In the inaugural edition of the Gridiron Blitz Podcast, we preview the upcoming NFL season with our prediction on division winners, who will represent the NFC and AFC in the Super Bowl (it’s not a repeat of Patriots/Rams), give our Super Bowl winner (it’s not New England) and individual winners in categories such as MVP, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Release from Georgia Athletics:
Despite 29 points from J.J. Frazier, the Georgia Bulldogs fell 78-69 to Belmont in the first round of the 2017 National Invitation Tournament.
Frazier, who finishes the season with 13 games with 20 or more points, led Georgia (19-14) in scoring and added a pair of rebounds and assists. William Jackson II and Tyree Crump each scored 10 points, and as a team, the Bulldogs committed a season-low five turnovers.
“We just could not find a lineup that could get stops and also play offense,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “We were disjointed and Belmont has a great shooting team. We couldn’t settle on a defense that could slow them down on the three-point line. They had two spurts, one to start the second half and one in the middle of the first, that they knocked in some three-point shots and that really was the difference in the game.”
The Bulldogs were without their second- and third-leading scorers, as Yante Maten and Juwan Parker each missed the game due to injury. Maten suffered an unexpected setback from his knee sprain following last weekend’s SEC Tournament, while Parker suffered a partial tear to his right Achilles.
The game opened with a series of runs, with Belmont (23-6) racing out to an 11-4 lead and the Bulldogs quickly tying the game at 13. Later, after holding Georgia to a stretch of 0-of-5 shooting, Belmont was able to go on another run, this time taking a 25-17 advantage. The Bruins, who came into the game averaging nearly 30 three-point attempts per game, hit their fifth three-pointer of the game just over 10 minutes in and led by as much as nine in the opening period.
Entering the final five minutes of the first half down by seven, Georgia got layups on back-to-back possessions from Jordan Harris and Frazier and cut the lead to three. On the next Georgia possession, following some quick ball movement, E’Torrion Wilridge found Tyree Crump for a three-pointer that tied the game. During the 7-0 run, the Bulldogs were able to hold Belmont scoreless for nearly three minutes. The Bruins then put home a few shots in the final two minutes and took a 37-34 lead into the break.
In the first five minutes of the second half, Belmont was 5-of-5 from three-point range and got out to a 54-43 lead. At the 11:46 mark, Frazier went 1-of-2 at the line and cut the lead to nine. The first free throw, which Frazier missed, snapped a Georgia-record 45 consecutive made free throws for the senior. He finishes his career with the highest free-throw percentage in Georgia history at 84.1-percent, breaking Jerry Eppling’s record of 82.2-percent.
With the Bulldogs down 68-54, Frazier scored the game’s next six points and got the deficit back down to eight, but the Bruins led by 10 following the final media timeout. The Bulldogs could not close the gap, scoring just seven points in the game’s final four minutes. Belmont finished the game 14-of-31 (45.2-percent) from three-point range and won the rebounding margin, 35-32.
Release from the SEC:
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
- Subbing for an injured Leonard Fournette, rushed for a career-best 163 yards and 3 TDs on 17 carries in LSU’s 42-7 win over Missouri.
- Averaged 9.6 yards per carry … Scored on runs of 42, 4, and 37 yards, all in the first half as the Tigers built a 21-0 lead at halftime.
- Also caught a pass for a 21-yard gain … Was the second 100-yard rushing game of the season for Guice and LSU has won both of those games.
- For the game, the Tigers racked up 418 rushing yards and 634 total yards, the most ever by an LSU team in a Southeastern Conference game.
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
- For the second-straight week, Barnett’s standout play in the second half helped Tennessee seize control of the game en route to a comeback victory. He finished with five tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble in the end zone that resulted in a defensive touchdown.
- Barnett now has 24 career sacks and leaped Todd Kelly Sr. (22.5 from 1989-92) for fifth-most in Tennessee history.
- Barnett now ranks second among all active FBS players with 24.0 career sacks. • He also has 41.5 career tackles for a loss, leaping Dale Jones (39.5 from 1983-86) and Eric Westmoreland (40.0 in 1996, 1998-00) to move into third-place on UT’s all-time list.
- Both of Barnett’s sacks came at key moments. Georgia’s opening drive of the third quarter halted at midfield when Barnett broke through the offensive line for a nine-yard sack. With 2:56 remaining in the game and the Vols down 24-21, Barnett sacked Jacob Eason on 2nd-and-11 in the UGA end zone and stripped the ball, which was recovered a split second later by teammate Corey Vereen to give the Vols their first lead of the game.
Dan Skipper, OL, Arkansas
- Blocked his second field of the season and the seventh of his career on a 41-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.
- His seven blocks are just two off the NCAA record of nine. • Helped pave the way for Arkansas’ 353 yards rushing against Alcorn State, marking the Razorbacks most yards on the ground since Sept. 13, 2014 at Texas Tech.
- Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver for the first time since last season at Tennessee.
Riley Lovingood, LS, Tennessee
- Lovingood was part of one of the most unique plays late in the game on Saturday. With 3:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, Lovingood snapped the ball to punter Trevor Daniel, who booted the ball 37 yards high in the air to the UGA 6-yard line.
- Lovingood raced down the field to make the catch, downing the ball at the UGA 6. Two plays later, Derek Barnett strip sacked Jacob Eason in the end zone and Corey Vereen recovered the ball in the end zone to give UT its first lead of the game at 28-24 after the extra point.
Joshua Jacobs, RB, Alabama
- The freshman running back made his first career start and recorded his first 100-yard rushing performance.
- The native of Tulsa, Okla., rushed for a 100 yards and scored a touchdown on just 16 carries to average 6.2 yards per rush.
- Also caught a career-best threes passes for 44 yards to give him 144 total yards from scrimmage.
- Converted nine first downs on 19 touches, including seven rushing first downs and two in the passing game.
- Averaged 7.6 yards per touch with long plays of 28 yards rushing and 23 yards receiving.
Ethan Pocic, C, LSU
- Leader of LSU offensive line that paved the way for the most total yards in a SEC game for the Tigers in school with 634 total yards in 42-7 win over Missouri.
- Played 80 snaps with five knockdowns … LSU had only two negative plays the entire night and averaged 7.7 yards on 82 plays.
- Playing without Leonard Fournette, LSU produced two 100-yard rushers on their way to 418 rushing yards and 6 rushing TDs.
- LSU didn’t commit a turnover and registered 30 first downs and possessed the ball for 42:33.
Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
- Hall finished the day with 6 total tackles, four solo and recorded 3.5 tackles for losses totaling 16 yards which included two quarterback sacks for losses of 12 yards and added two additional quarterback hurries.
- After the first play from scrimmage for South Carolina notched a 75-yard touchdown run, the Aggie defense kept the Gamecocks out of the end zone the rest of the afternoon in the 24-13 victory.