Georgia Football: The Bulldogs 5 Sets of Stats that Define the Season


Running Back Depth

We heard about Georgia’s depth at running back all off-season and it lived up to the hype, thanks in no small part to a much-improved offensive line.

  • Georgia will likely finish the year with two 1,000-yard rushers – Nick Chubb has racked up 1,175 and Sony Michel is sitting on 948.
  • Georgia should have four running backs with at least 700 yards, as D’Andre Swift is at 597 for the year.
  • Six Georgia runners (including wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley) are averaging 5.0 yards per carry or more, this includes Swift, Michel, Chubb and Elijah Holyfield.

 

Freshman Fromm?

Jake Fromm, allegedly a true freshman, has played with staggering efficiency for Georgia.

  • Fromm ranks 7th in the nation in passer rating at 168.2
  • No freshman is ranked ahead of Fromm in this category. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer is the next-highest rated QB at no. 31 in the nation with a rating of 146.3.
  • Fromm is on pace for about 2,500 passing yards, 25 TDs and just 6 INTs (assuming two more games).

 

Big-Play Receivers

From has been helped out tremendously by big-play receivers.

  • Georgia has five receivers with at least five catches and a per-catch average of at least 14.5 yards – Ahkil Crumpton (5 catches, 19.2 YPC), Terry Godwin (29 catches, 18.6 YPC), Riley Ridley (8 catches, 17.0 YPC), Javon Wims (38 catches, 16.6 YPC), Mecole Hardman (14.7 YPC).
  • Last year, Georgia had only one wide receiver who fit that bill – Riley Ridley.

 

Well-Rounded Defensive Success

  • Georgia ranks 4th nationally in scoring defense, 4th in yards allowed per game, 2nd in passing allowed yards per game and 12th in rushing yards allowed per game.
  • Roquan Smith has been a monster. He’s first on the team by a wide margin in tackles (113 to J.R. Reed’s 69), a close second in tackles for loss (10.5 vs. D’Andre Walker’s 11.5), first in sacks (at 5.5) and first in QB Hits (17 vs. Lorenzo Carter’s 15).
  • Nine different Bulldogs have come up with turnovers in the form of recovered fumbles or interceptions.
  • SixBulldogs have come up with multiple turnovers. J.R. Reed leads the team with four takeaways (2 INTs and 2 FRs). Lornzo Carter (all FRs) and Dominick Sanders (all INTs) have three takeaways. Deandre Baker (both INTs) and Aaron Davis (one of each)

 

Special Teams Proficiency 

That’s not something we’re used to around here!

  • Rodrigo Blankenship has kicked 60 touchbacks on 82 attempts.
  • Hot Rod is also 15/17 on field goals and his back up, David Marvin, is 1/1. Georgia is 6th in the country in field goal percentage, with both misses coming from outside 40 yards. Georgia has not missed an extra point.
  • Georgia is 14th nationally in punting average (44.5) and 8th nationally in net punting average (42.1). All punts have come from grad transfer Cameron Nizialek, an underrated Dawg.

 

Georgia Football: It is a Travesty that Auburn’s Defensive Coordinator is Up for the Broyles Award and Georgia’s Mel Tucker Isn’t


Photo via Online Athens.

 

I wrote at length about this last week, but here’s an update. Ignore for a moment who should win the award, because it’s completely arbitrary. But consider the comparison between Kevin Steele (Auburn’s Defensive Coordinator and a Broyles Award Finalist) and Mel Tucker (Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator), and tell me why Tucker isn’t a finalist. Note that these statistics are updated through Saturday’s beat down of Auburn.

Category Georgia (National Rank) Auburn (National Rank)
Point Allowed Per Game 13.2 (4) 17.3 (10)
Yards Allowed Per Game 271 (4) 312 (14)
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game 158.3 (2) 177.8 (8)
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game 112.6 (12) 134.5 (32)
Average National Rank 5.5 16

 

There is not a single major statistical category in which Auburn’s defense is as good or better than Georgia’s.

If we adjust for the quality of offenses faced, things are just as lopsided in Georgia’s favor.

