Georgia came into Saturday’s game as a 57-point favorite, but after 60 minutes of football, it escaped with a slim 2-point victory.
Turnovers and poor offensive line play were the cause of what turned a should-be blowout into a 26-24 thriller.
During Kirby Smart’s press conference today he addressed both, saying Georgia better improve in these areas if it hopes to win this weekend.
“We have to get better, that’s for certain,” Smart said. “We can’t play like we did against Nicholls and expect to beat anyone in this league.”
Two costly turnovers in the fourth quarter gave Nicholls State an opportunity to turn a 12-point deficit into a 2-point one. Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason led a 70-yard drive before he threw a pass which was intercepted by Nicholls State defensive back Jeff Hall, who returned it 91 yards to the Georgia 7-yard line.
Then, with 4 minutes 18 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, punt returner Isaiah McKenzie fumbled a Nicholls State punt, which led to a touchdown to make the score 26-24. Georgia only had one turnover in its first game of the season against North Carolina.
“Turnovers will happen, but we need to limit them if we want to win,” Smart said.
Georgia also struggled running the ball against Nicholls State on Saturday. While the Bulldogs managed to gain 167 yards on the ground, it was a big drop from the 289 yards they put against North Carolina. Unlike the game against the Tar Heels, the Bulldogs failed to push the Nicholls State defensive linemen off of the line-of-scrimmage and open up running holes for its running backs.
One thing that challenged Georgia’s running game was the constant movement of positions among their offensive line. Smart said before the North Carolina game he felt he could play six offensive linemen. Smart is still trying to figure out where his offensive linemen play at their best position.
Georgia tried out several different line combinations on Saturday. The changes included replacing Tyler Catalina at left tackle with Isaiah Wynn, who started at left guard last game. Dyshon Sims moved into the starting lineup at left guard. During at least one point in the game, Sims moved to right guard to replace Lamont Gaillard.
“We couldn’t win the line-of-scrimmage. Simple as that. If you win the line-of-scrimmage, you control the game,” Smart said.
As far as who will be named starting quarterback, Smart said both Eason and senior Greyson Lambert will continue to split snaps in practice. No starter has been announced for this upcoming Saturday game against Missouri.
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By: Alex Makrides