Georgia Bulldogs Begin Title Defense With Easy Victory Over Oregon Ducks Play

Despite losing 15 players to the NFL draught, the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs looked strong in the opening game of their title defense, a 49-3 rout of the eleventh-ranked Oregon Ducks at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.

 Georgia’s defense was too fast and aggressive for Oregon’s offense after the Bulldogs lost five defensive players in the first round, including No. 1 pick Travon Walker.

Georgia appeared to be back in the mix for a CFP berth for the third time in coach Kirby Smart’s seven seasons despite losing the most players ever drafted from one school in NFL draught history.

Georgia Bulldogs Begin Title Defense With Easy Victory Over Oregon Ducks Play
Georgia Bulldogs Begin Title Defense With Easy Victory Over Oregon Ducks Play

Despite the convincing victory in the season opener, Smart is aware that his young squad still has a ways to go before it can challenge for a playoff spot.

The expectations are already realistic,” Smart remarked. You shouldn’t stress over it,” he said.

Last year’s Georgia defense set a new standard, but this year the Bulldogs’ offense was far more explosive in their win over the Ducks. Former walk-on quarterback Stetson Bennett led the Bulldogs to their first national title in 41 years by completing 25 of 31 passes for a career-high 368 yards and two touchdowns.

Bennett avoided four Oregon defenders with a spin move and found an open Ladd McConkey in the end zone from 4 yards out with 21 seconds left in the first half to give Georgia a 28-3 lead.

Bennett is Georgia’s indisputable starting quarterback this season after beginning the year as the team’s No. 3 quarterback and being catapulted into the lineup only after JT Daniels was injured.

The actions of “myself, you, or anybody else” don’t seem to impact Stetson much, Smart said. “Stetson is utterly oblivious to the outside world; he has mastered the art of shutting off all distractions. In the year 2021, the man was using a flip phone. His interest level in such matters is low.

That’s where I think he has an advantage, and he’s aware of the plays he didn’t execute well on today. He is self-aware and can recognize his shortcomings. He needs to have brains. When he helps out, it’s not always because we ask him to.

However, he did make a few nice plays with his feet, and I’d say, “Take the good with his poor decisions” (though I wouldn’t go so far as to call them bad).

Georgia’s first seven drives resulted in scores, as the Bulldogs were perfect in the red zone (seven for seven) and on third down (nine for nine). Early in the fourth quarter, freshman Brett Thorson blasted a 53-yard punt for the Bulldogs.

The Ducks’ offense was ineffective against Georgia’s retooled defense. The Ducks gained 313 yards on offense, scoring at a rate of 4.6 yards per play versus the Bulldogs’ 9.2 yards per play. With 1:22 remaining, Georgia made a goal-line stand to prevent a touchdown for the Ducks from inside the 5-yard line.

“We don’t want to be the hunted,” said Georgia safety Christopher Smith, who had one of the Bulldogs’ two interceptions. We want to go hunting.

Dan Lanning, the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in 2021, took over as head coach of Oregon for this game. Lanning, a first-time head coach, had a rough start to his tenure.

Smart predicts that he will succeed at Oregon. He’s so determined that it’s impossible to stop him. They’ll recover from this, and he recognizes that we have superior players anyway. He wouldn’t admit it, but he knows we have outstanding players.

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