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Is UGA "Like What We Saw With Joe Burrow & LSU Late in 2018?"

February 21, 2021

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ATHENS - Maybe the Georgia Bulldogs don’t have as many question marks as many of their high-ranked peers. 

After all, Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs are returning nearly every moving part from an offense that exploded the final four games of the season. The capper, of course, was the come-from-behind game-winning drive over No. 8 Cincinnati in the 2021 Peach Bowl

The late-season stretch opened a lot of eyes across the country. JT Daniels‍ took over after the Bulldogs’ lopsided loss to the Gators, and the offense went from averaging 29 points a game to 37.25. 

That’s a pretty significant jump. I’ll leave the math to our friends in Atlanta, but as a graduate of DeKalb County Schools, I can confirm that scoring slightly more than a touchdown more a game is ideal. 

Then ESPN’s numbers guy Bill Connelly jumped in and had this to say about the Dawgs a few weeks ago:

“They return just about everybody from those units except a couple of linemen. But can they sustain that? Was that a real glimpse of improvement that we saw - kind of like what we saw with LSU late in 2018? Is that what we are leading into here?” He said during a segment on the SEC Network. 

“Can they sustain that?”

“Was that a real glimpse of improvement that we saw - kind of like what we saw with LSU late in 2018?”

“Is that what we are leading into here?”

Oh boy. Here come the haters, and I don’t mean ESPN or Connelly. He’s right to ask questions. Is this thing real or not? That’s what I asked right after the win over State:

“Was this an outlier? Is this game - a 400-yard masterpiece in Silver Britches - an outlier? when is the last time a quarterback was the reason Georgia won?”

Back to Connelly, who doesn’t deal with UGA every day like I do, and is not swimming in the red-and-black paranoia that is tradition this time of year in Georgia. He saw something he had not seen in some time from Georgia - a quarterback causing explosion in the offense. Connelly then boldly compared the Dawgs to LSU under Joe Burrow (something no one in the SEC wants to see coming out of Athens any time soon). 

Honesty, it’s a good question. I see the parallels - transfer QB; getting things right at the end of the year; winning a bowl game over a top-ten Group of Five school to end the season. The problem is that whenever we do these comparisons we already know what happened to the team or player who went first. Throw out the fact that UGA has not won it all since 1980 - It is hard to top perfection. And for all of love and due respect headed Trevor Lawrence’s way these days - he was never what Burrow was in 2019 at LSU in any one of his three years at Clemson. 

On top of that, Burrow had some freak resident playmakers in Baton Rouge that exactly three teams (Auburn, UGA and State) kept under 40 points in 15 games. LSU was a machine in 2019. 

Comparing, or even saying out loud that any team - let alone these Bulldogs - could mimic that is saying a lot. But what does Connelly care? He’s not shaking any pompoms. 

“Is that what we are leading into here?”

We don’t know, and Clemson will have something to say about that. LSU could, too, if Easy Ed made the right calls in the offseason with coaching decisions. Still, it is stunning that for all of the grief - some deserved; some not - that Kirby Smart has taken in his time in Athens about quarterbacks that a Kirby-led offense could be compared to one of the two most high-powered offenses of the last decade (2020 Alabama).  

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I also believe we could see 2019 LSU lite - time will tell. After all, if LSU could get it together with quarterbacks anyone could. 

Tags: JT Daniels
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