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Georgia Sees Past Clemson Despite Lack of Offense

The expectation for points and offense in the season opener quickly went out the window in Charlotte.

Many would've thought that a low-scoring game would favor Clemson's top-ranked defense heading into Saturday's season-opening top-5 matchup. Instead, Georgia's highly touted returning production offensively amassed to just three points for the Dawgs, with Christopher Smith's pick-six serving as the game's only touchdown. 

The matchup of the defense of Clemson and offense of Georgia made this Saturday's contest an early candidate for the game of the season, but as we quickly realized, this game was going to be won by the best defense. Which, in the end, looked to be Georgia's after racking up seven sacks. 

Todd Monken and co. drew up the much-expected gameplan of trying to keep the ball away from this talented Tigers defensive line by favoring plays in the screen game, play action, and even running the ball outside the tackles. 

If Georgia were going to beat Clemson, it would be getting the ball out in space to their playmakers and then taking the top off with the deep ball of JT Daniels.

Things did not go to plan as many would've hoped; the vertical passing game of JT Daniels was non-existent. Georgia did not take many chances throughout the game, looking for the "kill-shot" with an explosive play over the head of the experienced Tigers secondary. Instead, play-action and an east-west running game was the answer for Georgia, just not too much success. 

Zamir White led the Dawgs in rushing with 74 yards on 13 carries, with Kendall Milton behind him with 27 on just 6 carries. Georgia's run game amassed 121 yards compared to Clemson's 2 yards. 

Daniels finished the game with 135 yards and an interception on 30 attempts, completing 22 passes. Georgia's banged-up receiving core shifted Georgia's focus away from vertical passing to more of a "can't go broke, taking a profit" approach. 

Ultimately that offensive approach benefited true freshman Brock Bowers. Bowers was called into the spotlight at tight end following Darnell Washington going down at the end of camp with a minor fracture in his foot. With Washington out of the lineup, Georgia turned to the true freshman to the tune of 43 yards on six receptions, the most receptions, and yards on the team. 

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The expectation of points and yards through the air may leave many feeling unsatisfied. Still, it is noteworthy that Georgia was able to impose their will on Clemson for four quarters in a game where productive offense was hard to come by and still pulled out the victory.

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