Georgia played 12 FBS opponents (which includes Auburn twice). Those 12 opponents posted season-long scoring averages of 29.45 points per game. So, Georgia’s 13.2 points allowed per game represents just 44.8% of opponents’ scoring average. In simple terms: Teams scored less than half of their season averages against Georgia..

Auburn also played 12 FBS teams (which includes Georgia twice). This set of 12 opponents posted season-long scoring averages of 32.60 points per game. Therefore, Auburn’s 17.3 points allowed per game reflects 53.1% of opponents’ scoring average. In simple terms: Teams scored more than half of their season averages against Auburn.

What does this actually mean? Well, the national FBS scoring average this year is 28.785. If Georgia allows 44.8% of opponents’ scoring average and Auburn allows 53.1% of opponents’ scoring average and both teams played a truly average (28.785 points per game) team, Georgia would allow 12.9 points and Auburn would allow 15.3. Which defensive coordinator is better by that measure? Do you want to allow more points or fewer? According to the Broyles Award, more points allowed is better.

The butt-kicking continues on a yards basis.

This year, Georgia’s opponents have posted an average season-long per-game yard tally of 399.5. Against the Dawgs, however, they’re only getting 271 yards per game. So, Georgia is holding opposing offenses to 67.8% of their season-long averages.

Auburn’s opponents have averaged a total of 428.3 yards over the course of their entire seasons. Against Auburn, though, these teams are just gaining 312 yards per game. Auburn is holding opposing offenses to 72.8% of their season-long averages.

Again, Georgia is doing better than Auburn on an opponent-adjusted basis, but what does this look like practically? The national yards per game average is 403.992. If Georgia played an average offense and allowed 67.8% of the expected yards gained (which is Georgia’s average so far this year), the Dawgs would give up 273.9 yards. If Auburn allowed its 72.8% average, the Tigers would give up 294.1 yards. Again, Georgia holds the edge here.

So how about common opponents? Georgia and Auburn both played Missouri and Mississippi State. Georgia held Mississippi State to fewer points than Auburn did but gave up more points to Mizzou, so that’s a split. Georgia held both Mississippi State and Missouri to fewer yards. So Georgia checked three of four boxes there.

It is a CRIME that Mel Tucker is not up for this award.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

 

The SEC Really Does Suck


The Southeastern Conference is in shambles! Alabama lost a football game this year, and they’re the only respectable team in the conference. The rest of the league just hires Nick Saban disciples and destroys itself from within. Guys like Kirby Smart, with no head coaching experience, will never cut it.

Case in point: only two of the College Football Playoff’s four teams are from the SEC.

But consider the “down” SEC’s bowl slate as a whole:

Bowl Date SEC School (Conference Rank) Opponent (Conference, Rank)
Rose Bowl 1-Jan Georgia (1) Oklahoma (Big 12 no. 1)
Sugar Bowl 1-Jan Alabama (2) Clemson (ACC no. 1)
Peach Bowl 1-Jan Auburn (3) Central Florida (AAC no. 1)
Citrus Bowl 1-Jan LSU (4) Notre Dame (Independent no. 1)
TaxSlayer Bowl 30-Dec Mississippi State (5) Louisville (ACC no. 5)
Outback Bowl 1-Jan South Carolina (6) Michigan (Big 10 no. 6)
Belk Bowl 29-Dec Texas A&M (7) Wake Forest (ACC no. 7)
Music City Bowl 29-Dec Kentucky (8) Northwestern (Big 10 no. 4)
Texas Bowl 29-Dec Missouri (9) Texas (Big 12 no. 4)

SEC teams are consistently scheduled “up” relative to their peers. I guess that’s because the conference is so weak.

I mean, can you imagine if the show was on the other foot? Like what if the Big 12’s 9th-best team had to play the SEC’s 4th-best team? Baylor vs. LSU would be a hate crime.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Georgia Football: Is Beating Auburn in Football Even Something We Should Still Celebrate?


First things first, congratulations to the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs. Not only did the Dawgs convincingly win the SEC Championship, but they also (from my estimation) established themselves as the best team in the country.

