Georgia football opened the last two seasons with spotlight games in NFL stadiums and ended each lifting the national championship trophy.
This time the Bulldogs played about as close to an under-the-radar game as a No. 1 team could in a 48-7 victory Saturday night in Sanford Stadium over UT Martin.
It didn’t matter much to Kirby Smart that it wasn’t Clemson or Oregon on the other sideline.
He wanted his team to dominate the FCS team who drew the thankless assignment of going up against a team chasing the first three-peat since Minnesota from 1934-36.
They didn’t exactly get that until late in a sometimes sluggish game.
Here’s what we learned from the Bulldogs victory:
Georgia football wide receiver corps has its options
The narrative leading up to the season was how deep the Georgia wide receiver corps was after a couple of proven transfers.
Georgia was without top wide receivers Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, so it found out if that was the case.
Smart poured cold water on the notion last week.
McConkey was held out due to a back injury and Rosemy Jacksaint didn’t play after a speeding arrest and two other speeding citations.
Rara Thomas, the Mississippi State transfer, had his first UGA catch on a 56-yard deep ball from Brock Vandagriff.
Walk-on Mekhi Mews led all receivers with 3 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Missouri transfer Dominic Lovett (3 for 25) dropped a touchdown in the second quarter.
Brock Bowers vs. FCS defense is unfair
All-American tight end Brock Bowers didn’t make just a few plays and save his body for the rest of the season.
He was the focal point of the Georgia offense with new starting QB Carson Beck in the first half when Bowers broke a half dozen tackles or so.
Bowers had 5 catches for 77 yards — all in the first half including 71 yards after the catch.
He took a jet sweep for a 3-yard touchdown run for Georgia’s first score of the game.
UGA’s defense will get bigger tests most weeks ahead
Yes the one touchdown and 252 total yards given up came after five more defenders went in the NFL draft, including top 10 overall defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
Safeties Malaki Starks and Javon Bullard and nickelback Tykee Smith combined for 17 of Georgia’s 24 first half tackles. Mykel Williams had a first-half sack.
The Skyhawks were 2 of 13 on third downs.
This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Georgia football: Three things we learned from big win vs. UT Martin