It wasn’t a pretty performance by any means, but the Georgia Bulldogs survived a trip to Nashville to defeat the Vanderbilt Commodores 31-14.
Sophomore running back Nick Chubb was the rockstar of Georgia’s offense once again, rushing for 189 yards on a mere 19 carries. He didn’t score at all, but still kept himself firmly in the Heisman Trophy race and will be a name to watch.
Georgia’s passing game, however, left something to be desired. Graduate transfer Greyson Lambert just could not beat a Commodores defense that showed up ready to play hard and not give a single inch. Lambert completed just 11 of 21 attempts for only 116 yards, and was even benched for Brice Ramsey at one point late in the first half.
But for what the Bulldogs lacked on total offense today, the team made up for it in many other ways. The scoring finally opened late in the first quarter when Isaiah McKenzie returned a punt for 77 yards, eluding defenders before breaking away and being virtually untouched.
— Picassokat (@Picassokat) September 12, 2015
Backup running back Sony Michel also had a key moment, racing 31 yards into the end zone to make the score 14-3.
— UGA Football Live (@UGAfootballLive) September 12, 2015
Even Lambert got in on the scoring as a way of making up for his lackluster passing performance, keeping the ball and running for a five-yard score.
But that isn’t to say that Vanderbilt played all-out terribly. If there’s one thing that can be taken away from this game, it’s that Derek Mason is slowly turning the team’s defense into something that could resemble respectable at some points this season. Though Chubb ran wild, per usual, the fact that Vanderbilt’s defensive line put so much pressure on Lambert that his performance was what it was is a statement in itself. Mark Richt’s teams are known for being a physical bunch that score points quickly, and Vanderbilt did its absolute best in trying to limit the damage, even if the Bulldogs did finish with 422 yards on the day.
Which brings up the next crazy part. Even Vanderbilt looked solid on offense at times, finishing with 398 total yards. Unfortunately, inexperience bit the Commodores hard as the sole touchdown came from a seven-yard touchdown pass from Johnny McRary to Latevius Rayford. Moreover, just when it seemed like a short drill could be had by the Commodores to make the game a nail-biter, McRary made a crucial mistake.
A mistake in the form of an interception by Bulldogs sophomore safety Dominick Sanders, which he returned 88 yards for the touchdown that became the final nail in the coffin.
— The Comeback NCAA (@TheComebackNCAA) September 12, 2015
Thus, Georgia is now 2-0 while Vanderbilt falls to 0-2. It wasn’t an ideal performance in the first SEC game of the season, particularly against the Commodores, but Richt will make sure that his men are better prepared and disciplined next week. That means not taking 10 penalties for 79 yards.
Next up for Georgia is a visit from Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks next weekend, while Vanderbilt gets a break in playing the OVC’s Austin Peay Governors.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports