Saturday, the sooner that will happen.
So, instead of looking at all the terrible things that happened Saturday, we're going to dwell on to the positives. I'm sure I can find some around here somewhere ...
Jacob Eason has a gotdang cannon for an arm. The phenomenal freshman only had about 200 yards in his first start. He would've had more if not for five drops from UGA receivers. But he showed again that his arm strength is otherworldly, although we've only gotten tastes of it so far in two games. When the coaches decide to trust Eason to go deep more often—and when receivers start catching passes—we'll have serious big play potential. I would make a large bet he can throw a football over them mountains.
Isaiah McKenzie can score at any moment. Speaking of big play potential, I think the only person who can stop iMac is himself, as evidenced by his muffed punt return in the fourth quarter that let Nicholls back in the game. His 66-yard catch-and-run, assisted by a monster block from Javon Wims, showed off what his jitterbug style can do. Excluding returns, he only had five touches. I know he's a small dude, but McKenzie needs to see the ball more for this offense to hum.
Dominick Sanders is a ballhawk. We already knew Sanders had a nose for the ball from his eight career picks coming into this season. This game solidified it further. He made his one snag on Saturday look easy, dipping in front of a receiver when the QB missed him in coverage. Sanders almost made highlight reels everywhere when it looked like he made an mind-boggling, one-handed INT while falling out of bounds in the first half. His foot was on the line, though. Still, a sick catch.
Uga. Did you guys see Uga on the sideline? He's so cute!
Trenton Thompson is a mammoth-size missile. The sophomore may have started living up to the hype this weekend, with 11 tackles, three for loss. On one play in particular, he swim-moved a guard before doing his best Bill Goldberg impression, spearing a poor Nicholls tailback into the earth.
Rodrigo Blankenship kicked four touchbacks. One of our longstanding special teams problems that goes unnoticed amidst all the missed field goals—William Ham had another against Nicholls—is our inability to kick touchbacks. But Rodrigo Blankenship kicked four on Saturday, four more than he kicked against UNC. And, wouldn't you know it, we didn't allow any big returns. It's a small thing, but it will go a long way to preventing the big returns and return touchdowns that have bitten us so often in the past.
We won! As salty as I generally am about this game, it would be approximately a trillion times worse if we had actually lost. That isn't much consolation since this is the least-talented team we'll play all year, and one we should beat by 30. But all that matters is we added another number in the win column, and at the end of the year, no one will care how we got there. Just keep winning, and we will forget this game ever happened.