But is this any sweeter because it happened against Auburn? Meh. I’m not sure. I mean the revenge factor matters, and Kirby still hasn’t lost back-to-back outings against a single opponent. But I don’t know that this is anymore special because it’s Auburn.

As I pointed out on Friday, Georgia pretty much always beats Auburn. That’s what we should expect. Since 2006, Georgia is 10-3 in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. This 21-point win was only the Dawgs 6th-most lopsided win over the Tigers. Georgia has beaten Auburn in each of the past four years.

Honestly, getting past Florida was a bigger deal this year. Getting McElwain fired was huge. Crushing Tennessee was epic. Beating a team like Mississippi State was actually awesome, because the Bulldogs don’t get to beat Mississippi State every single year (like they do Auburn). You could make a case for wins against lowly Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech mattering more in isolation.

Again, this game mattered because it was Georgia’s first SEC Championship in far too long. But did it matter that it was Auburn? I don’t think so.

In any event, most of my thoughts are summed up in this reaction from right after the game. Let’s do some Playoffs.

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Georgia Is Going to Beat Auburn. Why? Because That’s What Georgia Does.


Look. I know what happened on November 11th. I saw that 40-17 Auburn victory. People forget this, but I actually predicted a Georgia loss in that contest. But when you think about this rivalry—its 121 games and Georgia’s 57-56-8 all-time record—and you think about recent dominance, do you actually think about Auburn? Do you? Really? Because I don’t.

Speaking ethnocentrically, Georgia is, effectively, Auburn’s Florida. What do I mean by that? Well, traditionally the The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (Georgia/Florida for the uninitiated) is a competitive rivalry. In fact, this matchup is so contested that the two schools can’t even agree on how many games have been played (95 per Florida, 96 per Georgia). But since 1990, Florida has absolutely dominated Georgia en route to a 21-7 record over that time period. No matter how good the Bulldogs may be in a given season or how bad the Gators may be, the Swamp-dwellers from Gainesville tend to find an edge almost every single time. Sure, Georgia beat the tar out of Florida this year (a 42-7 win that led to the demise of Jim McElwain), but has Georgia recently dominated Florida? No way.

That’s how Georgia/Auburn has been as of late, but in this case the good guys are winning more often than not. Did Auburn win convincingly a few weeks ago? Absolutely. But is that the norm or something I have come to expect? Nope.

I enrolled at the University of Georgia in 2006, and since then Georgia is 9-3 against the Tigers/War Eagles/Plainsmen—and that includes the game a few short weeks ago. I saw Georgia lose by 23 points on November 11th, but I’ve seen Georgia win by 20+ points five times in the past 12 years. I’ve seen Georgia string together winning streaks of four, two and three consecutive games, but I’ve never seen Auburn win back-to-back. No matter how you slice it, the Bulldogs have dominated Auburn since 2006.

  • At home Georgia is 5-0 thanks to wins in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016.
  • On the road Georgia is 4-3 thanks to wins in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2015.
  • In close games (decided by seven or fewer points) Georgia is 4-1 thanks to wins in 2008, 2009, 2015 and 2016.
  • In blowouts (decided by 20+ points) Georgia is 5-1 thanks to wins in 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
  • When Auburn is ranked higher Georgia is still 3-2 thanks to wins in 2006, 2014 and 2016.

 

Up until this season, the greatest common denominator of recent Auburn victories over Georgia was this: In years in which Auburn is bound for the National Championship Game and starting a quarterback who was pushed out of another SEC school for non-athletic reasons, Auburn beats Georgia. Seriously. That was the common thread, and I can live with that.

Cam Newton, was arrested for felony burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice and suspended by Florida coach Urban Meyer who didn’t like to suspend anyone. Newton was then involved in a cheating scandal just before he opted to transfer. He spent a year at JUCO and may or may not have picked up a hefty sum of money to show up at Auburn. In 2010, Auburn beat Georgia on the way to a National Championship with Cam Newton.

In 2013, Auburn beat Georgia with quarterback Nick Marshall, who ultimately led the Tigers to a loss in the final BCS National Championship Game. Marshall, of course, was dismissed from Georgia after he was caught stealing from his teammates.

