Athens, Georgia–The No.1 team in the country put on a clinic. Georgia annihilated Vanderbilt 55-0 at Sanford Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 92,746.
Stetson Bennett was damn near flawless in the first half, completing 18 of 20 for 211 yards but finished with 289 and two touchdowns. Darnell Washington who usually plays a backup role to Brock Bowers had four catches for 78 yards, including a handed grab.
“Are we gonna cash our chips in after so-and-so games, or are we gonna keep going, keep going, and know this isn’t over until its over?” asked Bennett, whose team is seeking its second straight national championship.
The Commodores were never in the game; they fell behind 14-0 after the first quarter and 21-0 six minutes into the second quarter.
When Vandy finally got something going offensively, freshman Jayden McGowan lost a fumble at the 15-yard line, eliminating any momentum Vanderbilt was trying to build.
Vandy, now on a three-game losing streak, amassed just 150 yards of offense and only 45 yards on the ground. It went 5-for-13 on third down and was on the field for just 12:34.
Head coach Clark Lea’s squad played better defensively early in the second half, but things got out of hand quickly. They couldn’t move the ball at all on offensive against the nation’s best defense.
“I know that the team’s frustrated, the staff’s frustrated,” Lea said. “The challenge here now is accepting the result as an indicator of where we are: doesn’t have to be where we’re headed, moving beyond this quickly but also taking the learning from it and preparing to go on the road again next week to play against another SEC opponent.”
The Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 SEC) moved the ball down the field and scored on a 10-play, 85-yard drive that made it 28-0 just before the break.
At the halftime break, Georgia held a commanding 296-72 edge in total yards and 16-4 advantage in first downs.
Vandy (2-4, 0-3 SEC) had one last scoring opportunity before the break, but the reliable Joseph Bulovas pushed a 43-yard field goal just wide right.
“They negated our run game,” Lea said. “We’ve been able to stay on schedule by running the ball to set up third-and-manageables, and we weren’t able to do that today. They’re really good through the middle of their defense. They won at the point of attack. Their second and third levels got involved in the run game, and we weren’t able to get space that way.”
The Bulldogs held the ball for more than 20 minutes, averaged 7.4 yards per play and went four-for-four in the red zone. Vandy had no answers for Georgia high power offense.
“We’re not looking at the three losses as a stretch,” Vandy cornerback Jaylen Mahoney said. “We’re just looking at it as opportunities to grow as a program. Just pushing the message to (the team): ‘Keep going, keep working hard in practice because practice is where we win.’ So just going hard at practice starting Monday. That’s the next step.”
Georgia piled up 579 total yards for the day against the Commodores.
Bennett hit Kenny McIntosh on an 11-yard scoring play — the quarterback’s first TD pass in four weeks — and he followed with a 10-yard scoring dart to Dominick Blaylock.
“It was good to get in the end zone,” Bennett said. “But it was better to score 55.”
McIntosh added a 7-yard scoring run, while Daijun Edwards plowed in from the 1 to spark mass exodus of Georgia fans looking to beat the traffic on route 10.
Georgia has outscored Vandy 233-33 over the last four meetings.
“It was a tough stretch. We wanted to play better. But we have a program that we’re building, so we have to reach for confidence every day. What we need to do now is, as a staff, get with our players and show them the things they did well and build on the things that are positive about our performance,” Lea said. “But also challenge them for more. So there’s a balance there. This is a resilient group. We have a resilient bunch of leaders. They’ll do a great job to bind together to move us forward. We’re going to let this one hurt for 24 hours, and we’re going to move past it. We have to.
The Commodores last scored a TD against Georgia in 2018. They have gone three full games since then without reaching the end zone.
Carson Beck completed 8 of 11 for 98 yards against the Commodores. For the season, the third-year backup is 23 of 30 for 276 yards, with four TDs and no picks.
“He keeps getting better,” Bennett said “He’s been in this offense the same amount of time I have. He knows it just as well as I do.”
The Bulldogs certainly did nothing to endanger its No. 1 ranking, but the schedule looks a lot tougher the rest of the way. Three of the last five regular-season opponents are ranked in the Top 25.
Vanderbilt: Hits the road again next Saturday to face Missouri, the last SEC team to lose to the Commodores.
Georgia: Heads into an off week that will give the Bulldogs extra time to prepare for their “Cocktail Party” game in Jacksonville against Florida on Oct. 29.