Dean Legge / Dawg Post

Dawgs Continue Sleepwalking

ATHENS - A fourth-quarter touchdown gave Vanderbilt (3-4, 1-3) a 17-16 win over Georgia (4-3, 2-3) on Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium.

With the Bulldogs up 16-10, Vandy erased the deficit, as quarterback Kyle Shurmur highlighted the drive with passes of 37 and 27 yards to set up a two-yard rushing touchdown to seal the win.

“We need to get better,” said head coach Kirby Smart. “We need to go and improve our team. The off week will help in a lot of ways. We’re dinged up, but all teams have that. We’ve got to get better by going to work. We’ll keep fighting and keep improving. We know we’ve got a lot of areas to improve.”

Redshirt freshman kicker Rodrigo Blankenship put up 10 of Georgia’s points, connecting on all three of his field goal attempts, including a career-best 45 yarder, and an extra point. The passing game stepped up with Jacob Eason going 27-for-40 with 346 yards and a touchdown. Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley caught a team-high five passes each with Nauta collecting total of 74 yards and Ridley with 67.

The defense held the Commodores to 171 yards compared to Georgia’s 421 total yards. Davin Bellamy led the unit with a career-high eight tackles, while the Bulldogs recorded five pass break-ups with Dominick Sanders getting his hands on two.

The Commodores got off with a spark, as Darrius Sims returned the game’s opening kickoff 95 yards before back-to-back Georgia penalties set Vanderbilt up at the one-yard line before the punch-in into the endzone.

After two scoreless drives for the Bulldogs, Blankenship drilled his career-long 45-yard field goal to set the score at 7-3 by the end of the first quarter.

The defense held Vandy scoreless the rest of the half, holding the visitors to just 64 yards of offense, including 19 on the ground, with four first downs. Blankenship added another field goal in the second, this time from 22 yards out, to cut the Vandy lead to one before the half.

After Vandy increased its lead to 10-6 with a field goal in its first drive of the second half, Georgia took over the lead on an Eason 17-yard throw to Nauta in the back corner of the endzone, putting the scoreboard at 13-10. Eason moved the ball downfield on the drive with long pass completions to Isaiah McKenzie, Javon Wims and Nauta prior to the touchdown pass. 

Blakenship connected on his third field goal of the day with a 33-yard attempt to make it 16-10 with 13:47 left to play; however, Vandy put up its go-ahead score with 4:04 on the clock, and the Bulldogs couldn’t come up with a response in its final two outings on the field.

Georgia has an open date coming up before heading to Jacksonville to take on Florida on October 29. The game will be featured on CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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