One of the games that I have been looking forward to the most in the off season was the Georgia/Clemson game.
Georgia has dominated Clemson over the years, but last season saw the Clemson Tigers win an exciting game, 38-35.
Both teams have new Quarterbacks, both seniors that have patiently waited their turns. With so many Quarterbacks transferring out of a program as soon as they don’t win the starting job, it’s good to see 2 guys that waited getting a chance to play.
Clemson’s QB is Cole Stoudt. His father is Cliff Soudt who was Terry Bradshaw’s back up for the Pittsburgh Steelers back in the day. They lost long time QB Tahj Boyd and super talented WR Sammy Watkins, but they have Stoudt and true freshman Deshaun Watson who was the number one dual threat QB in the country last year.
Georgia QB is Hutson Mason who backed up Aaron Murray for the last several years.
Clemson returned what was called the top front 4 on defense in the country. They are talented and they are deep across the front. Led by All American Defensive End Vic Beasley and talented Defensive Tackle Grady Jarrett.
It was supposed to be tough sledding for the Georgia Bulldogs running game against this defensive front.
Georgia, meanwhile, brought in top Defensive Coordinator from Florida State, Jeremy Pruitt, with intentions of improving their own defense.
Neither defense looked all that good in the first half as this game threatened to be a shootout like last season’s version of this game. The two teams went into the locker room at half time tied up 21-21.
The second half was an entirely different ball game as Georgia’s defense came out to play and they pretty thoroughly shut down the Clemson offense.
Jeremy Pruitt as the new Defensive Coordinator had his defense playing at another level altogether and especially Linebackers Amarlo Herrera, Leonard Floyd and Ramik Wilson. Herrera and Floyd had 2 sacks each.
The Bulldogs turned it up on offense as well with Todd Gurley and the other Running Backs running all over the heralded defense of the Tigers. Georgia scored 24 second half points while blanking the Tigers to route them 45-21.
Gurley wound up with 198 yards on 15 carries and 3 TDs. In case you are wondering, yes, that is 13.2 yards per carry which is almost unbelievable.
True freshmen Nick Chubbs and Sony Michel also saw plenty of action and both were stars. Chubbs had 4 carries for 70 yards including a 47 yard TD run. Michell ran for 33 yards on 6 carries and had 3 receptions for 20 yards.
Along with Keith Marshall, Todd Gurley, Nick Chubbs and Sony Michel have to be the best bunch of Running Backs in the nation.
New QB Hutson Mason was effective and made no huge mistakes. He completed 18 passes out of 26 attempts good for 131 yards. He didn’t throw a Touchdown or an Interception on the day. He was good enough to take the pressure off of Gurley and the running game and will improve as the season continues.
Todd Gurley is considered the best Running Back in the country, but he also had a 100 + yard kick off return for another TD and could be climbing up the Heisman Trophy list.
Expect more of the same from the Georgia Bulldogs the rest of the season if they can hopefully remain injury free this season.
They will pound the ball with the running game and wear down their opponents while hitting some occasional passes. The defense is SEC quality and should beat a lot of teams completely on their own.
Clemson, on the other hand, has to go back to the drawing board and start again. They missed Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins immensely on Saturday and have to have people step up on offense.
Their defense will have to find some confidence and find it quickly with a trip to Tallahassee looming in two weeks. They won’t face another Todd Gurley, but they have Jameis Winston on the horizon.
Expect to see more and more of true freshman and heralded recruit Deshaun Watson at Quarterback. I’m not saying he’s another Tajh Boyd but he will be their next star at QB either this season or the