The Georgia Bulldogs got their second win of the season on Saturday by taking down the North Texas Mean Green, 42-21.
It was not an easy win for the Bulldogs by any means. In fact, they were tied with North Texas 21-21 at the start of the third quarter. Also, there were a lot of mistakes made by the Bulldogs which will have to be corrected before they face LSU next week.
That said, the Bulldogs did a lot of good things in the game and will look to continue to be even better at all the good things they did moving forward.
Here are 10 things we learned from the Bulldogs win against North Texas.
The first thing that has to be brought up is the special teams.
Fourteen of the 21 points scored by North Texas were possible because of special teams breakdowns by the Bulldogs.
The first came in the second quarter when Brelan Chancellor scored on a 98-yard touchdown kick return. The second came in the third quarter when North Texas blocked a punt, and it was recovered in the end zone for a score.
Special teams have been a glaring weakness for the Bulldogs for the last few years. Something has to be done to get the mistakes corrected because if they were playing against a team like LSU, they would have came away with a loss.
Thankfully, the Bulldogs have a quarterback who can get them out of trouble.
Aaron Murray ended his day with 408 yards and three touchdowns. He also had one rushing touchdown and 37 rushing yards.
Murray has been outstanding the last two weeks and is becoming one of the better quarterbacks in the country if he isn’t already.
The one thing he has to do is limit the turnovers. He had one bad interception in the first quarter, and he also had some near misses as the game progressed. But when a play needed to be made, Murray made it which is why the Bulldogs racked up over 600 yards of total offense.
There is another true freshman who can make an impact, and it’s not a defender.
Wide receiver Reggie Davis made a heck of a debut, as he had 134 yards on two receptions. He scored the Bulldogs’ first TD when he caught a 98-yard pass from Murray, which was the longest pass play in school history.
Because of the injuries to Malcolm Mitchell and Jonathan Rumph, Davis got an opportunity to see some action.
He made the most of his playing time, and he will see more time on the field as the season rolls on.
Todd Gurley had a solid game against the Mean Green as he rushed for 91 yards, scored once and had 20 receiving yards.
But compared to what he was able to do against Clemson and South Carolina, rushing for over 130 yards in both games, North Texas almost shut down the sophomore running back.
The Mean Green were able to do a good job at wrapping up at the point of attack, which is why Gurley was not able to get any more yards after he was hit.
So Gurley looked somewhat human in the win against North Texas. However, not too many teams are going to be able to do what the Mean Green did on Saturday.
The real reason the Bulldogs racked up 600 yards of offense was the play of the offensive line.
After a sluggish performance against Clemson, the offensive line is starting to come together.
Kolton Houston and John Theus alternated at right tackle, and both were able to hold their own against an aggressive North Texas defensive line.
The unit has a ton of experience, and it’s starting to show. The offense kept Murray upright which is always a good thing.
The defense had a very strong showing, and a large part had to do with the play of linebacker Leonard Floyd.
The freshman had three tackles and two sacks against the Mean Green. The offensive line had trouble blocking him all game long because of the speed he was possessing off the edge.
Coaches were raving about Floyd all throughout the preseason, and he showed why with his performance against North Texas.
The one defensive player who has been consistent this season is Ramik Wilson.
With a nine-tackle performance, Wilson was all over the field on Saturday. But that is nothing new to him or the rest of his teammates because he did that against Clemson and South Carolina.
Wilson came into the game ranked fifth in the conference in tackles. When the season is all said and done, don’t be surprised if Wilson is the leading tackler in the SEC.
The secondary for the Bulldogs is also starting to improve.
Damian Swann and Josh Harvey-Clemons had a pass breakup, while Tray Matthews got his first interception of the year.
There were a few plays where the secondary got beat, but for the most part, they kept everything in front of them and made plays on the ball when the opportunity presented itself.
They will have a test next week because LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger would love nothing more than to throw all over against his former team.
If something ever happens to Keith Marshall or Todd Gurley, the position is in good hands.
With more and more teams doing their best to shut down Marshall and Gurley, players like J.J. Green, Quayvon Hicks and Brendan Douglas will have to step up. If the running game continues to be effective, the Bulldogs will continue to score a ton of points.
For those who want to say the Bulldogs overlooked North Texas, that is far from the truth.
The Mean Green came into the game wanting to win and showed no signs of lying down. The Bulldogs were able to make plays all game long, but they could not execute consistently because of mental mistakes and penalties.
It’s actually good that the Bulldogs had to battle against North Texas. This game will prepare them for LSU and the rest of the SEC because every team will try to dethrone the Bulldogs so they can claim the East Division title.