Elijah Holyfield of the Georgia Bulldogs scores a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on November 24, 2018 at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Georgia run game shreds Tech defense

Carving turkey is a Thanksgiving tradition, but for the Georgia Bulldogs, once wasn’t enough. So they decided to carve up the Georgia Tech defense, too. 

The Bulldogs (11-1) let loose on their in-state rival Saturday afternoon, piling up 285 yards on the ground in a 45-21 victory. This marked the fourth consecutive contest in which Georgia had topped the 200-yard mark rushing the ball, continuing a dominant trend for the consecutive fifth-ranked team.  

“On offense, we’re clicking right now,” said sophomore running back D’Andre Swift, who finished the game with 105 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. “I think we’re starting to peak at the right time.” 

Tech (7-4), which has the nation’s No. 1 rushing offense, got a good dose of its own medicine. From start to finish, the team looked helpless. It wasn’t that the Yellow Jackets weren’t prepared, they were bullied. Georgia came at the Jackets with the approach of what Kirby Smart called “old-school, backyard football.” 

Two-yard carry, 10-yard carry, 10-yard carry, 3-yard carry, 8-yard touchdown. This was just one of Georgia’s drives, and others looked very similar. The description of it may not sound pretty or appealing, but Smart thinks it’s good, clean football. 

“It’s not just the result, the yardage,” Smart said. “I'm just pleased with the fact that we’re playing cleaner football. We’re executing at a higher rate.”

Much of that “cleaning” was done by Georgia’s offensive line. The unit was having its way with Tech’s defensive front, opening holes that made life easier on Georgia’s stable of running backs. 

But all the praise doesn’t belong to the offensive lines. Georgia’s two-headed running game monster of Swift and Elijah Holyfield, who had 79 yards and a touchdown of his own, were elite when they were on their own. They both had moments of brilliance. On Holyfield’s 39-yard run, he used his signature stiff-arm to fend off a Tech defender for several yards. With Swift, it was elusiveness he’s used so well this season to help him pick up 28-yards.

This sustained running success has helped Georgia gain steam in the rushing game at an opportune time. Barreling toward a matchup with Alabama in the SEC Championship game next weekend at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Bulldogs will need to run the ball well to hold their own. 

But even with the recent run-game dominance, Smart doesn’t buy much into the momentum. To him, it means almost nothing. 

“I don’t know that what we did in those games has anything to do with the next game,” Smart said. “What we’ve done in the past doesn’t guarantee any future success.”

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