Walter Grant, a sophomore linebacker from Cairo, Georgia, tackles a Vanderbilt player during the University of Georgia football game on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The University of Georgia football team played against Vanderbilt University for its homecoming game. (Photo/Justin Fountain, justingf@uga.edu)

Both Georgia’s offense and defense had its work cut out in the first half its matchup against Vanderbilt. The No. 2 Bulldogs lead the Commodores 21-6, but Georgia finds itself in a battle at halftime. Here are some takeaways from the first half. 

Injury-ridden first half

Georgia saw a handful of injuries in the first half alone. Left guard Solomon Kindley went down with an injury towards the end of the first quarter. He was carted off the field, and his injury was later announced as a right knee injury.

Center Lamont Gaillard also was injured during the first quarter, but he returned to play in the middle of the second. He was seen on the sideline favoring one of his hands. 

J.R. Reed also went down on a play in the second quarter, but he was able to walk off the field on his own power. Reed later returned to the field. 

Georgia defense puts pressure on Vanderbilt 

Georgia’s defense looked strong on the opening drive of the game. Both Tyler Clark and Walter Grant each recorded a pass breakup on Vanderbilt’s first drive, and Georgia forced Vanderbilt to punt. Georgia’s defense did what head coach Kirby Smart wanted his offense to do: come out fast on the opening drive.

Georgia’s pass rush continued to show improvement throughout the first quarter, keeping Vanderbilt’s offense and Kyle Shurmur on their toes. Both Richard LeCounte and Tae Crowder recorded forced fumbles in the first half, with Crowder also recording Georgia’s only sack of the first half. Vanderbilt had seven third-down attempts throughout the first half, and Georgia’s defense stopped the Commodores on five of the seven.

Georgia offense turns around in second quarter

The offense’s opening drive was not as successful. Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm threw two incomplete pass attempts to receiver Terry Godwin, forcing Georgia to punt. After Smart said before the game that a major focus for the offense was a faster start, the Bulldogs were not able to do that on their first drive of the game.

Georgia’s rushing game was not as explosive as it has been until the second quarter. The Bulldogs only recorded 56 rushing yards in the first half, with 49 of the 56 yards coming in the second quarter. The passing game was a different story. Georgia finished the half with 207 passing yards, including Godwin’s 75-yard touchdown catch.

Fromm struggled slightly throughout the first half, but he was able to convert a few big third down attempts. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Fields also saw a snap, handing the ball off to Elijah Holyfield, who ran it in for a 24-yard touchdown.

Longest play from scrimmage puts Georgia on board

Godwin answered the missed passes on the first drive with a 75-yard touchdown from Fromm on the second offense drive. He avoided the tackle from Vanderbilt with some moves to get around and reach the end zone.

The catch was Godwin’s fifth on the season and his first touchdown for 2018. It is also the longest play from scrimmage recorded this season.

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