Georgia Owned the Best Win in the Nation in 2012: Remember the Vanderbilt Game
This is the fourth of 14 Post-Season Game Recaps.
On September 22nd James Franklin’s Vanderbilt Commodores visited Athens for what was supposed to be a highly-contested game between budding rivals. The previous year the Bulldogs got out to a 23-7 lead before needing late heroics to hold off a Vanderbilt surge that brought the game to a final score of 33-28. The competition didn’t end with the final whistle as James Franklin came after Georgia defensive back Shawn Williams and woke the not-so-sleeping giant that is Todd Grantham.
What We Saw:
- Grantham’s defense showed up in a big way.
- Georgia moved the ball at will, racking up 567 yards of offense.
- Todd Gurley went over 100 yards for the third time in four games and the Dawgs as a whole rushed for over 300 yards.
What We Learned:
Despite previous inconsistencies Todd Grantham’s defense was still capable of complete game domination. The Missouri game was fronted by near super-human efforts by Jarvis Jones. The Vandy game was the complete and utter dismantling of a team. Georgia had a few big plays (a forced fumble near the goal line comes to mind), but for the most part the Dawgs simply controlled Vanderbilt’s ability to move the ball. The Commies managed only 106 yards on 36 carries and struggled to convert, picking up only 15 first downs.
What We Should Have Learned:
Frankly, we should have learned that Grantham’s defense was back. This was a supposed to be a pre-cursor of what a full defense (a few suspensions were still lingering) could do. Unfortunately it wasn’t.
Knowing what we now know about Vanderbilt, we also should have learned that this Georgia team could be pretty daggum good. Vanderbilt finished the season ranked 20th in the Coaches Poll. The 48-3 tail-kicking Georgia handed (or footed) them was the most lopsided loss by any team that finished ranked in the top-25. So, yeah, Georgia had the nation’s single best win of the season in 2012.
This game had a greater long-term impact on Vanderbilt than it did on Georgia. At the time a 48-3 win over a team that dropped to 1-3 seemed meaningless and until Bowl season few gave credence to the Dawgs for the dominating effort. Vanderbilt on the other hand the Commodores seemed to use this game as motivation or a wake-up call or something. Vanderbilt went on to win eight of their last nine games (including the bowl), with the lone defeat coming at the hands of Florida in a game that was closer than many expected.
That’s all I got/