- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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ATHENS, Ga. – Here are three things we learned about No. 9 Georgia in the Bulldogs' 45-21 win against North Texas on Saturday.
Special teams need work: The Bulldogs have had at least one major special teams blunder in each of the first three games. A high snap prevented the Bulldogs from attempting a potential game-tying 20-yard field goal against Clemson. Against South Carolina, punter Collin Barber dropped a snap, setting up a short touchdown drive. And then came Saturday's implosion against North Texas, where the Bulldogs both surrendered a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown and had a Barber punt blocked for a touchdown. With LSU's traditionally exceptional special teams coming to Athens next Saturday, it's time for some urgency in cleaning up the kicking game.
Speed isn't a problem: For the second straight game, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray hit a track-star receiver who turned on the afterburners on the way to the end zone for a long touchdown. Against South Carolina, it was Justin Scott-Wesley running away from the Gamecocks' secondary for an 85-yard touchdown. On Saturday, it was freshman Reggie Davis -- formerly a high school track star in Florida -- who hauled in a Murray pass and raced 98 yards for the longest reception in UGA history.
Defense making strides: After facing a pair of stellar opponents in the first two games, Georgia's defense used North Texas as its get-well game. The Bulldogs surrendered just 7 rushing yards -- which tied for the fewest in an FBS game this season -- and 245 total yards after allowing 460.5 in the first two games. There were still some plays where a more talented opponent might have broken away for a big gain, so Georgia's defensive issues are far from solved. But this was a big step for Todd Grantham's young defense, which needed to gain some confidence with the bulk of the SEC schedule approaching.
2dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough