One look at the stat sheet indicates that Saturday’s game was a blowout favoring the Bulldogs.
That wasn’t entire story, especially in the first two quarters. Georgia held the Mountaineers offense to 253 total yards with 221 stemming from the passing game, which controlled the tempo of the game early.
“I thought Appalachian State did a beautiful job of throwing their short to intermediate passes early in the game,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “They just kind of methodically moved it down the field a couple of drives early.”
Those methodical drives deflated Georgia’s defense early and eliminated the intensity it displayed prior to kickoff. Even though the Mountaineers entered the game contest with just two wins, Georgia’s defense knew it wasn’t getting ready for a cakewalk.
Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said there were some nerves to work through initially, but halftime adjustments helped.
“I feel like the first half we just had some jitters we had to get out of, but I’m just glad the second half we played lights out and we showed that the defense deserves to be pretty good,” Jenkins said. “It’s definitely still a good defense.”
Few of the halftime changes concerned blown coverages or strategies. Instead, the Bulldogs had to get motivated and quickly.
“At the beginning we kind of started off slow and Coach Richt came in here and preached to us that we’ve got to play Georgia football and get after their rear ends and stuff like that,” freshman safety Tray Matthews said. “He pumped us up and we kind of fed off his speech and what the coaches were telling us at halftime. We went out and played a little harder; way harder than what we did.”
The quick turnaround wasn’t all in the emotional boost, though.
“At halftime we kind of showed them the route concepts of what they were doing and here’s how we need to match it,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “From then on, I thought our guys did pretty well, so that was encouraging for me to see.”
Even more encouraging for Grantham was the fact Georgia didn’t allow the Mountaineers to score a touchdown in the game and they were held to 59 yards of offense in the second half.
“Anytime you can hold a team to no touchdowns I think it’s a good thing,” Grantham said. “I think we’ll build on it, but we’ve got to make some corrections on a few plays that happened early in the game because I’m sure we’ll see those as we move down the season.”