Georgia’s unsung hero from the national championship

By James Morgan

In the 2018 CFP National Championship Game, Alabama subbed in second-string quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at halftime to change the momentum of the game against Georgia. Tagovailoa helped the Crimson Tide erase a 20-7 deficit and win the national championship in overtime against UGA.

Georgia returned the favor against Alabama in the 2022 national championship. Kirby Smart’s coaching decision was not as noticeable or talked about as Nick Saban’s 2018 decision, but it made a similar impact on the game.

Midway through the second quarter Kirby Smart and offensive line coach Matt Luke elected to change up the offensive line, which was struggling to block Alabama’s talented defensive front. UGA put in Broderick Jones at left tackle and moved Jamaree Salyer to right guard.

The change helped Georgia establish a much more effective rushing attack in the second half. The Dawgs scored 27 points in the second half and finished the game with 140 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Broderick Jones had the tough job of blocking Alabama star linebacker Will Anderson Jr. national championship game. Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Jones finished the game as Georgia’s highest-graded offensive player, per PFF. Jones was particularly effective at run-blocking. Georgia’s offensive line allowed five sacks, but pass blocked well when it mattered the most after a Stetson Bennett fumble led to Alabama retaking an 18-13 lead.

Broderick Jones and the Georgia offensive line held Will Anderson Jr. without a sack for the first time since Oct. 9. Anderson Jr. still had a large impact on the game.

Jamaree Salyer’s run blocking from the offensive guard position helped spark Georgia’s improved running game in the second half, which included a 67-yard James Cook run. Salyer, Jones, and Warren McClendon had good blocks on Cook’s explosive run. Additionally, Cook showed great vision to break the run to the left.

Broderick Jones, a former five-star recruit, will have a big role for Georgia in 2022. Jones made the coaches’ freshman all-SEC team this year and played in all 15 of Georgia’s games.


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