No-sweat night for Georgia offense, which piles up points and yards on UMass

Georgia football-Bulldogs' offense has a no-sweat night versus UMass-Georgia Bulldogs
On of Jake Fromm's 19 plays in Saturday's game was this handoff to D'Andre Swift, who had one of the Bulldogs' quieter games in what was an offensive onslaught versus UMass.

ATHENS – Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm arrived at postgame interviews Saturday not much unlike he’ll arrive at church Sunday morning. Sure, he was wearing his football uniform and some eye black. But otherwise, there wasn’t a bead of sweat on him and nary a hair out of place sticking out from under his cap.

“I’m still going to take a shower,” he cracked in the minutes immediately following the Bulldogs’ 66-27 win over UMass.

Contrary to what his personal appearance indicated, Fromm had, in fact, played in a sanctioned FBS football game Saturday night. It’s just that neither he nor many of his Georgia offensive mates exerted much in the way of strain while doing so.

Fromm played on four offensive series, led the Bulldogs on touchdown drives on all four and went 5-for-5 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown. In total, he was in the game for 19 plays and led Georgia to 28 points.

“Well, I’m not as tired as I probably would be normally, which is nice,” Fromm said of the short work. “But it’s not really about me. For the offensive line and for everybody, we like to keep guys fresh and that helps us moving forward.”

Fromm was but one cog in an offensive machine that lit up UMass like a Christmas tree. Georgia tallied the second-most offensive yards in school history with 701 (426 rushing, 275 passing). The school record is 713 against Florida Atlantic in 2012.

Georgia’s 66 points – which came on 66 plays – were the most since Georgia’s 66-0 win over Troy in Athens in 2014 and second most since a 70-6 win over Northeast Louisiana in 1994.

The dominating offensive performance was exactly what the doctor ordered. Well, coach Kirby Smart anyway.

“I challenged our players to start really fast,” Smart said in his postgame remarks. “I thought it was important to come out and set a tone in these kinds of games. You want to start fast, you want to go quick, you want to execute and not be sloppy. I did think we did that.”

Georgia did, and it didn’t matter who it had under center, or at running back, or receiver, or on the offensive line. As good as Fromm was, Justin Fields might have been even better. The freshman from Kennesaw got his most extensive work since the first third of the season and was impressive in doing so.

Fields had 100 yards rushing on 7 carries – including a 47-yard jaunt to set up an early touchdown – and also completed 5-of-8 passes for 121 yards and two more scores. He should have had a third touchdown pass, but a long ball for Demetris Robertson went through the receiver’s hands in the end zone. But he did connect with Mecole Hardman for a 57-yard touchdown.

“In this offense, we have so many targets, so many weapons, you can’t be selfish,” said Hardman, who finished with 68 yards on 3 catches. “You have to be selfless out here and just take advantage of every opportunity you get. That’s an idea a lot of our guys are bought into.”

Indeed, Hardman’s position mate Tyler Simmons scored 2 touchdowns, one a 71-yard reception and another on a 49-yard run on a jet sweep. But the real number that stood out was Georgia’s 426 yards rushing. Freshman James Cook led the running backs with 76 yards and 2 touchdowns. Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift had light workloads with 6 and 9 carries, respectively, and split 99 yards. But 12 different players logged rushing attempts.

With the win, No. 5 Georgia improved to 10-1 overall and will begin preparations immediately for next Saturday’s regular season finale against Georgia Tech (7-4). The Yellows Jackets defeated Virginia 30-24 in overtime Saturday.

Asked what the Bulldogs might be able to carry out of this game into that one, Fromm thought for a second.

“It was great to have a game like that because everybody gets to enjoy it and feel like they’re a part of it,” Fromm said. “Because there are a lot of guys that work hard during the week, during those hard SEC weeks, and you want to see those scout guys get to reap the benefits out there on the field. They work hard in practice, too, and a game like this is fun for everybody.”

Fun and stress-free. One in which a quarterback barely even had to break a sweat.

“I mean, it is cool outside,” Fromm said, laughing at the attention. “But, you know, it is what it is. You just go out there, you play, you have fun, you enjoy when you’re out there and it’s good to get to see other guys get to roll in and have some fun.”

There was much fun to be had on thus Saturday.

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