Carlton Thomas rushed for two touchdowns on Saturday.
The start of the game was reminiscent of the start of Georgia's SEC season—wildly inconsistent, out-of-sync, and frustrating.
The offense found it difficult to get going, thanks in large part to the frequent stoppages of play and ,early on, it seemed as if the Bulldogs would be regressing back to the mediocre brand of football many came to expect during their four game losing streak (three timeouts used in the first six minutes).
However, the Bulldogs dominated that other team from Tennessee, both offensively and defensively, pitching their first shutout of the season and running all over and through the Vanderbilt defensive front—A.J. Green didn't even have to get his super hero clothing dirty on Saturday as there were plenty of big plays and familiar playmakers to go around.
So who made the cut for being the most productive on the day?...
1. Washaun Ealey, RB
Ealey ran with purpose on Saturday, breaking tackles, driving the pile, and making running lanes appear even when there didn't seem any. He even managed to hold onto the ball inside the five-yard line—the place he's struggled all season long—and score a touchdown.
He finished the day with 17 carries, for 123 yards, and one touchdown (7.2 ypc).
Note: Vanderbilt was the team Washaun Ealey broke out against last season as well. From that point on, he became a force in the Georgia running game, rushing for 595 yards and three touchdowns the remainder of the way.
2. Carlton Thomas, RB
Thomas finally hit pay dirt in the redzone, scoring twice on the day—once on a nice 15-yard run led by the blocking of center Ben Jones and, for the second time, on a nine-yard run late in the third.
He still isn't going to be the guy between the tackles but you have to applaud his efforts on Saturday.
Note: Those were the first touchdowns of Thomas' career.
3. Kris Durham, WR
What more can you say about Durham?
Whether he was gaining yards on the first big passing play of the game (55 yards), or leaping above three defenders to pull down an ill-advised pass from Aaron Murray, the senior has given the Bulldog faithful everything he's got this year, and his four catch, 112-yard performance on Saturday just gave the fans yet another reason to smile.
Note: Durham averaged 28.0 yards per reception for the game, bringing his average, on the season, to 20.6.
4. Aaron Murray, QB
He didn't have to run it much, but he stepped up and made a couple of really big plays from the pocket, a 48-yard strike to A.J. Green which led to a touchdown and a 22-yard completion to Aron White during a 16-play, 86-yard drive to end the first half.
The redshirt freshman ended the day with 287 yards and two touchdowns.
5. Uga VIII
How can you not mention Georgia's newest member?
"Big Bad Bruce" was a baaaaadddddddd Dawg on Saturday—bad meaning good—as he started his tenure both undefeated and, as coach Richt pointed out, "unscored upon".
6. The Defense
Sure it was Vanderbilt, but that means nada—keeping a team off the board is impressive, no matter who they are or what they've done this season. After all, even Louisiana got on the board against Georgia in the first game of the year.
The Bulldogs held Vanderbilt to a total of 140 yards (82 passing and 58 rushing), 1-of-11 on third downs, and eight first downs....eight! Not to mention, they were +2 on the day after forcing an interception and a safety.
Note: Georgia is currently ranked 39th in the nation in turnover margin. They ended last season ranked 118th. Also, over the last two games the defense has allowed 14 points, 409 total yards of offense, forced five turnovers, and held the offense to 7-of-24 on third downs.
7. Drew Butler, P
That's the Drew Butler that Bulldog fans know and love. Butler averaged 49.0 yards per punt on the day.
8. The Offense
The Georgia offense has looked significantly better over the last two weeks and yesterday, against the Commodores, they totaled 547 yards of total offense (315 yards passing and 232 yards rushing). Add to that, they dominated the time of possession (37:15), and averaged better than 11.0 yards per passing play.
Note: Over the last two weeks, the Georgia offense has totaled 949 yards of total offense and scored 84 points.
9. The Offensive Line
There is still some improvement to be made in both pass protection and run blocking, but you have to give a nod to the reconfigured line which features a confidence-gaining Trinton Sturdivant at left tackle and an impressive Kenarious Gates at right guard.
10. Tavares King, WR
He's quietly having a good season for the Bulldogs at his position and caught four passes for 70 yards on Saturday.
What say you?...What caught your eye about the team on yesterday.
(This article appears by courtesy of The Lady Sportswriter. The Lady Sportswriter offers daily commentary on college football, particularly the SEC, and provides in-depth observations on the state of the Georgia Bulldogs football program)