ATHENS, Ga. -- Motivation and focus might have been issues in a couple of Georgia’s first few games, but the Bulldogs (4-0) had no such problems in Saturday’s 48-3 dismantling of Vanderbilt (1-3) at Sanford Stadium.
With the memory of last season’s heated win in Nashville still fresh in their minds, the Bulldogs set out to prove a point against the Commodores on Saturday and sent them back to Tennessee with a humiliating loss that matched the widest margin of defeat in series history.
Let’s review some of the highlights and lowlights of the game from a Georgia perspective:
1. Defense came to play
Slow defensive starts in a couple of Georgia’s first three games -- namely Buffalo and Florida Atlantic -- raised questions about whether the Bulldogs had a problem beyond the absences of Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree. They didn’t seem to miss the two defensive stars against Vanderbilt, forcing the Commodores to punt on each of their first five drives as the Bulldogs’ offense capitalized by quickly building a sizable lead.
2. More offensive history
A week after breaking the school’s single-game record with 713 yards against Florida Atlantic, Georgia added another entry to the program’s record books by scoring more than 40 points for the fourth consecutive game. It’s the first time in UGA history that the Bulldogs have ever scored 40-plus in four straight.
3. Murray throwing darts
Coming off a career-best outing against FAU, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was once again razor sharp. He completed his first 12 passes before finally throwing his first incompletion late in the second quarter. He finished 18-for-24 for 250 yards including touchdowns of 22 yards to Tavarres King and 6 yards to Marlon Brown.
1. Special teams questions
The Bulldogs had another couple of shaky moments on PAT tries. A high snap after the Bulldogs’ second touchdown resulted in a scramble for the ball and no extra-point attempt and another Marshall Morgan PAT banked off the inside of the left upright before clearing the crossbar -- the third time that has happened this season. Also, Malcolm Mitchell made a questionable decision in fielding a punt at his own goal line and returning it only to the Georgia 4, although the Bulldogs’ offense then drove 96 yards for a touchdown.
2. Surrendering big plays
On a down-to-down basis, Georgia’s defense was dominant. However, the Bulldogs still surrendered a handful of big plays -- an issue that cropped up in several of their first few games. Vandy receiver Jordan Matthews had catches of 37 and 31 yards -- finishing with eight grabs for 119 yards -- and Chris Boyd had a 60-yard catch himself. Cornerback Mitchell was victimized on two of Vandy’s longest catches.
3. Quarterback questions
After a shaky performance in last week’s win against Florida Atlantic, it appears as if Christian LeMay lost ground in Georgia’s quarterback pecking order behind Murray. The redshirt freshman came in after Murray and walk-on Parker Welch in the fourth quarter and did not attempt a pass.