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UGA wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (5) runs the ball. The University of Georgia football team lead South Carolina 26-6 at the half on Sept. 18, 2021, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

A number of Georgia’s offensive underclassmen led the team to defeating South Carolina in its conference opener.

True freshman Adonai Mitchell recorded his first career start on Saturday night and led the team in receiving yards. The wide receiver put up 77 of Georgia’s 307 total receiving yards, averaging 19.3 yards per reception.

In the Bulldog’s third touchdown drive, Mitchell caught three passes for 63 yards, the last being a 38-yard touchdown reception. His catch was his first collegiate touchdown and extended Georgia’s lead to 21-6.

“[Mitchell is]talented, he’s learning how to work,” said head coach Kirby Smart. “Our coaches felt like if we’re gonna go where we need to get to, he’s got to go play and he’s earned it.”

Fellow freshman Brock Bowers continued to dominate the receiving game for the third game in a row. The tight end’s 53 yards over five receptions was third-best on the team. Saturday’s game against South Carolina was the first game this season that Bowers did not lead in receiving yards.

Bowers caught six receptions for 43 yards against Clemson in the Bulldogs’ season opener. In Week 2, Bowers caught for 107 yards and two touchdowns in his first game at Sanford Stadium.

“[Bowers and Mitchell] got a lot of confidence in the spring,” Smart said. “They go against a really good defense every day. AD Mitchell and Brock have competed at a high level and they earned that right.”

Jermaine Burton, a sophomore wide receiver, earned the other starting wide receiver spot for the Bulldogs. In his third start of the season, he recorded an astounding 70 yards over only three receptions.

His 43-yard catch from JT Daniels in the middle of the first quarter stood as the team’s longest reception of the game, and left Georgia with a 14-3 lead.

“One-on-ones are not 50-50 with AD [Mitchell] and Jermaine [Burton], I think they’re 80-20s,” Daniels said. “I trust them, I trust that they're not going to let the other team come down with it.”

In the running game, Kendall Milton had many opportunities to show off his skillset and development. He led running backs in carries and rushing yards, over starting running back Zamir White.

While James Cook and White were the only two running backs to record a touchdown against South Carolina, Milton put up 66 yards and had 10 total carries. Cook’s 23-yard rush was the longest rush of the day for either team.

The future of Georgia’s offense looks bright as young players perform well in their first years with the team.

Katherine Lewis is a senior at the University of Georgia and is the assistant sports editor. She is a journalism major and statistics minor and with a certificate in sports media.

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