Georgia football: Everything Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs’ victory over Georgia Tech

Georgia football: Everything Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs' victory over Georgia Tech
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After two quarters of play on Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs found themselves in a low-scoring slugfest with Georgia Tech. Come the third quarter, the Bulldogs capitalized on two crucial mistakes by the Yellow Jackets to put the game out of reach.

Georgia cashed in on a bobbled snap by Georgia Tech punter David Shanahan and a fumble by Yellow Jackets running back Jamie Felix to score 10 crucial points in the third quarter on its way to a 37-14 victory. The win featured an up-and-down showing by the Bulldogs, which trailed early and had issues on both sides of the ball before settling in and silencing their in-state rival.

As a result of Saturday’s victory, Georgia (12-0, 8-0 SEC) has sealed back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and has delivered its fifth straight victory over Georgia Tech (5-7, 4-4 ACC).

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When the Yellow Jackets made a mistake on special teams, the home team had ample opportunity to extend its lead, giving the Bulldogs a small advantage of six points early in the third quarter.

Georgia inside linebacker Trezmen Marshall confronted Georgia punter David Shanahan after Shanahan attempted to run upfield with the ball after failing to catch a low snap.The Georgia offense needed only 17 yards to reach the end zone after Marshall’s heads-up tackle cost Georgia Tech 13 yards.

Georgia football Everything Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs’ victory over Georgia Tech

The Bulldogs made the most of the small field, though it wasn’t easy.

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On a second-and-goal drive, Stetson Bennett came up just short of the goal line, and the Bulldogs decided to attempt to reach the end zone after being stopped once more on third down.With Georgia’s “Jumbo” package on the field, Bennett faked a handoff and fired to Brock Bowers, who was wide open. Bowers was able to get his hands under a ball that was not being thrown and catch it for a one-yard touchdown.

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Bowers’ touchdown catch gave Georgia a 20-7 lead with 5:51 remaining in the second quarter.

Almost as soon as the Georgia offense got to the sideline, it was time for them to return to the field.

Georgia defensive tackle Nazir Stackhouse forced the ball out of Felix’s hands on the first play of Georgia Tech’s next possession, and outside linebacker Robert Beal fell on the loose ball to give the Bulldogs the ball on their own 25. This drive didn’t have quite the success as the one that preceded it for Georgia, but the Bulldogs were able to go up 16 with Podlesny’s 36-yard kick.

The Bulldogs’ dominance after halftime was an unwelcome change of pace for the Yellow Jackets, which outgained Georgia 187-153 in the first half then mustered all of 1 yard in the third quarter.

By the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs could do no wrong.

Bennett hit Kenny McIntosh down the left sideline for an 83-yard gain — Georgia’s biggest passing play of the season — to quickly turn what was a Georgia drive backed up on its own 1-yard line into one with real promise. McIntosh turned that promise into points on the very next play, pushing forward to cross the goal line for a 2-yard touchdown.

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McIntosh’s rushing score put Georgia up 30-7 with 13:45 to go in the game. McIntosh ended the game with 12 carries for 86 yards and 1 touchdown and 2 receptions for 96 yards.

Following a big turnover on downs forced by the Bulldogs’ defense, Kendall Milton got in on the fun.

Milton took the first carry of the drive for 5 yards then broke through in a big way with his second by finding a hole and taking off past all available defenders on his way to a 44-yard touchdown. Milton’s score created a 30-point contest with 11:13 to go in the game.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart talked to reporters shortly after Saturday’s win. Below is what Smart said in full:

Opening statement

“First, I want to thank our fans for coming out. You know, it’s a great atmosphere. I felt there’s some lulls in the game at times and sleepwalking through it. And that always scares you, and I think our fans kind of pushed us over the edge for some momentum there in the game. Georgia Tech ran a lot of credit to their staff. Staff has changed over and then worked really hard this year at putting game plans together and you can tell they’ve done a lot of work. They did a good job defensively and a good job offensively with a game plan.

Georgia football Everything Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs’ victory over Georgia Tech: I’ve got a lot of respect for the staff and the players, the way that the players competed in the game. I thought special teams came through today. And it’s the first game in quite a while that we made some plays in special teams to kind of give us some momentum and get us rolling. so proud of that. All in all, it’s on to the next one. Great regular season for this group. They’ve done everything that we’ve asked him to do, and they only get bigger from here.”

On if he was emotional on Senior Day…

“I don’t know I think I’ve been through more emotional ones than this one, for some reason. This one was so so fast and rushed. We would we were trying to fly through there to get through them. We got started a little bit late because Tech got out of there a little later. I have to catch myself from stopping and spending too much time because you start having memories of sitting in the home and convincing kids to come and you see the first year, the second year you have them. And look this group has meant so much. What was it, 46-5, Claude, what was the number? [Claude says 46-5].

“Yeah this group was 46-5. How many games we play the COVID year? We did get to 10 because of the bowl game and we only got nine regular season games right? And then the 10th was the bowl game so we got shoredt one game in a year that you were already shorted games. And they still came out as the winningest group ever. Their leadership is our consistency. Meaning everybody’s like well, how do y’all come out and do it each week and not let down and not do this? Well their leadership is our consistency and each and every one of them for walk ons to scholarship players is deserving of the recognition.”

On the seniors…

“Their leadership is our consistency. Well, everybody comes out and asks ‘how do y’all do this each week, not let down, not do this and not do that. Each and every one of them, from walk ons to scholarship players is deserving of their recognition.”

On getting everyone’s best shot…

“I think everyone gets our best shot. It’s not like, well, you’re the hunted, you’re the target. I don’t believe in all that. I believe it’s about us being the attacker. We probably didn’t start as fast today as we have in the past. You’re not going to start every game guns a blazing, and we had to respond to some adversity again. We probably should have had a bigger lead at half, but the way things fell it just didn’t happen. They actually did a good job of shrinking the game as well.”

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On the Vince Dooley tie Smart was wearing in the press conference and why he didn’t wear it on the field…

“I was going to, but I chickened out. I didn’t want it to be a distraction to the seniors and want them saying, well we don’t change our uniforms, why did you? So, I decided to wear it the press conference if things went well. I told Derek if I could, and he and Mrs. Barbara were like ‘Oh, we’d be honored.” She had his tie, and this is the tie he wore to so many games

Derek gave it to me. I probably didn’t do the shirt and sweater justice that he does, I honored him with no visor. He did it right for a long time. He did so much for this community. It’s just a small token of my appreciation for all the things he did at Georgia.”

On giving up 1 yard of offense in third quarter and the defense’s performance…

“We played much better after the half. We made some adjustments. They did a really nice job. I’ve got a lot of respect for Chip Long, Brent Key, Jim Chaney. Those guys know football. They didn’t just forget football. Not only do they know football, they know us. That part was good for us to make some adjustments and do some good things and come out and give our offense the ball back.”

On the slow start on offense and not allowing it to fester…

Georgia football Everything Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs’ victory over Georgia Tech: “It’s sticking to the plan. It’s going in not knowing what’s going to happen. We talk all the time about we’re going to try to outscore our opponents in the fourth quarter and win the fourth quarter every game. The first thing we go over when we come in next fall is how many fourth quarters did we win? You guys know, some fourth quarters that we’re already ahead in. Does the fourth quarter matter? It matters at Georgia. It doesn’t matter who’s on the field, we want to try to outscore them in the fourth quarter. That helps give you confidence that no matter what happens early, you’re going to be OK. You’ve got to keep chopping. Don’t hit any panic buttons.”

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