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Georgia Bulldogs 31, Vanderbilt Commodores 14: UGA Runs Past Vandy

The Bulldogs' rushing attack carried the day in Nashville.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't a pretty game, but the Georgia Bulldogs outlasted the Vanderbilt Commodores 31-14 in Nashville on Saturday afternoon.

Vandy came out feisty, stopping the Bulldogs for a three-and-out followed by a nine-play drive that got into UGA territory. The Bulldogs answered with a 72-yard drive, but Marshall Morgan missed the field goal at the end of it. The next Commodore drive would be in disaster, as VU went three-and-out with Isaiah McKenzie housing the punt at the end from 77 yards out. Vandy put three on the board early in the second quarter, but a couple of drives later Sony Michel ripped off a 31-yard TD run. The 'Dores did manage a pair of 12-play drives to close out the half, but they ended with a field goal and a missed field goal, respectively. The game went into the half at a 14-6 Bulldog advantage.

UGA put ten on the board in the third quarter, but a missed field goal early in the fourth removed an opportunity to put the game away further. The Commodores were able to make a lot of headway after it. A ten-play, 71-yard drive died on downs at the eight, and after a three-and-out for the Bulldog offense, good field position finally led to a Vandy touchdown on a seven-yard Johnny McCrary pass to Latevius Rayford. Georgia misplayed the ensuing kickoff, and an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Bulldogs gave VU the ball at the eight. McCrary tossed a bad INT to bail out the Bulldogs, though, and the next Vandy drive iced the game for UGA thanks to a Dominick Sanders pick-six.

Neither team looked completely sharp, and both teams left plenty of points on the field between turnovers and missed field goals. Georgia's run game was easily the best aspect of either offense, with Nick Chubb going for 189 yards on 19 carries (9.9 YPC) and Michel getting 56 yards on 12 (4.6 YPC). Greyson Lambert completed just 11/21 for 116 yards (5.5 YPA). McCrary passed for nearly 300 yards at 295, but it took him 50 throws to get there (5.9 YPA) and he threw three picks.

Derek Mason's defense showed some real spirit in largely succeeding against everyone except Chubb, while the star running back's value to his team was readily apparent. Lambert looked at times like a guy who lost the quarterback battle at Virginia, while Vandy's offense didn't look hopeless.

It was a classic, pre-James Franklin era Vandy Game in other words, where a favorite went into Nashville and had more trouble than you would have figured. The Commodores have definitely improved over last year, but they're just not ready to beat a team as good as Georgia yet. UGA, meanwhile, still has plenty of room to grow if it's going to fulfill expectations as the East division favorite.