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Clemson vs Georgia: A Gridiron Battle of Top 5 Teams

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In a highly anticipated matchup, the #5 Georgia Bulldogs took out the #3 Clemson Tigers. It was one heck of a defensive battle and — what hopes to be — a precursor to a great 2021-22 college football season.


This game was the most anticipated game in week one of the college football season, if not the entire season. While many expected to see an offensive outburst in this game, a defensive battle said hold my beer. Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei struggled with keeping himself upright. The Georgia defense sacked the second-year quarterback seven times and racked up 15 hurries in the process.

The Tigers run game was also lackluster. They were in negative rush yards for most of the game but ended up finishing with a measly positive two yards for the entire game. Clemson’s defense was just as good. They didn’t have the sacks like Georgia did but they still held them to only three offensive points.

The only touchdown of the game came off a 74- yard pick-six by Georgia safety Christopher Smith.

This game featured plenty of big names for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s take a glance at how some of these top guys fared. 

 

Clemson Tigers

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Andrew Booth Jr., Cornerback

He is one of the top cornerbacks eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft and he showed why. Booth didn’t see much action and for good reason. He was targeted four times, allowed three receptions but only allowed a total of one yard receiving on those receptions.

Booth showed great field vision coming down from the secondary and making the open-field tackle on Georgia running back, James Cook. Keep an eye on Booth as the season progresses and he could be one of the top cornerbacks taken in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Joseph Ngata and Justyn Ross, Wide Receivers

The big story here was the return of Justyn Ross. He missed all of the 2020 season due to a spinal cord issue that was found in March 2020. Ross made the most of his return to the college gridiron, finishing with four receptions for 26 yards on seven targets. Being a redshirt junior, Ross still has one more year to decide if he will enter the NFL Draft this season. He could end up staying for his senior year to make sure he is ready for the next level.

Ross was the best receiver on the field for either team. Joseph Ngata has stepped into the role of Uiagalelei’s favorite target. He finished with six receptions for 110 yards on eight targets. Ngata showed great footwork to beat the cornerback, catching the ball, and get those coveted yards after the catch. His catch radius was exceptional and making sure the ball sticks with him.

 

Georgia Bulldogs

James Cook and Zamir White, Runningbacks

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While these pair of running backs only combined for 93 yards rushing (Kendall Milton added 27 rushing yards), James Cook and Zamir White showed they are both very worthy of carrying the load for this team and at the next level. The pair also added a combined five receptions (Cook – 4 and White – 1) showing their versatility.

Both running backs showed excellent field vision and patience on the offensive line waiting for the blocks and running lanes to develop. They have a knack for getting those tough yards after the catch to move the chains downfield.

JT Daniels, Quarterback

When it comes to draft stock, JT Daniels didn’t do too much to boost his draft stock, mediocre at best. Finishing with 22 completions for 135 yards is less than satisfying. Daniels was missing a large chunk of his best receivers but still manage to find a way to help lead Georgia to a huge win.

Daniels did a great job of getting the ball out quickly and accurately and only getting sacked once. Missing a bunch of his top receivers, Daniels didn’t show off his long ball, resorting to short dink and dive balls.

Adam Anderson and Nakobe Dean, Linebackers; Nolan Smith Jr., EDGE

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Between the linebacking core and the defensive line, they were the stars of this game. Bringing down Uiagalelei seven times is indicative of the amount of talent on this team. Dean, the team captain for this game, led the way for this Georgia defense with two sacks and five tackles. He showed exceptional vision and downhill speed to sneak around the interior offensive line and racked up three hurries.

Even though Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith only played about half the snaps, their presence was felt all over the field. Both Anderson and Smith each had one sack and combined for eight tackles. Anderson was solid in coverage allowing 11 receiving yards. Smith, on the other hand, held his end of the bargain by keeping the running game at bay.

As the season progresses, it will be very important for both these guys to get on the field more and make a draft boost by the season’s end.

Jordan Davis, Interior Defensive Line

The stats don’t always show it, but Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt showed why they are some of the best. Holding Clemson to only two rushing yards is a feat in itself but the seven sacks — only two came from the interior defensive line — showed they can create holes for their second-level players.

Davis is a bulldozer at 6’6″ and 340 lbs. He had two sacks but what the stat sheet doesn’t show is his presence in the trenches. Davis could have jumped to the NFL last season but decided to come back for another year, which could lead to him being a higher pick in 2022.


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the article. You can find me on Twitter @ejh1528IDP. Feel free to shoot me any NFL Draft, college football, or IDP (NFL or Devy) questions you may have. You can find my IDP rankings at Dynasty Nerds or my other NFL Draft content with NFL Draft Bible/Sports Illustrated here. Check our Devy rankings here

Eric Herauf

You can find me on Twitter @ejh1528IDP. Feel free to shoot me any NFL Draft, college football, or IDP (NFL or Devy) questions you may have. You can also check out my NFL IDP rankings at Dynasty Nerds and the rest of my NFL Draft content at NFL Draft Bible, powered by SI.
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