On a day when the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-5, 0-4 SEC) put together another subpar performance on offense, the Bulldog pass rush was a major factor in disrupting the timing of quarterback Larry Smith and, thus, the tempo of the offense overall. Georgia (4-3, 3-2) registered three sacks on the day (1.5 by Reshad Jones) and forced an off day for Smith, who completed only 11 of 26 passes for 121 yards.
"Larry did take a bunch of hits," said Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson. "He has running for his life back there a lot of times even when we didn't get sacked...
"Pass protection was the...key problem. We just couldn't get time to pass the ball. They were getting Larry out of the pocket...If you get tough coverage and pressure, it's tough to convert."
Graham back at wide receiver: In a switch intended to give the struggling offense an additional big-play threat, redshirt sophomore corner Jamie Graham started at wide receiver, a position he played regularly last season. According to Johnson, Graham flashed enough promise to solidify the move for the rest of the season.
"That's a tough thing to do in one week," Johnson said of Graham's transition. "We first thought we'd try to limit him to just a few packages...but then he started picking things up a little bit more, remembering from last year, so we thought it would be a good thing to get him in the game and see if he could make some plays for us...
"Jamie will be a good player for us the rest of the year at wide receiver."
Adams takes snaps, looks sharp: In his first playing time since the Rice game (Sept. 26), Mackenzi Adams completed six of eight passes for 53 yards when put under center late in the fourth quarter. Getting the ball out of his hands quickly and looking in-sync with the offense, Adams showed some of the moxie that has made him a Commodore fan favorite. Even so, Johnson was adamant the starting quarterback job is still Smith's.
"It was an opportunity to get Mackenzi in and he did a good job," Johnson said. "It was a little different situation in the game than what Larry was going against, but it's good to know Mac can go in there and play well like he did."
Special teams lapses costly: With Bulldog return man Prince Miller registering two punt returns of over 40 yards, punter Drew Butler averaging 47 yards a kick, and linebacker John Stokes being called for a leaping penalty on a blocked Georgia field goal attempt, the Commodores missed several opportunities to shift the field position battle in their favor but failed to capitalize.
"(Special teams were) big," Johnson said. "Poor coverage on our part...we probably out-punted our coverage. That was a killer...
"(On the field goal) I know the rule, and the rule is if you take more than one step to get momentum to jump, if you come down on somebody, that's a penalty. John says he didn't come down on anybody, but I don't think they would call it if they didn't...It's a judgment call."
Injury Update: Offensive tackle Thomas Welch left the game with an apparent ankle injury, while tight end Austin Monahan left the game with a knee injury. Defensive end Theron Kadri and running back Jared Hawkins did not dress, while Johnson said running back Zac Stacy--who played--is still gradually recovering from his early-season foot injury.