Sep 8, 2018; Columbia, SC, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back J.R. Reed (20) wears the golden turnover spikes after making an interception in the end zone against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
After Mecole Hardman outran seemingly every South Carolina Gamecock defender and Georgia dominated both lines of scrimmage last weekend, the Bulldogs return home to face Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders as the last game before seven straight SEC games. Outside of Hardman establishing himself as one of the top playmakers in college football (perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeted and averaging 16.5 yards after the catch per reception) and Jake Fromm being his normal calm and accurate self (84.8 percent adjusted completion percentage, No. 1 in FBS with minimum of 39 dropbacks), what has stood out for PFF’s No. 3 ranked team through two weeks?
PFF’s feature on Georgia is brought to you by Eckrich, the Official Smoked Sausage of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Let’s examine further:
Dominating the Lines of Scrimmage
Even though they lost a first-round pick along the offensive line in left tackle Isaiah Wynn, the experience and, more importantly, depth of talent appeared to be a strength heading into 2018. That has shown itself to be true through two games. Georgia’s offensive line has combined to allow only five total quarterback pressures for a pass-blocking efficiency of 95.5, a tie for 13th best in the FBS. Last week alone, they only allowed two combined pressures against South Carolina.
Also, as an overall group, their run-block grade of 82.9 is sixth in the FBS. Georgia’s backs have not had to create much on their own, as only 39 percent of Georgia’s rushing yardage to this point is after contact. Thus, 61 percent of the Bulldogs’ rushing yardage production has come before even being touched. Contrast that to the other teams in PFF’s current top four whose backs have to help themselves more often:
- No. 1 Alabama: 62.6% of rushing yards after contact
- No. 2 Wisconsin: 60% of rushing yards after contact
- No. 4 Oklahoma: 53% of rushing yards after contact
Sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas is currently the third-highest graded…