Georgia looked nearly flawless for the first half of its game against Vanderbilt Saturday night.
Only a few special teams mistakes prevented Georgia from a seemingly perfect first half.
However, as much of the first half went right for Georgia, the mistakes did not directly cost Georgia, which entered the locker room at halftime with a 27-3 lead over the Commodores.
Following Georgia’s second touchdown of the night, kicker Marshall Morgan entered to attempt the point-after kick, but Ty Frix’s snap went awry, leaving Georgia with a 13-0 lead.
In the second quarter, punt returner Malcolm Mitchell misplayed a punt near the Vanderbilt end zone, leaving Georgia in poor field position. His mistake was soon erased by a 96-yard touchdown drive that put Georgia 27-0.
“It had been like that all game,” Mitchell said. “It sounds bad, but every time I made a mistake, the whole team had my back. All the mistakes I made, (Vanderbilt) never capitalized on it.”
There were some bright spots for Georgia’s special teams. Mitchell’s first punt return of the night was returned 22 yards, setting up Georgia’s first scoring drive at the Vanderbilt 47.
The sophomore return man felt he just missed taking the punt back for a touchdown.
“I saw a couple of my blockers outside, and I probably should have stretched it a little bit more,” Mitchell said. “It was just a great job by the return team. Next time, it will have a different result.”
Georgia’s punt and kick coverage units enjoyed a first half similar to that of the whole team, pinning Vanderbilt inside the 20-yard line three times and allowing an average starting field position of the Vanderbilt 18.
In the second half, junior Rhett McGowan returned a punt 19 yards but was one defender away from a touchdown.
“There was great blocking by the punt return team,” McGowan said. “I’m hearing the turf monster was what got me. I’m hoping someone’s hand hit me, but I’ll have to look at the film and see.”
Vanderbilt racks up early penalties
A raucous Saturday night crowd made Vanderbilt’s first possession—and several thereafter—very difficult.
The Commodores were flagged for two false starts and a substitution infraction on its first possession.
The yellow flags continued to fly the rest of the half, as Vanderbilt was penalized nine times for 53 yards in the first half.
Captains for Saturday’s game were Murray, sophomore safety Corey Moore, junior guard Chris Burnette and senior defensive end Abry Jones…After being limited in practice this week, left guard Dallas Lee (sprained ankle) started Saturday against the Commodores. Backup Mark Beard played some snaps in the first half at left tackle, with starting left tackle Kenarious Gates sliding to left guard to spell Lee…Inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera led the Bulldogs with eight tackles. Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones added seven tackles and a sack. True freshman Jordan Jenkins finished with two sacks… Defensive end Abry Jones left Saturday’s game with an injury, but Richt said after the game that he did not think the injury was “super serious.” … After allowing 40 combined points in the first half against Buffalo, Missouri and Florida Atlantic, Georgia allowed only three points the entire game Saturday.