It’s 1:00 AM here in the Mountain Time Zone and I’m still trying to process what I just watched.
I’m physically sober. My body is free of any intoxicants save for Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (that stuff is crack), but I am a bit loopy from what I just watched. A stupid ear-to-ear grin is slapped on my face and Georgia’s win over Mississippi State is replaying on my television.
The Georgia Bulldogs just won a game where they threw for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. They ran for just 8 yards, and didn’t force a turnover on the night, but they won the game.
Even after a second watch, my mind is rejecting what it’s seeing. That’s because none of us are used to seeing a Georgia quarterback do anything like what we just saw JT Daniels do.
I know you are worried. The defense couldn’t defend the Air Raid. The offensive line looked inept when run blocking. A game that the experts predicted to be a blowout turned into a thriller. Forget about all of that. We won’t see an Air Raid again for awhile and RBU will get the rushing attack fixed.
I know that worry and lament is like a familiar warm blanket to us Georgia fans, but set that aside for a minute…
DID YOU SEE WHAT JT DANIELS JUST DID?!
He threw dimes all over the field.
He cooly lofted balls over linebackers and between defensive backs.
He worked through his reads while calmly rolling out of the pocket and delivering strikes to receivers.
He delivered on 3rd-and-longs all night, swaggering back to the line over and over again and using pump-fakes to manipulate coverages like an 12-year NFL veteran.
JT Damn Daniels put the team on his back when everything was going wrong and went and won the football game.
When it was all said and done Georgia fans had much more than a victory to celebrate. What we have here is a total realignment of what this program is capable of over the next 14 months.
JT Daniels 4 TD passes showed elite arm talent, vision and the ability to throw his man open before he comes out of his break. He might turn Georgia into a CFP team in 2021. Video from @JBP_Official pic.twitter.com/bbMxrFD44x
— Graham Coffey (@DawgOutWest) November 22, 2020
As I wrote in Monday’s Dawg Bites, Georgia really needed this night to go well for Daniels. I know Brock Vandagriff is coming to campus in a couple of months, but it’s a big jump between Class A high-school football and being the opening day starter against Clemson when the Dawgs and Tigers open the 2021 season in Charlotte.
Now that problem is gone. JT Daniels is here, and he is the type of quarterback talent that this program has waited a long time for. Georgia’s deep stable of blue-chip pass catchers were finally allowed to show their talent on Saturday night.
Gone are the worries of wasting receiving talents. A friend texted me in the first quarter and said, “throw it to Pickens until they cover him and then throw it to someone else.” Daniels did throw it to Pickens. When the Bulldogs decided to adjust he threw it to Kearis Jackson and Jermaine Burton, who finally got to show the world why he was one of the Crown Jewels of Georgia’s last recruiting class.
Pickens, Burton and Jackson will be a feared trio in the SEC for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021. Focus on the problems on defense and the offensive line if you must, but I guarantee you coaches across the SEC will see what JT Daniels did tonight and mutter expletives under their breath.
Best of all, the UGA receiving corps looked excited for the first time in a long time on Saturday night. After spending the last month being mostly missed when open, they are now in range on almost every play. They looked like they were having fun on the field, and I can confirm they were pretty happy after the game too.
Georgia has recruited better than anyone in college football over the last four years, and the Dawgs have won big at times, but the 2020 season to this point had been one long alarm bell. That bell signaled the end of the days where Georgia could count on winning games with physicality at the line of scrimmage on offense and rarely allowing big plays on defense.
Of course those are still great features for any football team to have, but an elite quarterback is the ultimate trump card in today’s college football. Good offense beats good defense, and elite quarterbacks can put enough points up to make the opponent abandon the running game even when it’s working.
Now Georgia has one of those trump cards. When you couple that with the embarrassment of riches everywhere else on the team, the sky is the limit for 2021.
When was the last time you can remember a Georgia quarterback winning a game for us?I really don’t know how far back you would have to go to find a quarterback performance for the Dawgs that you could say “we 100% lose the game without that guy under center.” Having that type of guy under center means you’re never out of it in today’s game.
Daniels can make all the throws, and he even conducts himself like an Alpha in press conferences.
Quite frankly, I am giddy. There is no ceiling for this program with this type of talent under center, and that hasn’t been the case in Athens the last couple of years. The missing piece has been put into the puzzle, and now Georgia’s considerable talent is primed for a legitimate title run.
JT Daniels has arrived as Georgia’s starting quarterback, and he has brought a world of possibilities with him.