These short takes are presented as companion to the Georgia-Vanderbilt game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 44-17, FYI.
1. Todd Gurley’s first pass as a collegian resulted in Georgia’s longest completion of the season, which tells us something. The Bulldogs deployed Gurley at quarterback in the first half — call it the Wild Gurl formation — and let him run off direct snaps. Late in the second quarter, Gurley ran from the WG on first down and then, on second-and-7, stopped short and threw long for tight end Jeb Blazevich. The 50-yard completion — OK, so the ball wobbled — was the Bulldogs’ most expansive of the season. That’s not a resounding endorsement of Hutson Mason’s ability to drive the ball deep.
2. If the game plan was designed to lift Mason’s self-esteem as a passer, it fell short. He nearly had a first-half pass intercepted for what would surely have been a touchdown, and he threw a bad-looking interception to start the third quarter. The Bulldogs actually passed 17 times in the first half against 14 rushing plays. (Granted, one of the passes was Gurley’s.) Yes, Mason completed 11 of 17 passes and did find Chris Conley for a 44-yard touchdown, but those 17 passes yielded only 121 yards. And a first-quarter touchdown drive led by backup Brice Ramsey only heightened the feeling that Mason, after waiting four years for his moment, hasn’t seized it.
3. Georgia actually punted on fourth-and-inches — against Vanderbilt. Yes, the Bulldogs were leading by 17 points and didn’t want to hand Vandy a short field with a botched snap, but still: It was fourth down at the Georgia 38 midway through the third quarter and the team with the nation’s best running back chose to punt on fourth-and-inches. Not only that, but the Bulldogs cost themselves a timeout by asking for a review of the spot on Nick Chubb’s third-down reception. The lack of daring didn’t jeopardize the game — Devin Bowman’s interception return on the subsequent series made it 34-10 — but still. You’re Georgia. They’re Vandy. You have Gurley. Go for it.