Fresh off its first national championship in more than four decades, Georgia was tested right away to start the 2022 season. It passed that test with flying colors.
In a top-15 matchup, the third-ranked Bulldogs dominated from start to finish in Atlanta. When all was said and done, they completed a 49-3 trouncing of No. 11 Oregon.
For its outstanding performance, Georgia earns the Week 1 title of Fifth Quarter/CFBHome Team of the Week.
Clicking on All Cylinders
Known for its stellar defense last season, Georgia stood out in all phases of the game on Saturday afternoon — particularly on offense. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions and finished with 571 yards of offense.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett finished with 368 yards passing and touchdown tosses to Ladd McConkey and Adonai Mitchell. Kenny McIntosh led all receivers with nine catches for 117 yards. Kendall Milton, McIntosh, Bennett and McConkey all rushed for touchdowns as well. In relief of Bennett, Carson Beck threw a touchdown pass to Milton.
On the defensive side of the ball, Oregon was able to find success between the 20s early on, but Georgia never broke. In addition to being the team’s top two tacklers, Malaki Starks and Christopher Smith each came away with interceptions in the victory. Georgia didn’t tally a sack, but had three tackles for loss in the victory.
One of the big storylines heading into Saturday’s contest was the head coaching matchup. Making his head coaching debut for Oregon was Dan Lanning.
Last season, Lanning was the defensive coordinator for Georgia. The Bulldogs had a historically great defense in 2021, ranking first nationally in scoring defense and second in total defense.
Whether Lanning and his former boss, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, ever square off again remains to be seen. The first meeting, however, went to the teacher in a big way.
Dating back to 2020, Georgia has now won 16 straight regular season games. It has won now nine straight openers.
The loss is Oregon’s first in an opener since 2019 when it fell to Auburn. Ironically, the starting quarterback for Auburn at the time, Bo Nix, is now the starter for the Ducks.
Georgia will look to run its regular season winning streak to 17 on Saturday when it hosts Samford. That contest begins at 4 p.m. ET and will air on SEC Network.
Oregon aims for its first win on Saturday in Eugene against Eastern Washington. The Ducks’ home opener begins at 8:30 p.m. ET and airs on Pac-12 Network.
Featured image courtesy of Georgia athletics
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.