Winners And Losers: Georgia’s Big Win Over Oregon Shows That It Is Still The Best College Football Team In The Country.

On Saturday, Georgia continued where it left off at the end of the 2021 college football season. After beating Alabama for the national championship in January, the Bulldogs had 15 players taken in the NFL draught, including five in the first round. But Georgia’s 49–3 win over Oregon showed that the team has a lot of good replacements and that the offense could be even better in 2022.

Jalen Carter made the defensive line give him two players, and he looks like he’s about to make headlines as Jordan Davis did in 2021. Christopher Smith and Malaki Starks picked off Bo Nix, the new quarterback for Oregon, and Devon Jackson, a freshman defensive back, was one of the team’s tackle leaders. On offense, quarterback Stetson Bennett had two touchdowns and three interceptions in the first half. He was so good that he was replaced by backup Carson Beck before the third quarter was over.

Running backs Kendall Milton and Kenny McIntosh filled in well for James Cook and Zamir White, and tight ends Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington showed why they are one of the scariest tight end duos in the country. Oh, and the offense scored on all nine of its first third-down chances.

If Bennett keeps playing as well as he did in the College Football Playoff last year and on Saturday, another undefeated regular season becomes more likely in 2022. Bennett finished the game 25 of 31 for 368 yards and three touchdowns. In Georgia’s CFP wins over Michigan and Alabama eight months ago, he threw for over 500 yards and five touchdowns. The senior quarterback went from being criticized to being an important part of a national championship team.

He then went back to Georgia for another season and showed that he is a top-tier quarterback in the SEC. Just look at how he avoided getting sacked and found Ladd McConkey to give Georgia a 28–3 lead before halftime. Georgia is likely to be a double-digit favorite in all of its regular season games this year. This is because none of the top teams in the SEC West are on its schedule.

After what they did to the Ducks, it’s hard to see how the Bulldogs won’t play for the SEC title again in December when a spot in the College Football Playoff is at stake. In the meantime, Oregon has some work to do if it wants to make the playoffs in Dan Lanning’s first season as head coach. With Utah and maybe even USC being strong in the Pac-12, the conference’s chances of making the playoffs in 2022 don’t seem to depend on just the Ducks.

But if Oregon is one of the best teams in the Pac-12, then the gap between the best teams in the west and the best teams in the SEC is more like a gulf. Nix was just as inconsistent as he was at Auburn, and he stared down his receiver before Smith picked him off. Both the offensive and defensive lines of the Ducks were too strong for them, and Georgia’s receivers kept finding open spots in Oregon’s secondary. With a 17-point spread before the game, not many people thought Oregon would win by itself.

But it wasn’t impossible to think that the Ducks could keep the game close for at least a quarter or maybe even a half. Instead, Georgia showed that it was the better team by scoring 21 points right at the start of the game. And it’s hard to imagine that Georgia won’t start a lot of games this season with a three-touchdown lead.

WINNERS

Alabama

No, we’re not ignoring the best team in the country. Alabama beat Utah State 55-0, which meant they beat the spread and beat the Aggies. Bryce Young, who won the Heisman Trophy last year, got off to a great start. He threw for 195 yards and five touchdowns, and it was the first time in his career that he ran for 100 yards. Young ran for 100 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground. Young also moved the ball around when he passed.

Three Alabama receivers caught at least five passes, and seven other players caught at least two passes. The Alabama defense only gave up a total of 136 yards of offense, and only one play was longer than 10 yards. The Tide sailed through a scoreless fourth quarter and gave its starters a break before a big game against Texas in Week 2.

Pittsburgh

The Backyard Brawl was back after 11 years, and it was better than ever. In an exciting baseball game on Thursday night, Pitt beat West Virginia 38-31. WVU had a lead of 31-24 late in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t keep it. After WVU coach Neal Brown chose to punt on fourth-and-1 near midfield, Pitt moved down the field and tied the game.

On the next drive, Bryce Ford-hands Wheaton’s got in the way of a pass from JT Daniels, which Pitt DB M.J. Devonshire picked off. Devonshire took the interception 56 yards and scored a touchdown to win the game. Kedon Slovis threw for 308 yards in his first game for Pitt, but the Panthers had trouble running the ball as they moved away from the pass-heavy offense they used to win the ACC title last year.

Penn State

Penn State senior quarterback Sean Clifford almost let Purdue win Thursday night’s game. With 8:29 left in the game, he threw an ugly pick-six that gave Purdue a 31-28 lead, but he made plays when it mattered most. In the last minute of the game, Clifford led the Nittany Lions on an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive, and with 57 seconds left, he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Keyvone Lee.

PSU got a big win on the road, which they needed after losing six of their last eight games of the 2021 season. Still, it’s not clear if PSU has enough talent to compete for a Big Ten title. Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders: Oklahoma State beat Central Michigan 58-44 in a game that was not very pretty. Last year, the Cowboys had one of the best defenses in the country. This year, they let CMU get 546 yards of offense, though most of it came after the game was already won.

And senior quarterback Spencer Sanders was the main reason why the game was already over. Sanders threw for four touchdowns and a career-high 406 yards. He also ran for 57 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Sanders threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. He also ran for two touchdowns. Drake Maye, the quarterback for North Carolina, thinks that UNC will be fine on offense without Sam Howell at quarterback.

Drake Maye, a redshirt freshman, had a big day as the Tar Heels beat Appalachian State 63–61 in a crazy game. Maye threw for 352 yards and scored four touchdowns. He also ran for 76 yards and scored a touchdown. It looks like the Tar Heels will score a lot of points this year, but they will also give up a lot. If Maye plays like this every week, UNC’s defensive flaws might not be as noticeable. Mack Brown hopes so for sure.

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