Thursday September 20th, 2018 3:34AM

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Vanderbilt

By Brian Stewart Reporter
  Contact Editor

That trip to Nashville was certainly easier than the last few times we've been up there.

After two fairly tight wins (and a loss) in 2011, '13 and '15, we got a nice, easy 45-14 thumping on Saturday.

All phases of the game showed up to a largely red Vanderbilt Stadium and left with another blowout victory.

Here's a few notes from Saturday.

1) I'm still not sure that we won't see Jacob Eason starting in Jacksonville.

I'll also start this part with the requisite statement: I think Jake Fromm has done a fine job at quarterback in Eason's absence.


We've really only seen one tight ballgame — the "road" game against Notre Dame — and Fromm finished 16-of-29 for 141 yards, one touchdown and two turnovers.

Would Eason have done better? Has the sophomore really taken as big a step forward as the coaches indicated in the pre-season?

We may never know.

But on the season, Fromm has only had to throw the ball an average of 16 times per game, and only 13 since the trip to South Bend.

With the running backs carving up defenses, and the Junkyard Dawgs proving to an impenetrable brick wall, I daresay the results would be darn near exactly the same with Eason under center.

Point being: You're going to win a lot of ballgames if you only have to throw it 13 times.

And with the constant curse of Jacksonville, and perhaps a Florida defense good enough to force another tight ballgame, I wouldn't be surprised if Eason got the start, especially following a bye week (after Missouri) to work him back in.

But we shall see. Obviously things have been going pretty well with No. 11 back there, as he guided the offense to a near-flawless performance on Saturday.

2) Saturday was the perfect kind of win for Georgia right now.

I say this for a couple reasons.

First, the Bulldogs had a comfortable, 31-point victory that let the starters take a rest in the fourth quarter, while the backups gobbled up some valuable minutes icing the game.

Second, it wasn't perfect. There were enough kinks in the armor for the coaching staff to keep things intense at practice this week. Kyle Shurmur completed five straight passes against the vaunted Georgia defense to get a quick score before half, making it 21-7. The defense did not sack Shurmur even once, and failed to force a turnover. And the Commodores were able to convert 6-of-15 third downs (40-percent), most of which came in the first half.

And finally — back to the positives — it allowed for a few firsts. Elijah Holyfield scored his first career touchdown. Both Jeremiah Holloman and Akhil Crumpton had their first career catches. Four different tailbacks scored touchdowns. (Not sure that's a first for the Smart era, but it's still impressive.)

Just enough fun, but just enough mistakes.

3) Jim Chaney deserves some credit.

I'm going to back out for a bit more of a macro perspective here, but the offense has really done well this season, and Chaney's play-calling has been superb.

It seems each week we get a new formation or a new scheme that the other team has to adjust for.

Against Mississippi State it was the opening flea-flicker and the commitment to the play-action passing game.

Against Tennessee it was the read-option keeper, with Fromm rushing for a pair of touchdowns.

Against Vandy it was simple, just pounding the ball between the tackles.

What might we see against Missouri? Who knows, but for the first time since the Bobo era, I have confidence that the offense can score some points and keep the chains moving on a consistent basis.

4) The look ahead.

Missouri comes into this game 1-4 (0-3) on the season, fresh off a 40-34 loss to Kentucky in Lexington, the Tigers' first road game of the season.

The Mizzou defense is, in a word, terrible.

The Tigers are giving up an average 40.0 points per game, including 43 to FCS Missouri State to open the season.

Georgia should cruise in this game, provided the Dawgs show up ready to play, and don't have their eyes set on the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party two weeks later.

If the Dawgs can keep the Missouri offense from getting going, don't be surprised if this one turns into a runaway early.

© Copyright 2018
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.