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Georgia Football

Georgia coach Kirby Smart tops Clemson's Dabo Swinney for another Top 10 Win

September 4, 2021
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CHARLOTTE - Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart talks about the No. 5 Bulldogs’ game with No. 3 Clemson. 

Top 10 Matchups: With the 10-3‚Äč win over No. 2 Clemson, fifth-ranked Georgia is now 11-6 in top 10 matchups under Kirby Smart. This matches Georgia’s highest ranked win under Smart as the Bulldogs defeated No. 2 Oklahoma (54-48 in 2OT) in a CFP semifinal at the 2018 Rose Bowl Game. Before tonight, Georgia’s last win over a top 10 team came to end the 2020 season when the Bulldogs posted a 24-21 win over previously undefeated No. 8 Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The last time Georgia posted back-to-back wins over top 10 teams came during the 2018 season, beating No. 9 Florida 36-7 in Jacksonville and then No. 9 Kentucky  34-17 in Lexington to clinch an SEC Eastern Division title. Also of note, the Tigers had won 10 straight regular season games against SEC opponents until tonight dating back to 2014.

Season Openers: Georgia improves to 98-27-3 in season openers including winning its last eight dating back to a 45-21 over Clemson in Athens in 2014, which marked the last time they squared off until tonight. In the Smart era, Georgia is 6-0 in season openers. 

Impressive Defensive: No. 2 Clemson finished the night with three points on 60 plays and 180 yards as the Bulldogs tallied 7 sacks. The Tigers had a streak of 400 yards of total offense in their past 12 games. Georgia carried a shutout through three quarters. In the first half, Georgia held the Tigers to 90 yards (1 rushing yard, 89 passing) on 30 plays. The Tigers longest play of the night was a 44-yard completion in the fourth quarter. The Tigers scored with 9:08 left in the game on a 22-yard field goal to cut Georgia’s lead to 10-3. 
Georgia’s leading tackler was safeties Lewis Cine with nine and six different players registered a sack. 

7 Sacks Tonight (One Shy Of School Record): Georgia got sacks from Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean in the first half and Dean added another in the 2nd half. Smith now has six for his career while Dean has 3.5. Sophomore Jalen Carter notched his first career sack midway through the 3rd quarter and senior Adam Anderson followed with his first and 10th for his career. Travon Walker collected his fist sack of year and now has 4.5 for his career while Jordan Davis picked up one too for six now in his career. 
The seven sacks were the most since a school record eight in it last game, the 2021 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win over No. 8 Cincinnati. Georgia also had eight sacks in 2008 Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii. Georgia blanked the Tigers in the first half, and the last time Georgia did that in a game was in the 2020 Sugar Bowl against Baylor when the Bulldogs led 19-0 and went on to win 26-14.
Tonight, Georgia registered its 19th score on defense or special teams in the Kirby Smart era that began in 2016. It was the fifth pick-six and the longest return under Smart. There have been 16 TDs and three safeties. WIth a non-offensive score, Georgia is now 16-1 under Smart.

Series History: The Clemson series dates back to 1897, and with tonight’s 10-7 victory, the Bulldogs hold a 43-18-4 advantage including 7-1-1 at neutral sites. The previous neutral site games came in Augusta (Ga.) and Anderson (S.C.) back in the early 1900s.Tonight’s game was the first meeting when both teams were ranked in the top five. The previous best was in 2013 when No. 8 Clemson beat No. 5 Georgia 38-35 in Clemson. In top 25 matchups, Georgia is now 3-2 against the Tigers.

Offensive Leaders: Georgia QB JT Daniels finished 22-for-30 for 135 yards with one INT and improved to 5-0 as the Bulldog starter. The leading receiver was freshman tight end Brock Bowers (6-for-43 yards). Junior Zamir White had a 22-yard run in the 3rd quarter and finished with a team-high 74 yards on 13 attempts.

Points Off Turnovers: Georgia got 7 points off one intereption while the Tigers got no points off one Bulldog interception. Although it’s not a turnover, Clemson recovered a muffed punt return at the 50-yard line with 5:32 left in the first half. It led to a pick-six by senior DB Christopher Smith, a 74-yarder and following the PAT gave Georgia a 7-0 lead with 2:58 left in the first half. It was the first pick-six by a Bulldog since Eric Stokes versus Florida last year that covered 37 yards. Clemson got an INT at the Georgia 33 with 9:39 left in the 3rd quarter and failed to score as the Bulldogs forced a three-and-out for minus 9 yards including a pair of sacks.

Special Teams Summary: Senior punter Jake Camarda finished with a 43.4 average on five punts, placing four inside the 20 plus had a long of 51 yards. Also, he had two kickoffs with one touchback and one returned for 17 yards. Junior Jack Podlesny went 1-for-2 in field goals, missing a 36-yarder and making a 22-yarder to make him 14-for-18 in his career. He was 1-for-1 in PATs for a total of four points. PAT STREAK;  Kenny McIntosh had one kickoff return for 25 yards.

For Starters & Game Captains: Georgia had seven first-time starters tonight: true freshman Ladd McConkey (WR), true freshman Brock Bowers (TE), redshirt freshman Tate Ratledge (RG), redshirt freshman Sedrick Van Prann (C), junior Travon Walker (DE), senior Ameer Speed (LCB) plus his first at Georgia for senior transfer Derion Kendrick (RCB). Clemson won the toss and elected to defer the ball until the second half. Senior James Cook (RB), junior JT Daniels (QB) and junior Nakobe Dean (ILB) were the captains.

Up Next: No. 5 Georgia (1-0) returns to action Saturday in Athens when it plays host to UAB (1-0) at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2).

 

 

 

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