Overreactions from Win Over Mississippi State

Georgia barely scraped past Mississippi State Saturday night with a 31-24 victory. The Bulldogs needed a near-perfect fourth quarter to escape with a win.

Somehow, through three (or four) starting quarterbacks, a multitude of injuries to All-America players all while implementing a new offense, Georgia is 5-2.

The Bulldogs edged out Mississippi State 31-24 Saturday thanks in large part to quarterback JT Daniels' impressive debut. Here are the biggest overreactions from Georgia's victory:

Eight yards?! What happened to the running game?

Let's preface this by saying the offensive line did not play well. Eight yards is an abysmal amount, especially for Georgia's running game. However, Georgia was never going to produce a 150-yard game Saturday; Mississippi State wasn't going to allow it.

Mississippi State's game plan was obvious: There's no way Daniels could play well without a running game to back him up, so take away the run and watch him struggle. The fatal flaw of that game plan was that Daniels did not struggle. He completed 28 passes for 401 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. 


The lack of production in the running game would have been more of a concern if Daniels struggled, or if Mississippi State had a different game plan. No one else is going to defend Georgia like that.

Daniels is the quarterback of Georgia's future

Daniels had an excellent debut, but let's tap the breaks a bit. It was still only one game. Let's watch the final three games before coronating Daniels as the next great Georgia quarterback.

No one is going to defend Georgia the way Mississippi State did. In future games, Daniels is going to deal with tighter coverage and quicker pass rushes. How will he look against those defenses? If the results are the same, then Daniels' is a stock to buy. If he struggles, the quarterback battle will be back on and with Brock Vandagriff entering the equation.

Daniels had the best game of his career, and it wasn't even close. He set career highs in yards (401), touchdowns (4), completion percentage (73.7), quarterback rating (197.1) and yards per attempt (10.55). It's unreasonable to believe he can repeat those numbers on a weekly basis. If he does, we would be looking at not only the best quarterback in Georgia history, but college football history. 

Those are statistical outliers throughout the history of the sport, Joe Burrow included. 

What happened to the defense? 

The only way to stop an attack like Mississippi State's that head coach Mike Leach has installed is to make them drive the length of the field. The explosive plays have to be limited by rushing three, dropping eight, playing zone coverage and tackling in the open field. 

The only problem with that game plan occurs when the opposing quarterback, Will Rogers, completes a career-high 41 passes (78.8 percent) and doesn't turn the ball over. Giving up points will obviously be the result. Georgia's defensive game plan was one that banked on Mississippi State making mistakes to get them "off script." And with Mississippi State having just one offensive penalty, allowing just two sacks, while sustaining three drives of 10 plays or more, points will happen. 

Meanwhile, entering Saturday's game, Mississippi State was second to last in red-zone offensive efficiency in the country. However, they scored touchdowns on two of their three trips to the red zone Saturday night. 

The opposing quarterback had a career night, and the offense played much better in the red zone than they had all season. It was an outlier performance in every sense of the word. It was, as Leach called it, "The best game they've played all season."