Georgia Fans: You Should Worry About Vanderbilt and Other Observations from Thursday’s Game
This is going to be rough as I’m drafting it before the day starts, I’m a little groggy and I’m refusing to proof read:
Vanderbilt Found a Defense
At first glance it’s easy to laugh at how hilarious Vanderbilt’s loss last night was. An SEC team lost a home game to Western Kentucky to open the season. At no point did Vandy score a touchdown and convert a point after or two-point conversion. The score was 14-12.
But what stands out to me about this was how impressive Vanderbilt’s defense must have been. (Full disclosure, I didn’t watch the game, I just watched play-by-play and read recaps, stats, etc.). And I’m not even saying that facetiously.
Western Kentucky had a really explosive offense last season:
- The Hilltoppers averaged north of 44 points.
- They only failed to score 34 or more points once in 13 games.
- They put up 59 on Bowling Green, 47 on MTSU, 66 on Old Dominion, 52 on Army, 45 on UTSA, 67 on then top-25 Marshall and 49 in a bowl win.
And, the Hilltoppers returned a ton of offensive production this year:
- QB Brandon Doughty threw for 4,830 yards and 49!!!! touchdowns last year while completing 68 percent of his passes. He’s back.
- RB Leon Allen accounted for more than 2,000 yards of offense last year and 16 TDs. He’s back.
- WKU lost only three players who registered a reception in 2014 and their combined productivity was well under 1/3 of the passing game.
And yet, a Vanderbilt defense that struggled more often than not in 2014 held Western Kentucky to a meager 14 points. And those 14 points were very much reflective of WKU’s production. This wasn’t a case of the Hilltoppers shooting themselves in the foot with turnovers. This was a case of WKU managing only 11 first downs and 246 yards of offense. Doughty, who has an NFL future, averaged 7 yards per attempt and tossed only 1 TD. Allen touched the ball 19 times and accounted for just 75 yards. There were no turnovers.
Georgia shouldn’t be terrified of this Vandy defense, but the Dawgs should expect it to be much better than it was in 2014. And week two for a new QB and a new OC could make this game a little more challenging than fans are willing to admit. Especially given Vanderbilt’s longer preparation time.
South Carolina is South Carolin-ier Than I thought
What can we take away from South Carolina’s win? Nothing.
Which is the most South Carolina thing possible for a season-opening Thursday night game. And I kind of love it. I do hope the Gamecocks destroy Kentucky next weekend, but who knows. And South Carolina always plays well against Georgia. So we may not have any idea what this team is until they play UCF which is just bizarre. And again, I love it.
Big Ten is Back
The nation’s best conference (joking) opened up 0-2 thanks to Michigan losing to Utah (which will never not be funny to me given the Harbaugh-gasm that’s been going on all off-season) and Minnesota dropping to TCU.
These are things that don’t bode well for Michigan’s offense:
- Michigan never ran for more than seven yards on a carry.
- The Wolverines averaged fewer than five yards per play.
- Three INTs
Fortunately, Michigan plays in the Big Ten so this was probably the toughest opponent they’ll face all season outside of Ohio State.
But Minnesota…way to almost derail the TCU hype train. Man oh man was Trevone Boykin pedestrian. I mean yeah he racked up 350 yards of offense and two TDs. But he needed 42 pass attempts to get 246 passing yards and 18 carries to rack up 92 yards. That’s a lot of volume to get that kind of production. And anytime the headlines use the term “outlast” to describe what you did to Minnesota, you screwed up.
That’s all I got/