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Georgia loses WR Kearis Jackson (hand) for 3-4 weeks

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Georgia had little problem dispatching Vanderbilt in the season opener, but, in the process, the Bulldogs’ receiving corps took a bit of a hit.

Early in the fourth quarter of the 30-6 win, Kearis Jackson went down with what appeared to be some type of injury to his hand.  Two days later, Kirby Smart confirmed that the starting wide receiver had sustained “a couple of different breaks” in his hand/wrist area.

Per the head coach, Jackson is expected to be sidelined for 3-4 weeks.

A four-star 2018 signee, Jackson played in four games as a true freshman but was able to take a redshirt.  Jackson started the Vandy game, the first of his collegiate career.

Prior to the injury, Jackson had caught a pair of passes for 31 yards and gained another six on one carry.

Mizzou’s misery in loss to Wyoming adds to SEC’s Week 1 woes

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It may mean more in the SEC, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more better*. And, most certainly, the conference has had better weekends than what Week 1 wrought.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 17-point favorites entering Saturday’s opener against Wyoming, Missouri looked every bit the part as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the home-standing Cowboys after one quarter of play. A 27-point offensive explosion in the second quarter, though gave the Mountain West Conference school a 27-17 lead heading into halftime; that lead was stretched to 34-17 at one point before the Cowboys held on for a 37-31 upset win over the Tigers.

Regardless of how you spin it, the Mizzou loss was a continuation of what has been a rough opening weekend for the SEC, especially the East Division of the league. How rough? Let us count the ways:

  • First and foremost, Tennessee suffered arguably the worst loss in program history as they fell to 26-point underdog Georgia State in the school’s first home-opening defeat since 1983 and first loss to a Group of Five school since 2008 against… Wyoming, of all teams.
  • South Carolina lost to a North Carolina team that won two games in 2018.
  • Ole Miss lost to Memphis, although at least that loss came against a quality Group of Five foe.
  • Again, Mizzou.
  • Mississippi State needed a very late field goal to put away what was a 10-point win over a Louisiana team that entered the game as a 20-point underdog.

Yes, there was Alabama steamrolling Duke as expected… and Auburn outlasting Oregon in the only ranked-on-ranked matchup of Week 1… and LSU, unlike Tennessee, easily handling its business against a Georgia Group of Five school… but still, damn, that was a harsh weekend for The Best Damn Football Conference in the Land.

While we’re here talking about conferences, how about that Mountain West?  In addition to the SEC courtesy of Wyoming, that league has collected Power Five pelts from the ACC (Boise State over Florida State), the Big Ten (Nevada over Purdue) and the Pac-12 (Hawaii over Arizona) in Weeks 0 and 1.

(*Yes, grammar dolts, I know. I’ll take literary license whenever I damn well please.)

No. 3 Georgia defense handles Vanderbilt as Dawgs are clearly team to beat in SEC East

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The No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (1-0, 1-0 SEC) started their SEC and season opener at Vanderbilt with touchdowns on each of their first three offensive possessions and the defense took care of things from there. Georgia handled Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC) from start to finish and left Nashville with a 30-6 victory to start the season.

Georgia scored touchdowns on drives of 75, 89, and 80 yards to start the game but the offense went quiet for most of the remainder of the night. A couple of field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship helped pad the lead and a late Vanderbilt turnover, but there were not a ton of offensive highlights for the Georgia offense to speak of. D’Andre Swift did lead the ground attack with 147 yards as the Bulldogs took advantage of their strength on the ground. As a team, Georgia rolled up over 300 yards of rushing offense, which led Jake Fromm to not have to turn in a big night throwing the football. It was a game that Georgia was fine just dominating on the ground, even if it didn’t lead to much damage on the scoreboard.

Georgia’s victory in the SEC East game came on the same day much of the division had some trouble in Week 1. A week after Florida won an ugly game against Miami in Week 0, Kentucky took a while to take care of Toledo at home, South Carolina lost to North Carolina in Charlotte, and Tennessee was dumped at home by Georgia State. Missouri was in some serious trouble at Wyoming in the same time slot. A couple others in the SEC had some struggles as well. Arkansas had a seven-point win over FCS Portland State at home. Mississippi State had a closer game on the road against Louisiana than expected. Ole Miss lost at Memphis and Auburn was struggling in primetime against Oregon as the Bulldogs were taking care of Vanderbilt. Alabama may have taken a while to get rolling but took care of Duke in Atlanta, and LSU had no concerns against Georgia Southern. All in all, Georgia clearly looked like the best team in the SEC East, and the gap may not have closed much since last season if we are to judge on one week of games.

