There was a drive in the fourth quarter that encapsulates a lot about Tuesday's Belk Bowl. On two separate third-and-long situations, Georgia elected to run the ball against the heralded Louisville defense, and that decision made total sense in the context of the game thus far. It was actually surprising when Georgia only converted one of those third-and-long runs; evidence of Georgia's complete domination in the trenches, and freshman running back Nick Chubb's bright future.
Speaking of Chubb, he rushed 33 times for 267 yards and averaged 8.1 yards per carry. Which would be impressive enough against UofL's third ranked rushing defense, but it was even more so given UGA's one-dimensional offense due to injuries to quarterback Hutson Mason and receiver Michael Bennett. Louisville tacklers had no answer for him no matter how many defenders they tried to squeeze into the box.
Mason's backup, Bryce Ramsey, was not going to beat UofL with his arm, and UofL could not capitalize with Ramsey under center, as the Dawgs would go on to run for 302 yards. If UGA got in a third down situation, they converted, and were actually 9-for-12 on third down heading into the fourth quarter. A heap of praise was earned tonight by Georgia's veteran offensive line, Chubb and interim offensive coordinator John Lilly, who ran "the dang ball" over and over again.
The Louisville defense's inability to take advantage of UGA's offense being short-handed may have been eclipsed by its offense's inefficiencies. Quarterback Kyle Bolin threw for 300 yards, but only completed 50 percent of his passes, and threw two picks against UGA's tough secondary. His back-up, Reggie Bonnafon, entered the game for two series and threw a pick in only three pass attempts.
A bright spot was Brandon Radcliff running for 90 yards on 19 attempts, and of course, receiver Devante Parker. On Louisville's second touchdown drive, Parker seemingly caught every pass, and made several big plays that led to a Radcliff touchdown. Parker ended the game with 8 catches for 119 yards, and he'll no doubt be missed by the Louisville faithful. UofL's offense finished the game with 380 total yards, but give credit to UGA's defense for forcing turnovers and keeping them out of the end zone.
Louisville's first season in the ACC was a success by most measures, but tonight they faced an extremely talented freshman running back who was escorted by a veteran offensive line. UGA rushing for over 300 yards seemed far-fetched prior to kick-off, but by the conclusion of the Belk Bowl the outcome seemed inevitable. UGA returns some pieces on offense and defense next season, and will likely be the preseason SEC East favorite for several good reasons, namely Nick Chubb's presence in the Dawg backfield.