Pickens

Georgia wide receiver George Pickens (1) during a game against Mississippi State on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov., 21, 2020. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)

Following No. 13 Georgia’s 31-24 win over Mississippi State in Sanford Stadium, The Red & Black graded each position group’s performance.

Quarterback

Has JT Daniels answered Georgia’s season-long quarterback question? The Southern California transfer finally made an appearance at quarterback, and he added the explosiveness missing from Georgia’s last three games. Daniels looked confident under center while making an electric introduction and an exhilarating change to the passing game. His quick release, accurate deep balls and pocket awareness shaped his debut. Daniels had three tipped balls in the first half, a now-common sight for Georgia after Stetson Bennett suffered from the same issue in his previous four starts, but his first career start at Georgia ended in success with 401 yards and four touchdowns. Gillian McIntyre

Grade: A (Last game vs. Florida: F)

Running backs

Georgia’s running backs were mostly bottled up by the Mississippi State defense. Zamir White was the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 11 carries for 21 yards, a paltry 1.9 yards-per-carry mark. James Cook and Kenny McIntosh combined for seven carries for 12 yards as Georgia went without a rushing score in the game. Both Cook and McIntosh, though, had important blitz pickups in the passing game. Cook made a block on a third down conversion on a drive that ended with a touchdown. McIntosh picked up the blitz on Jermaine Burton’s 48-yard touchdown reception. Georgia finished the game with eight total rushing yards on 0.3 yards per carry, alarming numbers for an offense averaging 173.5 yards per game on the ground. Griffin Callaghan

Grade: D  (Last game vs. Florida: B) 

Receivers

Mississippi State took away Georgia's ground game, and the Bulldogs had to rely on a passing attack that has lagged all season. It worked. The California connection between Daniels and Jermaine Burton was on fire. Burton had 149 yards and one touchdown in the first half after only recording 130 yards heading into Saturday. Pickens also returned to the field for Georgia with eight receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown. Kearis Jackson missed chances and had a silent night until his key 40-yard touchdown reception.  Add another receiver to the mix with Demetris Robertson who also showed up with three receptions for 45 yards on the night. Georgia's receiving corp showed up with over 400 yards against Mississippi State, and Burton led the way with 197 yards. Gillian McIntyre

Grade: A+ (Last game vs. Florida: D+)

Offensive line

Georgia’s blockers were frequently overpowered by the Mississippi State defensive line tonight. Daniels was sacked twice in the first half, and once more in the second. The offensive line struggled to create space in the run game, and allowed a staggering 11 tackles-for-loss. Warren McClendon drew the unit’s only penalty of the game, a holding call that negated a third down conversion. Georgia did, however, overcome the flag with Jackson’s touchdown reception. Griffin Callaghan

Grade: D  (Last game vs. Florida: B-)

Front seven

Georgia’s front seven was a non-factor in the first half. With no sacks, no tackles for loss and just one pass breakup from defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt, Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers had a field day finding receivers underneath and hitting his running backs on screens. He brushed off Georgia’s consistent three-man rush and occasional, ineffective stunts to complete 24 of 29 first half passes for an average of 8.8 yards apiece. Georgia increased its pressure in the second half. Four blitzes yielded three-and-outs, including two fourth-quarter sacks, and Rogers’ short tosses yielded fewer yards. Unexpectedly, Mississippi State produced a majority of its points on the ground. While Georgia displayed its typical stifling run defense for the majority of Mississippi State’s drives, it allowed two goal line rushing touchdowns to a team that entered with three rushing scores all season. Mississippi State had 22 total rushing yards tonight, but it stayed in the game through its tailbacks’ red zone conversions. William Newlin

Grade: C+  (Last game vs. Florida: C)

Secondary  

After getting gashed in a 44-28 loss to Florida on Nov. 7, Georgia’s secondary still seemed out of whack against Mississippi State’s Air Raid offense. Without their leader Richard LeCounte, the secondary gave up 336 yards in the air and Rogers completed 41 of his 52 passes. The blame isn’t fully on the secondary as Mississippi State opted for plenty of dump-offs to the running backs, but giving up large chunk plays like the 51-yard touchdown to Jaden Walley kept the momentum swinging away from Georgia. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the secondary helped the defense get some meaningful stops to put the game away. Andy Walsh

Grade: C- (Last game vs. Florida: D+)

Special teams

Other than one poor punt, Georgia’s special teams executed when they had opportunities. Jake Camarda punted four times — a dip from his seven against the Gators on Nov. 7 — landing two inside Mississippi State’s 15-yard line. He botched his second punt for 25 yards to give the State the ball at its 39 but nailed his final two for 56 and 50 yards. On one returnable kick, Kearis Jackson made it to the 30 yard line, and kicker Jack Podlesny nailed a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter, his lone attempt of the night. William Newlin

Grade: B+ (Last game vs Florida: C+)