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Bulldogs Blast Vandy In Homecoming Win, 55-0


Georgia tight end Darnell Washington (0) during a game against Vanderbilt on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

ATHENS, Ga. — The top-ranked Georgia football team looked sharp in every phase of the game Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium, cruising to a 55-0 win over Vanderbilt on Homecoming weekend. Quarterback Stetson Bennett completed 18 of his first 20 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, while the stellar Bulldog defense never let the Commodores set sail.


Georgia (7-0, 4-0 SEC) heads into its off week on a high note after dominating the game from start to finish. The offense gained 579 yards, the defense held Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-3) to just 150, and Georgia also made something happen on special teams, both kicking and returning.


Georgia got the ball first and went right to work, spreading the ball around as the Bulldogs marched 75 yards for a touchdown. Kenny McIntosh started the drive with an 8-yard run and ended it by catching a screen pass from Bennett and running the ball in for an 11-yard touchdown.


The Bulldogs’ third drive of the game got a boost from Ladd McConkey, who returned a Vandy punt 20 yards to the Commodores’ 42-yard line. On first down, Bennett hit Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint for 18 yards across the middle. Then came a 5-yard completion to McConkey and a thread-the-needle back-shoulder throw on the left side for 12 yards to tight end Brock Bowers, who had a couple of defenders around him.


On first-and-goal at the 7, McIntosh scooted in up the middle for an easy score and a 14-0 lead with 1:40 to play in the opening quarter. That drive gave Georgia 135 yards of offense, to just 17 for Vandy.


After the defense again shut down the Commodores, Bennett and the offense kept cruising. Daijun Edwards started it with an 11-yard run and later ended it with a 1-yard touchdown plunge — that on the heels of scoring three touchdowns last week against Auburn. But the highlight of the drive was a Bennett throw from right to left, off his back foot, to wideout Dominick Blaylock for a 25-yard gain. With the Bulldogs up 21-0 with 9:00 before halftime, Bennett was 13 of 14 for 144 yards and a touchdown.


Vandy put together its best drive of the game so far on its next possession, moving the ball into Georgia territory, down to the 21. But the Bulldogs forced the first turnover of the game when Tykee Smith punched the ball out of running back Jayden McGowan’s hands and Christopher Smith jumped on the loose ball.


The offense took the gift and made the most of it, with Bennett connecting with tight end Darnell Washington on the right side. The 6-foot-7 Washington made a one-handed grab and turned it into a 34-yard gain. The drive ended with Bennett throwing, on third-and-goal from the 10, to Dominick Blaylock for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead with 1:06 left in the half. Georgia was 5 of 7 on third down in the opening half.


The Commodores didn’t take a knee and head to the locker room. Instead, they got aggressive and connected on a few plays, plus a 15-yard penalty on Georgia, and drove inside the Bulldog 30 before settling for a 44yard field goal attempt, which they missed.


Georgia added to its lead in the third quarter with Jack Podlesny’s 28-yard field goal, making it 31-0 with 9:09 left in the period. The Bulldogs had to settle for another Podlesny field-goal attempt on their next drive, which also stalled inside the 20. This time, Podlesny was good from 35 yards, pushing the UGA advantage to 34-0 with 1:40 to play in the third quarter.


Bennett was done for the day by the end of the third quarter, finishing with 289 yards passing and two touchdowns after completing 24 of 30 attempts. But the offense wasn’t done. Backup QB Carson Beck led the Bulldogs on a scoring drive early in the fourth, ending it with a 24-yard touchdown strike to Dillon Bell, making it 41-0 with 13:33 remaining.


While the defense kept denying Vandy anything, Beck and the offense weren’t done making plays. After the Commodores’ seventh punt of the game, Beck drove the offense with an effective mid-range passing game that included an 18-yarder to Jackson Meeks and a 12-yarder to Arik Gilbert. The drive ended with a big roar from the crowd after Beck hit Gilbert, in his first game since the second week of the season, for a 4-yard touchdown and a 48-0 lead with 7:21 remaining.


Georgia’s final points came with 91 seconds remaining when Cash Jones took a handoff and ran 36 yards for his first career touchdown, pushing the lead to 55-0.


The Bulldogs are off next Saturday before returning to action against Florida on Oct. 29, in Jacksonville, Fla.