October 8, 2017

Georgia's Beatdown of Vandy Was Boring—and That's a Good Thing

Flag Football

I was bored silly during Georgia's 45-14 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday—but I've never been so excited to be so damn bored.

The Bulldogs traveled north to Nashville and took care of business from Minute One. The offense grounded and pounded, while the defense kept the ‘Dores from gaining any momentum and mounting anything close to a viable challenge. By the time Nick Chubb broke off a 33-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, the game was over. I could've stopped paying attention right then—which I kinda did—and I wouldn't have missed a thing. There were a number of scoring plays after that opener, but it was always so clear those scores were coming that I felt myself overcome with boredom more than excitement when they happened.

This is a new feeling. Boredom isn't something I've experienced in regard to a Georgia football team. The last couple of seasons, rage, despair, and disappointment have been my dominant feelings about the Bulldogs. Those are terrible feeling to have, but they aren't boring feelings. Losses aren't boring.

If I'm enraged, I'm going to be on my feet and yelling at the TV. If I'm disappointed, I'm going to commiserate and complain with my fellow Dawgs fans about the problems with the team. But I'm not going to fall asleep—like I almost did midway through the Vandy game — unless we're dominating to the point of tedium.

And that's why the boredom is good. The boredom means we're taking care of business. It means there's nothing to worry about, because Kirb Stomp and his boys have this under control. This was a game we were supposed to win in dominating fashion, and that's what we did. There were no surprises or unexpected twists. I don't want to be bored during big games like the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party or a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Notre Dame. But a midseason nooner at Vandy? Yeah, I could go for a dull outing.

In pretty much every facet of the game, it was a humdrum, yet effective, showing from Georgia. Offensively, the coaches identified Vandy's weakness stopping the run and exploited it. Georgia rushed for 423 yards, including 150 from Sony Michel and 138 from Chubb. There were some exciting plays in that mix, such as the aforementioned Chubb opening score or Michel's 50-yard touchdown dash in the third quarter. But those plays were par for the course, considering we averaged nearly eight yards per carry for the afternoon. As long as we hammered home the run, the big gains would eventually come.

The defense had one of its worst outings of the season. That was to be expected coming off an emotional shutout against Tennessee, and considering we were without three of our best defenders—Trent Thompson, Reggie Carter and Natrez Patrick—because of injury and suspension.

But there was never any inkling that it would let the Vanderbilt offense get the ‘Dores back into the game. Vanderbilt scored two touchdowns, one of which was gifted to it by a fourth quarter fumble that ended up on the 1-yard line. Otherwise, the defense was stodgy and staunch, bending more than normal, but never breaking. There were never any big plays from the defense—no sacks or interceptions—but it was never beaten either. It never let Vanderbilt get any steam. Boring, but effective.

We didn't even have to worry about something going awry on special teams. In the upset loss to Vanderbilt last season, the ‘Dores' 95-yard return on the opening kick was ultimately Georgia's undoing. There were no such screw-ups Saturday. We covered well on kickoffs, and Rodrigo Blankenship made all his kicks—six extra points and a field goal. Cameron Nizialek boomed his lone punt 59 yards. It was a workmanlike display in all phases of the game.

Hopefully, the boredom continues next weekend. Missouri comes to Athens for homecoming, and on paper this another game Georgia should dominate.

But after that, the boredom ends. After that is a trip to Jacksonville to face Florida, which, by rule, can never be boring. And after that, hopefully, the Dawgs will be 8-0 and staring down a meeting with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game that could lead to a trip to the College Football Playoffs. So enjoy this boredom while you can. If the Dawgs keep winning, business is going to pick up real soon.