NASHVILLE — No. 3 Georgia leads Vanderbilt 21-6 at the half thanks to a strong offensive performance, but the Commodores added two field goals just before halftime. Here are some takeaways from the first half.
Rush-heavy first half
Georgia’s offense marched to the end zone in its first three possessions of 2019.
First-year offensive coordinator James Coley didn’t shy away from Georgia tradition and continued the Bulldogs’ historic trend of running a rush-heavy offense. The offense was able to run the ball down the field all throughout the first half, finishing with 146 rushing yards in the first half.
Six of the eight plays in the Bulldogs’ first possession were rushing plays. In the first quarter alone, five Georgia rushers accounted for 106 yards.
Senior Brian Herrien started at tailback over last year’s leading rusher, junior D’Andre Swift. Sophomore James Cook scored his first touchdown of the season in the first quarter on an 18-yard rush. Swift led Georgia tailbacks in the first half with 74 yards.
Georgia dominated in first quarter time of possession. The Bulldogs controlled the ball for 9:33 of the game’s first 15 minutes but Vanderbilt ended up with a higher time of possession.
Commodores find some rhythm late in the half
The Bulldogs’ defense held Vanderbilt to 16 total yards and a punt on its first drive. Freshman linebacker Nolan Smith showed out on third down against the Commodores, taking down Vanderbilt quarterback Riley Neal and forcing the first punt.
Vanderbilt found an offensive rhythm midway through the second quarter and capitalized on a personal foul penalty on Georgia redshirt freshman defensive back Divaad Wilson for a hit out of bounds. Still, the Bulldogs were able to hold the Commodores to a field goal after the 73-yard drive.
The second quarter was kinder to the Commodores than the first. Vanderbilt’s defense managed to hold the Georgia offense to a punt before the half. Offensively, 116 of the Commodores’ 145 first-half yards came in the second quarter, as well as both of its field goals.
Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn led the Commodores in rushing yards, with 43 total, and receiving yards, with 24 total.
The officials threw 13 flags throughout the first half. Vanderbilt accumulated eight penalties for 54 yards, while Georgia racked up five penalties for 60 yards.
Junior wide receiver Demetris Robertson broke loose in the first half. His first career reception at Georgia was a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Fromm on the first possession, and he continued to be an efficient producer throughout the first quarter.
Robertson caught a 17-yard reception in Georgia’s second drive and recorded a 15-yard rush to contribute to the Bulldogs’ second touchdown drive in the first quarter.
Miami graduate transfer Lawrence Cager led Georgia in first-half receiving yards despite only having only one reception. Cager caught a 38-yard pass in the second quarter and set the Bulldogs up for their third touchdown.