It was a tough game to watch for Georgia fans last Saturday. The Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party turned into the biggest outdoor injury fest as numerous Gators and Bulldogs fell ill to the injury bug. Despite having star tight end Kyle Pitts knocked out of the game after a violent collision with Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine, which resulted in Cine’s ejection for targeting, the Gators rolled to a 44-28 victory in the cross-state rivalry.
After Georgia jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind a 75-yard touchdown run by Zamir White on the first play from scrimmage, the Bulldogs added another touchdown when Stetson Bennett connected with freshman wideout Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint. The touchdown gave Georgia a 14-0 advantage early into the contest, however, Rosemy-Jacksaint went down after reaching the endzone with a brutal lower leg injury that looked to be season ending. On the same play Stetson Bennett received a viscous blow to his right shoulder that injured the junior playcaller as well.
An early 14-0 lead was not enough as Florida stormed back and took control of the game behind a stellar performance by senior quarterback Kyle Trask. Trask’s performance against Georgia last weekend and Arkansas this weekend has him in the running for the Heisman Trophy. Georgia’s offense became stagnant while Florida surged against the Bulldogs’ supposedly stellar defense. While Gainesville can celebrate the Gators' success, It was a painful game to watch as a Georgia fan.
Georgia did have hopes of a College Football Playoff before last Saturday's game. They simply needed to win out the remainder of their schedule, make the SEC championship game, and upset an Alabama team that has their eyes locked on a National Championship. However, this plan required the Bulldogs beating their rivals to the south.
With losses to Florida and Alabama it is now highly unlikely that Georgia will emerge atop the SEC east standings, save a complete and utter collapse on behalf of Florida. This plan also hinged on finding a more elite quarterback than Georgia’s current options of Bennett or Mathis. all indicators have it looking like Georgia will be playing for a respectable bowl game for the remainder of this season, rather than an SEC or National Championship.
Bennett’s play in the remainder of last Saturday’s game reflected his likely separated shoulder as he was benched in favor of D’Wan Mathis, who also left much to be desired. Simply put, neither Stetson Bennett nor D’Wan Mathis are the answer for the Bulldogs at this point in time.
JT Daniels has yet to make an appearance under center for the Bulldogs which has led many, myself included, to believe that Daniels is still plagued by his ACL injury over a year ago. With Georgia’s SEC championship and CFB playoff hopes teetering on the outcome of the Cocktail Party, it seemed like as Good a time as any for Kirby Smart to throw Daniels out in the mix.
By not doing so Smart is indicating the Daniels is not quite ready to lead the offense against opposing teams. Daniels has yet to make an appearance under center for the Bulldogs despite being medically cleared and making progress during practices. This leaves many to assume that Daniels is simply not healthy enough to take over the reins as the starting quarterback. However, Daniels has been taking first team snaps during practices, and with this weekend's game against Missouri postponed it might give the transfer QB enough time to feel 100%. It also might give Kirby Smart enough confidence in his abilities to lead the offense. Just a hunch, but Expect JT Daniels to see playing time the next time the Bulldogs hit the field.