UGA homecoming week came to a sad end for fans this weekend when Georgia football received their third loss of the season on home turf to SEC rival the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Television breaks brought the majority of excitement for those attending the game as student Olympians were recognized, the homecoming King and Queen were crowned and the Georgia Redcoat’s performed at halftime.
Criticism of head coach Kirby Smart’s coaching decisions have circulated the web since the loss. Many people are questioning the university’s decision to hire Smart after Mark Richt, head coach from 2001-2015, was asked to step down last season following the loss to Florida.
Georgia has only lost to Vanderbilt three times in the past 22 match-ups. The Dawgs trailed the Commodores the entire game until 9:46 in the third quarter. Six plays and 77 yards later, Jacob Eason’s 17-yard pass to Isaac Nauta brought the score to 13-10 UGA. The Dawgs continued to lead the game until 9:43 in the fourth quarter when Vanderbilt’s Khari Blasingame ran the ball 2-yards giving the Commodores a 17-16 lead to win the game.
Georgia fans left the stadium angry and heartbroken.
The Dawgs last carry of the game ended after a failed first down attempt with one yard to go by wide receiver Isaiah Mckenzie. Mckenzie is smaller than running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel which led fans to question Smart’s play making decisions.
UGA’s offensive line has struggled this season making it hard for the backfield to find a hole and for quarterback Jacob Eason to complete passes to his receivers. Mckenzie has been an unreliable source in pressure situations with the Dawgs. Many are criticizing Smart for not running the ball with Chubb or Michel when passing plays are continuously unreliable sources.
The Cedartown High School football team found great success with 27 Nick Chubb using him consecutively in running plays. His training under coach Scott Hendrix and staff led Chubb to over 30 carries per game, running straight down the field to the end zone. His success in running the ball was seen throughout his career in high school as well as under the coaching of Mark Richt.
Utilizing running backs differently in a way that has proven successful might have been a better play call in converting the controversial fourth and one play to lead the Dawgs to a homecoming victory.
Next week the Georgia Bulldogs have a week off but will be back on the road Oct. 29 to face rival Florida for annual game in Jacksonville, Florida.