Quarterback – B-
While Aaron Murray had some noticeably poor throws—two that likely would have been touchdowns—he still managed to throw for three scores and didn't turn the ball over. Still, in order for Georgia to win big games, Murray needs to be sharper. With backup Huston Mason headed for a redshirt unless Murray is injured, seeing third-stringer Christian LeMay rush three times for 36 yards was encouraging.
Running Back – A-
Todd Gurley stole the show Saturday, no doubt, but the entire team of backs put in a solid performance. The trio of Gurley, Ken Malcome and Keith Marshall combined for 178 yards on 17 carries. Starting fullback Merritt Hall was effective as a lead blocker, setting up several big runs. Gurley missed a key block that led to a Buffalo sack, but that is to be expected from such a young back. Georgia will gladly take those growing pains as long as he continues to be a big-play threat.
Wide Receiver/Tight End – B+
Tavarres King seemed to pick up where he left off in last season's Outback Bowl loss to Michigan State, catching six passes for 117 yards and a score. Michael Bennett proved to be another consistent outlet for Murray with five catches, and Rantavious Wooten caught his first touchdown pass in nearly a year. When two-way player Malcolm Mitchell and Marlon Brown return, this group should only get stronger.
As expected, there was little presence of tight ends in passing plays. With so many adequate receivers and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's apparent desire to stretch the field, don't be surprised to see tight ends utilized a little less than usual this season.
Offensive Line – C+
While Georgia's running backs made some big-time plays, the offensive line did not live up to expectations in the season opener. Freshman John Theus showed why he was so highly recruited until he was injured in the second half. Kenarious Gates seemed to transition smoothly to left tackle, and David Andrews made his first start at center, turning in a good enough performance for a first-time starter. One mishandled shotgun snap led to a loss of yards, but that looked to be either a miscommunication of the snap count or Murray simply took his eye off the ball.
The interior lineman, guards Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette, have to be better moving forward. Based off the playing time Watts Dantzler and Austin Long received at guard Saturday, don't be surprised if there's some shakeup along Georgia's offensive front against Mizzou next week. Changes are even more likely if Theus is unable to play next week, but the early indication is that he will be able to go.
Defensive Line – C+
Georgia went with a variety of looks along its defensive line Saturday. The Bulldogs employed two down lineman much of the game, with a rotation of John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Abry Jones, Ray Drew and freshmen James Deloach and Josh Dawson. Jenkins and Smith combined for 12 tackles, but as a whole, this group played below expectations, allowing Buffalo running back Brandon Oliver to get past the first tackler too often.
Linebackers – B-
Jarvis Jones put together his usual solid performance, leading Georgia in tackles (8), forcing a fumble and picking up 1.5 sacks. He finished the day with six quarterback hurries. Amarlo Herrera, Mike Gilliard, Cornelius Washington and Christian Robinson combined for 21 tackles and a sack, and freshman Jordan Jenkins played well during extensive time at outside linebacker in his first game as a Bulldog. However, the middle linebackers especially left gaping holes in the middle of the field, allowing Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich to scramble for big gains. This group will certainly improve upon suspended Alec Ogletree's return, whenever that may be.
Defensive Backs – B-
Cornerback Damian Swann made plays all over the field for Georgia, and Branden Smith turned in a good performance with four tackles and what would have been an interception had Buffalo's receiver not broken up the pass. Safety and team captain Shawn Williams had a handful of tackles and a pass breakup but needs to play a bigger role in the absence of suspended Bacarri Rambo.
Connor Norman, who started in place of Rambo at free safety, struggled on several plays Saturday, showing some trouble with tackling and positioning. He can get away with some of those mistakes against a team like Buffalo, but Georgia must have him play his best against bigger opponents. With Mitchell and Sanders Commings unable to play, redshirt freshman Devin Bowman received his first start at cornerback and turned in a relatively good performance in his first action as a Bulldog, but he still has plenty of room for improvement. Once Commings and Mitchell return, however, his playing time will likely see a significant reduction.
Special Teams – A
Special teams were one of the big question mark heading into this season. Three freshmen—kicker (Marshall Morgan), punter (Collin Barber) and kick returner (Gurley)—put those questions to rest. Morgan missed a 45-yard field goal early but made a 35-yarder, and five of his seven kickoffs ended in touchbacks. Even Morgan's backup, Jamie Lindley, sent his only kickoff through the endzone.
Barber outkicked the coverage with a 57-yard punt that led to a big return, but his 51 yard per punt average was impressive. Athens native Adam Erickson was used in shorter punt situations, and all three of his punts were downed inside the twenty. Gurley had a 100-yard kick return for touchdown, and Swann had an impressive 30-yard punt return.