There’s a lot we could talk about from Georgia’s 39-22 over Kent State, and not much of it is pleasant or important.
It was the first game the Dawgs have looked beatable—hell, human—this season. It was a sleepy noon kickoff against an out-of-conference opponent we paid to lose to us. The excitement and energy of the early season finally faded, and about everyone on the team looked like they were a step off their best.
Stetson Bennett threw his first interception of the season. Ladd McConkey, who has been outstanding otherwise in his first year and change in Athens, dropped multiple passes, muffed a punt and fumbled. The muffed punt and fumble alone led to 10 points for Kent State, by itself the most points the Dawgs have allowed this season.
The defense also finally started to show its flaws. There were poor tackling angles, which manifested itself in a 56-yard touchdown from a screen pass in the second quarter. In the second half, Kent State rattled off a 13-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a field goal and a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a touchdown. Outside the SEC Championship last year, it was the best an opposing offense has performed on the Dawgs in two seasons.
But let’s not talk about all that. Let’s talk about something fun, something enjoyable, something, dare I say, transcendent. Let’s talk about Brock Bowers, a beautiful gazelle-person.
Bowers is a dude. He’s the best tight end in the country, and there isn’t much debate. It’s been a while since we’ve had a skill player considered the best in the country, an offensive weapon who makes all college football envious. A.J. Green was that dude in 2010, as was Todd Gurley in 2014. He’s a transcendent talent, a college football unicorn.
Bowers always puts up very good numbers, although not always eye-popping, jump-out-of-your-seat numbers. So far this season, Bowers has 358 total yards and five total touchdowns. 137 of those yards (60 receiving, 77 rushing) and a pair of those rushing touchdowns game against Kent State. But when you see with your eyes how fast this polar bear is running down the field, your eyes pop, and you jump out of your seat.
Watch the Kent State safety on Bowers’ 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Bowers takes the end around, and the safety has him locked in the whole way. But at the point you expect a collision and a tackle, Bowers turns on the jet boosters and goes to the house, leaving the safety perplexed about what the hell happened. He did something similar last week on a 78-yard touchdown catch against South Carolina, when he juked a few dudes out of their shoes first.
Georgia’s offense is predicated on finding its playmakers in space and letting them make plays. The beauty of Bowers is that his versatility allows them to get him the ball in a variety of ways: end-around, screen pass, fade, corner route. You name it, and offensive coordinator Todd Monken is doing it to try and get Bowers the ball. Hell, Kirby Smart said he’s even gotten work as an emergency tailback.
That versatility means when he isn’t getting the ball, he’s keeping the defense honest. Now when Bowers goes in motion, the defense is aware that we could just hand it off to him and he could scoot for a major gain. So they stretch, vacating space and leaving it open for another of our playmakers such as Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton or Bennett.
A sophomore, Bowers still has another year in college before he makes the jump to the NFL. Generally, I think players having to wait three years after high school to go to the NFL is good. The vast majority aren’t physically ready as teenagers. Bowers is one of the few exceptions. He could make an NFL offense better right now.
What’s scary for opponents and exciting for Dawg fans is that Bowers is still so young and has room to grow. He’s a 19-year-old sophomore. He can run 75 yards for a score without breaking a sweat on Saturday, but he can’t walk downtown and legally buy a beer right now (although I don’t think he’d have trouble finding an accommodating bartender).
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