Regardless of that outlook in the division, Kirby Smart will have plenty of issues to take into practices next week while preparing for Week 2. Georgia was flagged for too many penalties (but Vanderbilt was called for even more), and the offense went into a bit of a lull after their first three possessions went for touchdowns on drives covering at least 75 yards. Third-down conversions were almost impossible to find (1-of-7), which should be another concern to address. There should be credit given to Vanderbilt’s defense for not allowing Georgia’s offense to run away with things on their home field, but it should be at least a sticking point that Smart addresses with the team in the coming days once they begin reviewing the film from this game. And to be clear, Georgia was hardly ever in a stressful situation where the game could have been lost.

The Georgia defense, however, will earn high marks for their season debut. Vanderbilt was unable to be effective on third down for much of the night and scratching together yards was incredibly difficult from start to finish. Georgia has a defense that will be tough for teams to find much room to work this season, and that bodes well for the Bulldogs. It is not often the Georgia offense will be limited as much as they were against Vandy, and expect Smart to clean up a few things moving forward.

Look for the Georgia offense to have some more big numbers in the next couple of games. Georgia is home next week against an FCS opponent, Murray State, and then they host Arkansas State in Week 3. That allows plenty of time to iron out some wrinkles and clean things up a bit as Georgia is set to host Notre Dame in primetime on Sept. 21 before jumping into SEC play for the rest of the season (not counting the Georgia Tech game).

As for Vanderbilt, the defense proved they can hang in there. After giving up long touchdown drives their first three times out, the Commodores were not easy to move on the rest of the night. They’ll look to continue that defensive effort and improve the offensive output next week with a road game in Big Ten territory against Purdue. Both teams will be looking for their first win of the season. Purdue lost their season opener on Thursday night against Nevada.

Georgia scores on first three first-half possessions to take 21-6 lead at Vandy

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You can’t get much more efficient with the ball than Georgia has been in their season opener at Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on all three of their first-half possessions. Georgia leads Vanderbilt 21-6 at halftime in an SEC opener in Nashville.

Georgia marched down the field on the game’s opening possession to get the ball rolling. Jake Fromm ended the 8-play, 75-yard drive with a short touchdown pass to Demetris Robertson. James Cook ran 18 yards for a score on Georgia’s next drive, a 10-play series spanning 89 yards. Brian Herrien was responsible for the third Georgia touchdown, a one-yard run on second down to cap a 7-play, 80-yard drive for the 21-0 lead.

Although he has not scored, star running back D’Andre Swift has had his own impact on the game with 74 rushing yards on seven rushing attempts. Fromm has been efficient with 7-of-12 passing for 103 yards. The numbers won’t “wow” anyone at first glance, but it’s been reliable and perfectly fine for Kirby Smart and his program in a conference game.

Derek Mason hasn’t been afraid to try anything and everything so far. It just hasn’t resulted in any dent son the scoreboard just yet other than a field goal late in the first half. Riley Neal‘s passing has been accurate but the Vandy offense hasn’t been able to get much room to work. That likely won’t be changing after halftime.

Crazy things can always happen, but Georgia looks to be on its way to a 1-0 start to the year after one half of play.

Georgia DL Bill Norton arrested on alcohol-related charges

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The SEC East sure is having itself a weekend. And only a handful of teams can say that’s a good thing.

Hot on the heals of Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson getting arrested, Georgia is now dealing with an arrest of their own. While the charges are not quite as serious as those in Knoxville, they are still enough to make Kirby Smart blow a gasket or two.

As per DawgNation, Bulldogs freshman defensive lineman Bill Norton was booked on a number of alcohol-related charges early Sunday morning and eventually released on bond. Record show he was cited for driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane/improper driving and minor in possession of alcohol.

A court date does not appear to have been set just yet in the matter.

While there seemed to be little chance that Norton saw action in the opener against Vanderbilt on Saturday night, his arrest probably ended any slim hope of seeing the field or traveling with the team to Nashville.

A four-star prospect coming out of high school in Tennessee, Norton picked Georgia over fellow SEC rivals Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and others.