ATLANTA — Georgia’s wide receivers have sometimes been the forgotten part of the offense given the team’s tight end success and the way running backs have made plays on the ground and in the air. The Bulldogs’ fumbles didn’t do it all alone against Ohio State, but by the time the game was said and done, it was clear they played a big part in another Georgia win.
Georgia wide receivers combined 12 receptions for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ thrilling 42-41 victory over Ohio State. The performance saw a number of wide receivers contribute in some way: Six different wides had receptions, and all six had at least one reception from 20 yards.
Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint explained that Georgia wide receivers aren’t focused on accumulating stats, but on getting every player to step up when the opportunity presents itself.
“Honestly, we’re just doing a job, really. Stetson does a great job spreading the ball out here to anyone who’s open,” said Rosemy-Jacksaint, who had 2 receptions for 34 yards. “There are no specific players, like players we’re trying to highlight. We just execute and execute the plan. That’s our raison d’être: execute the plan, and whoever recovers the ball, when your number is called, we expect you to make the play.”
The Bulldogs have other pass catchers like the tight end Brock Bowers and run back Kenny McIntosh involved in the passing game, but their wide receivers were particularly clutch. What was particularly impressive was how so many receivers delivered big games, including Dominique Blaylockwho received a 20-yard reception on Georgia’s first scored drive in the afternoon, and Ariane Smithwho set new career highs in receptions (3) and yards (129) and also had a touchdown.
Smith delivered a play that put Georgia back in contention when he passed an Ohio State defender to open wide on what turned out to be a 76-yard touchdown reception with 8: 41 to go in the game. Smith’s catch and run was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Bulldogs, who trailed the Buckeyes by 11 before the fast second had a say.
“I saw he was playing hard inside leverage. Security was down. When I was running, I kinda looked inside, but I looked at him [and saw] lots of leeway. So I saw the security bite really hard on the game action, so I knew I had to win,” Smith said. “I gave him a little nudge. I guess the rest took care of itself.
The importance of Smith’s game loomed large in the post-game locker room, especially among players like Ladd McConkey which saw Smith working to contribute to the passing game.
“He stepped up in a huge way. I couldn’t be more proud of him and what he’s done,” McConkey said. “I feel like that was the turning point and then our defense came to play.”
Georgia’s latest offensive drive saw quarterback Stetson Bennett spread the ball to wide receivers as well as the team’s other passers. Bennett started possession with a short 2-yard pass to McIntosh before taking the next play to fire a dart down the middle to Bowers for a 15-yard gain. After an offside penalty gave Bennett a chance to go deep to no avail, the super senior took a deep shot through the middle to Kearis Jackson.
Bennett’s throw to Jackson went for 35 yards and left the Bulldogs 15 yards from tying with a touchdown and taking the lead with a successful extra run.
“I saw it was split securities and he was urging me [in] man cover with inside leverage, so I knew I had to take midfield,” Jackson said. “I knew I had the opportunity to use my speed, run, give him movement and go right past him, and Stet gave me a great ball to be able to capitalize and put us within goal range. .”
After another throw to McIntosh that picked up five yards, Bennett took the shotgun hit, put his feet down, waited, then threw into the back corner, where AD Mitchell caught the ball for a 10 touchdown meters. Once Jack Podlesny pinned on the extra point, the Bulldogs had only their second lead of the night.
Georgia’s wide receivers have flashed on and off during the 2022 season, but overall more attention has been paid to some of the other players on the Bulldogs’ offense. Those wide receivers came when Georgia needed them against Ohio State, and while that success was worth celebrating, they know there’s still work to be done.
“[Moving on to the title game] means a lot, but next week we can’t play with that same mentality, that same effort because TCU has a great team, you know?” Jackson said. “They put on a dominating performance [Saturday] against Michigan, and we just have to be ready to go play in the natty.
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