Carson Beck features during the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship Game on January 9, 2023 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. (Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Even though the Georgia Bulldogs were able to blow away the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 48-7 Saturday evening ‘Between the Hedges,’ the ‘Dawgs definitely started slow out of the blocks. But the outcome was never in doubt. Carson Beck threw for 294 yards and had two total touchdowns, Brock Bowers had 5 receptions for 77 yards and one rushing touchdown, and yes, it appears all was well at Sanford Stadium.

Of course, there would be hiccups during the first game! Georgia’s offense converted only 5-of-12 times on third down. The running game averaged more than five yards per carry but did not assert itself because the offensive line didn’t get push while the game still mattered. Georgia finished the game with 159 rushing yards. 

“I wouldn’t say we played to our standard,” said Georgia nose guard Nazir Stackhouse. “They had (132 yards rushing), and we didn’t like that, after last year when guys were averaging 67 yards a game. But we’ve got time to work on it. We’ve got a lot of guys on the defense who are going to help us out.”

Before anyone overreacts, I would like to caution all of you: Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint did not play. Running back Daijun Edwards did not tote the rock tonight due to a knee injury. It was also the opportunity to bed-in the new play caller, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. 

Sure: Oregon scored 81 points against Portland State. Ole Miss scored 73, Oklahoma scored 73, Notre Dame scored 56 points against Tennessee State, the Trojans scored 66 against Nevada and Tennessee looked smooth today and Georgia didn’t ‘demolish’ Tennessee-Martin. 

With all of that in mind, there’s room to improve against Ball State next week. 

“We talked a long time this week to our players about setting a standard for how we prepare for games during the week of practice, how we prepare for games on Friday, how we prepare for games on Saturday and I thought they did a really good job of that every day,” said Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart. “I thought they grew up tonight, and we get feedback. The next step in this process is, what is the feedback? And I’m not talking about feedback from you guys. Unfortunately, I don’t care what you think or what you say. We get to watch the tape and say, ‘What does the feedback say?’ and figure out who we are and where we go from here.”

Bowers, Sedrick Van Pran, Javon Bullard, and Jamon Dumas-Johnson served as the captains tonight. Moreover, senior left guard Xavier Truss was wearing Devin Willock’s No. 77, as a tribute to their teammate who was killed in a car wreck in January.

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...