Georgia defensive back J.R. Reed (20) breaks away from coverage with the ball during the first half of Georgia’s home opener against Murray State University in Sanford Stadium on Saturday, Sep. 7, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. At the end of the half, the Bulldogs led the Racers 42-7. (Photo/Ryan Cameron, rcameron@randb.com)

Following Georgia's game against Murray State on Saturday, The Red & Black football writers and editors graded each position group's performance.


Jake Fromm took a while to settle into the pass game in the first half. He struggled to find consistency in targets and was sacked early. Freshman wide receiver George Pickens was a popular target for Fromm, and he had a deep diving catch that set Georgia up for a touchdown two plays later, which was also caught by Pickens. Redshirt sophomore Stetson Bennett stepped into the game at the end of the second quarter and remained at quarterback until late in the fourth quarter when he was replaced by freshman Nathan Priestley. Bennett threw an interception returned for a touchdown, but he was able to recover after and keep the Bulldogs far out of the reach of Murray State. — Anna Glenn Grove

Grade: B+ 

Running backs

Three different backs — Zamir White, D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien— found the end zone for the Bulldogs. White found a groove and picked up a bulk of the carries while D’Andre Swift ripped off a touchdown run 90 seconds into the contest. Overall, it was an expected, successful afternoon spread out across the stable of speedsters. — Myan Patel 

Grade: B+


On Saturday, nine Georgia players caught passes. Pickens highlighted the day with a lunging 43-yard grab and a 15-yard touchdown reception in the same drive. He ended the day with 78 yards on four catches. 

Graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf was frequently targeted by Fromm throughout the first half. He racked up 73 yards on four receptions but also fumbled in the first quarter. Overall, pass catchers were able to make catches when they needed to, and Georgia finished with more yards in the air (292) than on the ground (269). — Augusta Stone 

Grade: B+

Offensive line

Despite giving up a sack in the first quarter, the offensive line didn’t seem to miss Isaiah Wilson at right tackle. Wilson missed the game due to a lower leg injury suffered on Wednesday, and Jamaree Salyer started in his place.

It was another strong game on the ground for the Bulldogs, and the O-line played a huge part in opening up holes for the seven different running backs who saw carries. — Andy Walsh

Grade: A-

Front seven 

Freshman Nolan Smith made an impact at outside linebacker, recording one and a half sacks of Georgia’s five in total. Mark Webb played in the star position and led the Bulldogs with six tackles. Webb also forced the fumble that led to a Bulldog scoop and score. The crew stuffed the Racers’ run game but struggled heavily against the air raid. — Myan Patel 

Grade: B


It was a mixed bag for the secondary on Saturday. The group came out to a shaky start early against the Racers. Webb lost his balance attempting to wrap up Murray State wide receiver Daquon Green and allowed Green to break free for a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter, tying the game at 7-7. In the second half, the Bulldogs allowed a 50-yard completion to Murray State wide receiver Jacob Bell. 

But the secondary also contributed to the defense’s havoc-wreaking performance. Webb forced Murray State running back Jared McCray to fumble in the second quarter, and senior safety J.R. Reed scooped up the ball for a touchdown to extend Georgia’s lead at 21-7. Redshirt sophomore defensive back Latavious Brini picked off Murray State quarterback Brendan Bognar late in the fourth quarter. Despite the highlights, missed tackles and Murray State’s 261 passing yards kept the secondary from an exceptional showing. — Augusta Stone

Grade: B- 

Special teams 

Georgia’s special teams forced Murray State into poor field position on several occasions. One instance came in the second quarter when the kickoff unit pinned the Racers deep in their own territory. Tyler Simmons set the Bulldogs up in ideal positioning any chance he had to return a punt. Simmons bobbled a catch on one return, but once the ball was secured, he found plenty of room to run. Georgia’s special teams unit played safe and smart. Anna Glenn Grove

Grade: A-

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