Georgia first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham doesn’t know whom the Bulldogs will be facing in a bowl game.
He just knows his preparation for the triple-option is over for the year.
The Bulldogs had two weeks to gear for Georgia Tech’s offense, but there were times Saturday night when that didn’t seem the case. Georgia defeated the Yellow Jackets 42-34 but was mangled for 512 yards, including 411 on the ground.
“I’m glad we don’t have to face it anymore, just because you never see it,” Grantham said. “Really, they just run the wishbone. They do a nice job with their package, but I’m looking forward to starting another season soon and feel very confident as we move forward that we’re going to be where we want to be.”
The 411 rushing yards allowed were the third most in Georgia history, behind the 430 yielded to Auburn’s wishbone in 1978 and the 415 to Vanderbilt’s I-bone (a wishbone variation) in 1994.
Tech fullback Anthony Allen pounded the Bulldogs between the tackles, rushing 29 times for 166 yards and a touchdown. Roddy Jones and Embry Peeples were effective on the outside, with Jones collecting 71 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and Peeples amassing 53 yards and a score on six rushes.
The Yellow Jackets averaged 5.3 yards a carry on a staggering 77 carries, which contributed to their nearly 17-minute advantage in possession time.
“You know you’ve got to stop the fullback, and we’ve obviously got to address that as we move forward,” Grantham said. “You’ve got to be stout inside, and they kept running a couple of plays that hurt us.”
With Georgia Tech having 92 offensive plays to Georgia’s 48, there were plenty of super-sized statistics among Bulldogs defenders. Inside linebacker Akeem Dent, end Abry Jones and nose DeAngelo Tyson each had 16 tackles, and they combined for four lost-yardage stops.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston didn’t collect a sack, which was to be expected against a run-oriented team, but he did manage a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a game-saving interception.
“When you play that offense, the game gets lost and drowns out because you’re just doing the same thing play after play,” Jones said. “It’s hard to stay focused sometimes because you don’t want to go through the motions.”
Said Houston: “I wasn’t planning on doing all this, but I had fun doing it.”
Georgia is not scheduled to have an open date before the Tech game for at least the next six seasons. The Bulldogs are off next year before the eighth game, which is Florida in Jacksonville.
Saturday’s outcome did not provide a pretty facelift for Georgia’s defensive numbers.
The Bulldogs are allowing 149.2 rushing yards a game, which is more than last season’s average (126.2) under former coordinator Willie Martinez, and their 335.8 average in total yards allowed is close to last year’s 339.4-yard clip. Georgia has allowed 30 or more points five times for a third straight season, and this year’s team almost had a sixth by allowing 29 in the loss at Colorado.
“Really, no one else other than the military academies run what they run,” Grantham said. “We not only studied them but the military academies to see how they did it, and to be honest with you, I’m glad we’re not playing the Naval Academy after watching all the stuff that they do.
“I think it will be good for us to go back to facing a normal offense.”
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...