Much to my chagrin as a Georgia fan, the Auburn only beats Georgia when they have a QB who can’t behave at another school narrative has changed. Now, the narrative is Auburn only beats Georgia when they have a QB who can’t behave at other another school or when they have a QB who transfers away from a program mired with sexual abuse scandals. But, and this is important, it should be noted that Jarrett Stidham had nothing to do with Baylor’s troubles. Frankly, good on the kid for getting out of there.

But you see, any narratives of Auburn domination—even given the results of a few weeks ago—are flimsy at best. That game seems much more like an outlier than it does a blueprint for a rematch. That sentiment, which could be proven wrong tomorrow, is echoed by two things: 1. Kirby Smart’s Revenge Tour and 2. The Rest of Georgia’s Season.

Kirby Smart’s Revenge Tour

Kirby and Co. weren’t satisfied with 8-5 last year, so they set out for revenge.

  • Georgia couldn’t avenge last year’s 45-15 loss to Ole Miss because the Rebels weren’t on the schedule, so the Bulldogs lambasted highly-regarded Mississippi State 31-3.
  • A heart-breaking 34-31 loss to Tennessee a year ago became a 41-0 bludgeoning of the Vols.
  • An unforgivable 17-16 loss to Vandy in 2016 was replaced with a 45-14 dismantling of the Commodores.
  • Last year’s frustrating 24-10 loss to Florida gave way to the aforementioned 42-7 throttling of the Gators.
  • An inexcusable one-point loss to Georgia Tech fueled a 38-7 swatting of the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia couldn’t extract revenge from Auburn on November 11th, because unranked Georgia upset no. 8 Auburn 13-7 last season and the Dawgs had won three in a row and five of the last six. But now, there is a revenge factor.

Care to bet against Kirby? You’re welcome to. But he’s yet to lose back-to-back games to an opponent and his average margin of victory in avenging head-to-head losses is pretty staggering.

 

The Rest of Georgia’s Season

Auburn is the best team Georgia has faced this year. I think you’d be foolish to dispute that. But Auburn’s not as good at a neutral site and the Tigers are discernibly worse off if Kerryon Johnson isn’t 100 percent.

The reality is that in the first matchup, Georgia wasn’t physically prepared for a team like Auburn. To some extent, that’s actually excusable. It stands to reason that if you’ve never played against quality level X you may not be ready for quality level X. That’s not an ideal scenario and it would be great to think Kirby’s Dawgs would always be ready to embrace, combat and respond to increasingly capable opponents, but football (especially college football) is not a linear stair-stepping of accomplishment. This is not high-jumping. Georgia was not afforded the opportunity to say, “Yes, I think I can clear that height. Give me an attempt or two and I will make it.”

So, Georgia was under-prepared. [Note: this is not the same as unprepared (something we saw during the latter portion of Mark Richt’s tenure), but Georgia was not ready.] This vested itself in a number of ways.

  • Both lines of scrimmage were dominated by Auburn. As a result, Georgia’s ground attack never got going (46 yards on 32 attempts) and Auburn’s never stopped (237 yards on 46 attempts).
  • Georgia was heavily penalized. Seven penalties for an average distance of almost 11 yards per flag. Woof.
  • Jake Fromm looked like a freshman. He posted a season-low in completion percentage and one of his worst outings in terms of QB Rating. This was magnified by the fact that this was also close to a high watermark for pass attempts (28 vs. a career high of 29 and a season average of 17.3).
  • Georgia got tight. Timing was off on routes. Balls were dropped. Tackles were missed. Punts were muffed.

Understand: Good teams make you make mistakes. Auburn did that. None of this is intended to discount what Auburn did to Georgia on November 11. Rather, it is intended to provide context when I say this:

There’s no way Kirby Smart is going to lose back-to-back games for the first time as a head coach against the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. 

It. Will. Not. Happen.

Georgia will beat Auburn, because that’s what Georgia does. Georgia will get revenge, because that’s what this season is all about. Kirby Smart will fix mistakes and elevate Georgia’s level of play, because that’s who he is.

Go Dawgs.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

 

 

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