Georgia’s offense looked different than ever before this season in the loss to LSU.
After scoring no fewer than 38 points in each of its games leading up to LSU, Georgia was held scoreless in the first half and ultimately mustered just 16 points in its first loss of the season.
While quarterback Jake Fromm struggled and the Georgia offense registered four turnovers in Death Valley, the running game had some success in defeat. Sophomore D’Andre Swift led the group with 12 carries for 72 yards while junior Elijah Holyfield had seven carries for 56 yards and one touchdown.
For Holyfield, the Bulldogs’ ability to run the ball against a good LSU run defense bodes well for the future, even if they couldn’t put enough points on the board to keep the game close.
“It gives us a lot of confidence moving forward,” Holyfield said. “If we can do it versus LSU, we feel like we can do it versus a lot of good teams in the SEC.”
The run game will be challenged again against No. 9 Florida in Jacksonville this Saturday.
"... at the end of the day you have to be successful with the running game to open up play action, to open up passing game. And that's been our identity—be able to run the ball, be physical."
- Kirby Smart, Georgia head coach
“They have caused problems for everybody that they have played with their athleticism,” head coach Kirby Smart said of Florida’s defensive front. “They do a good job of changing stunts, moving fronts, stemming things, and are really effective, especially on third down.”
One of the main questions from Georgia’s loss to LSU was why the play calling seemed to go away from the run late in the game. Georgia totaled a season-low 30 carries in the loss.
“I think anytime you look back it's hard when you're behind in a game,” Smart said. “Everybody wants to talk about that game, but at the end of the day you have to be successful with the running game to open up play action, to open up passing game. And that's been our identity—be able to run the ball, be physical.”
The Bulldogs will need to establish the run early against Florida to get off to a faster start. While Florida’s run defense has been effective, Georgia should have a better chance to run well against the Gators than it did against LSU: LSU ranks 33rd in the country in rushing defense, while Florida ranks 73rd with an average of 163.1 rushing yards allowed per game.
“I think [establishing the run] is very important,” sophomore offensive lineman Andrew Thomas said. “Keeping the defense off the field, letting them get rested, and just open up the game for us, allowing them to have more avenues for different plays when we run the ball successfully.”