Bulldogs cruise to victory over the Commodores
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Bulldogs cruise to victory over the Commodores

UGA Football
Photo: Tony Walsh/UGA

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs started fast and cruised to a 62-0 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores in front of 32,178 fans at Vanderbilt Stadium and an SEC Network nationally televised audience on Saturday afternoon.

Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) tallied 532 yards of offense: 291 passing and 241 rushing. Junior tailback Zamir White led the Bulldogs’ runners with 48 yards on nine carries and a touchdown.

Redshirt junior quarterback JT Daniels finished 9-for-10 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns before senior quarterback Stetson Bennett relieved him in the second quarter. Bennett finished 11-for-15 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown, while freshman tight end Brock Bowers led the team with four receptions for 69 yards and three touchdowns – one rushing and two receiving.

On the defensive front, the Bulldogs held the Commodores (1-3, 0-1 SEC) to just 77 yards of total offense, including only 53 on the ground. The Bulldogs also racked up two interceptions, a sack, and four tackles for loss. Senior outside linebacker Robert Beall led all tacklers with three solo stops, while a slew of Bulldogs totaled three tackles.

“I was proud at how fast the guys started,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “I’m really proud of our fan base. I thought the turnout was incredible, as it normally is when we come up here. Our guys came out here and started fast. That was the goal all week… We talked about starting fast and playing to our standard.”

“Tough atmosphere to play in early on. From warm-ups throughout. We talked about it being early, not letting it be an excuse. If you’re going to be elite as a team, you have to be elite all the time. Not some of the time. That is not how elite teams play. Our guys embraced that and I’m proud of them,” Smart said.

After winning the coin toss and differing to the second half, the Georgia defense immediately made their presence known by forcing back-to-back Vanderbilt three-and-outs. On offense, the Bulldogs made quick work. Bowers, a native of Napa, Calif., took an end-around for a 12-yard touchdown before catching a 25-yard touchdown pass on the next Georgia drive.

Back-to-back Commodore turnovers led to the Bulldogs’ next two scoring drives. First junior Jaylen Johnson forced a fumble on kickoff, which led to White punching one in from the goal line. On the very next play from scrimmage, senior defensive back Christopher Smith recorded his second interception of the year. Two plays later, Daniels found redshirt-freshman Ladd McConkey for a 12-yard touchdown pass, his first career score.

“It felt good to get my first touchdown,” said McConkey. “At the end of the day, the win is all that matters. It was good to have some individual (accomplishments), but as long as we win that is my biggest thing.”

After forcing yet another Vanderbilt three-and-out, McConkey found the end zone again. This time on a 24-yard end-around run to give the Bulldogs a 35-0 lead in the first quarter. Georgia continued to dominate and cruised to a 62-0 win, in the two teams’ first meeting since 2019. The Bulldogs move to 59-20-2 all-time against the Commodores after today’s win.

“The vibe on the sideline is always positive, but we still treat every play likes it’s 0-0,” said junior outside linebacker Nolan Smith. “We try to always cause more turnovers. We have a standard here. We always try to meet that standard every game…We always say that there is no drop-off. If you’re on the field, you’re a starter… We say no one gets in our endzone, and that’s the standard for everybody.”

Next up, Georgia returns to Athens to host No. 16 Arkansas (3-0, 0-0 SEC) next Saturday at 12:00 p.m. at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. The game will broadcast on SEC Network.

POST-GAME NOTES

Another Shutout By The Defense: Georgia posted its sixth shutout in the Kirby Smart era and the fourth in an SEC game with today’s 62-0 victory. Today marked Georgia’s second biggest margin of victory ever in an SEC game, trailing only a record 75-0 win over Florida in 1942. VU finished with 77 yards on 46 plays. At halftime, VU had 50 yards on 25 plays as the Bulldogs led 38-0. It marked the third time this year that Georgia has blanked a team in the first half. Coming in today, Georgia ranked second in the SEC, allowing just 7.7 points per game. Today was Georgia’s first shutout since blanking Missouri 27-0 in 2019.

Huge Margin Of Victory: The 62-point margin of victory was the largest since 2014 when Georgia blanked Troy 66-0. The Bulldogs have won their last three games by at least 27 points, marking the first time they have done that since the 2017 season when they did it six times.

Pair of Bulldogs With Rushing & Receiving TDs: Freshman TE Brock Bowers had four catches for 69 yards with 2 TD receptions plus one TD on the ground. Bowers’ first career rushing TD was a 12-yarder on his first career carry while his TD catches covered 25 and 29 yards. He is the second Bulldog to have a rushing and receiving TD in the same game this year, joining James Cook who did it versus USC last week. Then, they were joined by redshirt freshman Ladd McConkey who did it as well today in the first half. He notched his first career TD, a 12-yard catch and then his first career rushing TD, a 24-yarder. McConkey ended up with four catches for 62 yards, both career-highs, all coming in the first half. Also, he had two punt returns for 19 yards today.

Quick Strike For Offense and Day For Daniels: In the first quarter, Georgia QB JT Daniels finished 9-for-10 for 121 yards with 2 TDs to help build a 35-0 lead and was done for the day, improving to 7-0 as a starter at UGA. He had a 25-yard TD pass to freshman Brock Bowers on third down and eight. His lone incompletion was a drop. Georgia’s 35-point outburst in the first quarter was the most points scored in a quarter since tallying 42 in the second quarter against New Mexico State in 2011. Senior QB Stetson Bennett played most of the rest of the game until giving way to Carson Beck. Bennett ended up 11-for-15 for 151 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The offense tallied 326 yards on 43 plays in the first half and finished the game with 524 yards on 76 plays.

Points Off Turnovers: Georgia scored 14 points off three turnovers while the Commodores got no points off one Bulldog INT. There was a VU fumble on a kickoff forced by Jaylen Johnson, recovered by Daijun Edwards who returned it to the VU 4. Georgia’s Christopher Smith notched his 2nd INT of the year and returned it to the VU 21. Freshman Kamari Lassiter got his first career pick, making a diving catch at the UGA 1.

Special Teams Summary: Senior punter Jake Camarda had two punts for a 35.0 average and handled all but one of the kickoffs. Junior Jack Podlesny was 8-for-8 on PATs to improve to 22-for-22 in PATs this season plus he made two field goals covering 31 and 36 yards and took care of one kickoff. He is 4-for-6 in FG this year.

For Starters & Game Captains: Georgia had one first-time starter today in freshman Kelee Ringo (DB). The captains were senior Jake Camarda (P), junior Nolan Smith (LB) and junior John FitzPatrick (TE). Georgia won the toss and elected to defer the football until the second half.

Series History & Up Next: With the 62-0 win, Georgia now has a 59-20-2 edge in the series history including 28-12-2 in Nashville. Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) returns to action Saturday at home against Arkansas. Kickoff will be at Noon ET (ESPN).

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