5 reasons why Georgia beats Vanderbilt

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It’s No. 2 Georgia versus Vanderbilt this Saturday in Nashville. Kickoff is set for noon but Georgia won’t be worrying about an early start. The Bulldogs have plenty of reasons to be ready to go against the 1-3 Commodores and here’s why.

J.T. Daniels is back

Sep 18, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback JT Daniels (18) passes the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When J.T. Daniels was given the green light to return to the field last week, Georgia got an immediate boost to an already thriving offense. Daniels was perfect on third down versus South Carolina, completing seven of seven passes for 65 yards and a touchdown against a Gamecock defense that statistically was the best third down defense in the country.

Daniels’ prowess on third down goes to show how locked-in this offense can be with a steady hand and strong mind at quarterback. Vanderbilt will have to get plenty of pressure in Daniels’ face if they want to mess up his rhythm, but that’s a tall task for the Commodores, who rank last in the SEC in sacks with just one on the year.

Offensive firepower

Sep 18, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh (6) runs against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

If Daniels at quarterback isn’t enough, UGA has plenty of firepower to get the ball moving. Running backs Zamir White, James Cook, Kendall Milton and Kenny McIntosh are all healthy and running well behind an offensive line that is starting to mesh. Georgia racked up 184 yards on 31 carries last week and won’t have a problem against an inferior Vanderbilt front.

On the outside, Georgia’s receiver room is starting to get healthy and will boost a passing game that looked lethal versus South Carolina. Freshman receiver Adonai Mitchell balled-out with 4 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown and freshman tight end Brock Bowers is currently one of the top pass catchers in the country. Pair the two with the likes of Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson, and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and the Dawgs are primed to rack up yards though the air.

Injured stars return

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Darnell Washington (0) breaks two tackles on a catch and run in the second quarter during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia Bulldogs Vs Cincinnati Bearcats Chick Fil A Peach Bowl 2020 Jan 1 2021

Something that shouldn’t go unnoticed is the return of some big-time weapons on both sides of the ball. While previously mentioned Kearis Jackson is finally getting back to full speed at receiver, tight end Darnell Washington and defensive back Tykee Smith are close to taking the field after recovering from foot surgeries. Georgia coach Kirby Smart spoke on their return in a press conference on Monday.

Defensive dominance

Sep 18, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) hits South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Luke Doty (4) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This Bulldog defense is one of the best in the country and continues to impress each week. If it wasn’t for the South Carolina touchdown in garbage time, Georgia still wouldn’t have allowed a touchdown this season.

UGA currently ranks third in total defense and will face a Vanderbilt offense that ranks last in the SEC in points and yards. Because it’s a road game, Georgia won’t have walk-ons and a sea of reserves to throw in when the Bulldogs go up by 40 points, so don’t be surprised if the Commodores don’t score a point.

Payback

Nov 10, 2018; Columbia, MO, USA; A general view of a Vanderbilt Commodores helmet during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Missouri won 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt put Georgia in a bad spot last season when it cancelled the Bulldogs’ senior night without giving UGA enough time to schedule another opponent. That means seniors never got to say goodbye to Sanford stadium, which is something revered by every Dawg and a moment they can’t get back. Georgia won’t have any problems hanging 50 on the Commodores in the first place and with the mess that happened last year, they have even more reasons not to take the foot off the gas on Saturday.

Former Georgia defensive end Ray Drew joins J.C. to talk his UGA career, big games in Sanford Stadium, his welcome to the SEC moment and more in a new episode of ‘UGA Football Live with J.C. Shelton’. Listen here:

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1LKKgu5rzSLx6W76yhCRrA?si=d1kWGaBiRtG8ZLqLqfN3Pw&dl_branch=1

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