Quarterback – A
Aaron Murray played perhaps is best game in a Georgia uniform Saturday night. Not only did he start a perfect 12-for-12 passing, he spread the ball around to nine different receivers on the night and made proper adjustments at the line of scrimmage, helping Georgia gain big yards play after play. He finished 18-for-24 with 250 yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).
Running Back – A
Headlined by freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, the Bulldogs rushing attack averaged over six yards per carry against the Commodores. Gurley finished with 16 carries for 130 yards and two scores, including a 29-yard scoring run in which the youngster left Vanderbilt defenders on their backs and empty-handed. Marshall ran for over 70 yards in the first half alone and finished with 10 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns. His longest carry came on a 52-yard scoring jaunt on the Bulldogs' second possession.
Ken Malcome had a big 30-yard carry during Georgia's 12 play, 96-yard drive in the second quarter, and Richard Samuel had a 20-yard run late in the game. Overall, Georgia's rushing attack matched Aaron Murray's passing performance, causing Vanderbilt to have a long Saturday night.
Wide Receivers/Tight End – A
According to Aaron Murray, having success like he's had is a lot easier when you have a receiving unit like the one Georgia has. Marlon Brown said this is the closest the receiving group has been during his four years at Georgia. The talented group put that chemistry on full display Saturday. Nine different Georgia players caught a pass, including cornerback/receiver Malcolm Mitchell, and Brown had his second 100-yard receiving game of the season (Buffalo – 106 yards.; 2 scores) after missing the season opener.
Tavarres King had several big catches early against Vanderbilt, and sophomore Rhett McGowan—a former walk-on—had a key catch on a third-down play in the second quarter. Mitchell's only catch was on a screen and went for a loss, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo getting his former playmaker back on offense only makes Georgia more dangerous.
Offensive Line – A
After being banged up most of the season, Georgia's front five turned in its most dominating performance of the year against Vanderbilt. Two starters have missed game time with sprained ankles (Dallas Lee and John Theus), and top backup Watts Dantzler has been sidelined with the same ailment since the season opener.
Still, Lee was able to start Saturday, and the Bulldogs traditional starting five of Kenarious Gates (LT), Lee (LG), David Andrews (C), Chris Burnette (RG) and Theus (RT) overpowered the ‘Dores' defensive front. To rest Lee, Georgia slid Mark Beard in at left tackle, moving Gates to left guard, and the Bulldogs didn't miss a beat. Aaron Murray had plenty of protection, and the stable of Bulldog backs had holes to run through all game.
Defensive Line – A-
Georgia's defensive front may not have racked up the tackles, but the group of Kwame Geathers (one tackle), John Jenkins (two tackles), Cornelius Washington (zero), Garrison Smith (2) and Abry Jones (4) controlled their gaps all evening. Their play helped the linebackers come up to make tackles, and Georgia's defense held the ‘Dores to just 2.9 yards per carry.
The only downside was that Abry Jones went down with an injury in the third quarter, but Mark Richt didn't believe the injury was "super serious."
Linebackers – A
If not for (still-Heisman candidate) Jarvis Jones, Amarlo Herrera would be Georgia's best linebacker for the first third of the season. A week after returning an interception for touchdown against Florida Atlantic, the sophomore Herrera led Georgia with eight tackles against Vanderbilt, giving him a team-high 30 tackles this season.
Jones put in his usual solid performance with seven tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss for a negative-22 yards. True freshman Jordan Jenkins tallied two sacks, and Mike Gilliard racked up six tackles. When Alec Ogletree returns this week, Georgia's linebacker corps could be among the best, and deepest, in the country.
Defensive Backs – A-
Aside from allowing a few big plays, especially during Vanderbilt's final possession of the first half, Georgia's defensive backs held Vanderbilt's passing attack in check. Jordan Rodgers was 5-of-6 for 56 yards on that possession, with 50 of those yards going to Chris Boyd who finished the game with 4 catches and 110 yards.
Malcolm Mitchell was burned a pair of times, and Georgia struggled to prevent Jordan Matthews from turning in another good performance. Matthews had eight catches for 119 yards, but even his effort wasn't enough to get the Vandy offense in the endzone.
Special Teams – B+
Early miscues continue to occur for Georgia's special teams. For the second time in as many SEC games, the Bulldogs failed an extra-point attempt and muffed a punt return.
Like the miscues against Missouri, the Bulldogs came away unharmed. A botched snap in the second quarter left the Bulldogs with a 13-point lead instead of 14. Malcolm Mitchell fumbled a punt with his back against his own endzone, giving Georgia the ball at its own 4-yard line. In Mitchell's words, the offense "had [his] back" because Aaron Murray & Co. drove 96 yards in 12 plays to put the game to rest.
Another bright spot for Georgia was its kick-coverage units. With a bigger emphasis on using scrimmage players on coverage teams, Georgia has won the field position battle in each of its first four games. The Bulldogs held Vanderbilt to an average starting field position of the Vanderbilt 21-yard line. In the opening quarter, the Commodores started their three drives from their own 14-, 17- and 8-yard line, respectively.