Georgia had struggled to establish the run entering the matchup with South Carolina but managed to put together an impressive performance on the ground against the Gamecocks.
Coming into the game, the Bulldogs were averaging just 4.2 yards per carry. They were averaging 143 rushing yards per game, which is a bit off of their pace from a year ago where they average 175 yards on the ground per game.
Against South Carolina, Georgia figured out how to successfully run the ball. For starters, the passing game found success, which was crucial for this running game. The worst thing an offense can do is become one-dimensional, and against Clemson, the Bulldogs could not generate explosive plays in the passing game.
Head coach Kirby Smart said that he was proud of the running game in his postgame press conference. He spoke on how important it is to have both your passing game and running game working together.
"If we are going to be elite we are going to have to be able to run and throw."
They marched their way to 185 yards rushing on Saturday, going for 6.2 yards per carry. Running back Kendall Milton led the way with 66 rushing yards, but it was a complete effort from this running back room.
Whether it was Milton, Zamir White, Kenny McIntosh, or James Cook, it seemed like every Georgia running back managed to find a way off first contact. Cook scored a 23-yard touchdown in the first quarter after making a defender miss, and the others consistently ran through defensive backs on the outside.
Milton was very impressive in the win. He routinely read his keys correctly, and once he made a decision, he hit the hole hard. There is no hesitation in Milton's game, and he has proved that he is the most complete back that Georgia has.
He got to the outside several times, lowering his shoulder and delivering crushing blows to safeties. As a true freshman, Milton only tallied 35 carries and will see a much larger role in the offense this season.
White has clearly gone to the next level and feels much more comfortable a few years removed from ACL surgery. He makes the first defender miss much more often than he previously did, creating a lot of extra yardage for this Georgia offense.
Georgia has a stable of talented backs that make this offense run. During the broadcast, it was noted that offensive coordinator Todd Monken thinks Georgia's running back room is the strong point of the offense.
The offensive line has also improved over the past few weeks. In week one, the Tiger defensive line made many plays against them, and UAB even had their moments.
There were still a few rough spots, but it is easy to see that this offensive line is improving. They lost right guard Tate Ratledge two plays into the young season and are still trying to get acquainted.
Here is what senior James Cook had to say about how the Bulldogs could improve the run against the Gamecocks:
"You know we just mentally prepared ourselves this week. Continue running in practice this week. Just reading out reads and hitting the hole and just things like that. We worked on it a lot. We should be pretty efficient this year."
Guard Jamaree Salyer also offered a comment, discussing what the run game means to Georgia historically:
"Here at the University of Georgia, running the ball is--we always have a sense of urgency about that, whether it's good or bad. We always take things with the week. You know, for us, I think the run game is kind of a detailed thing. I don't think it is an effort thing, I don't even think it's a personnel thing, I think it is just the details, you know, the fine details, the finishing this block, but going this direction. So yeah, it's always a sense of urgency here because that is what this program is being founded on to stay at. But yeah, we take great pride in our offensive line and defensive line of play and being able to run the ball and stop the run. So yeah, we really want to get those things corrected and, you know, get back to being the team that we want."
The Bulldogs will need this run game moving forward; Georgia cannot be one-dimensional in big games. Several players spoke about the running game in the lead-up to South Carolina.
You May Also Like:
Join the community
Follow Brooks Austin on Twitter: @BrooksAustinSI
Subscribe to our YouTube Page HERE
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top right-hand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook @BulldogMaven & follow us on Twitter at @BulldogsSI.