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D'Andre Swift ran for 98 yards in Georgia's win over Notre Dame.

D’Andre Swift shows he can be the thunder and the lightning in Georgia offense

Connor Riley

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Even without explosive plays, D’Andre Swift still shines in Georgia football win over Notre Dame

The game-breaking run didn’t come from D’Andre Swift. He never really got into a position to turn on the jets and leave the Notre Dame defenders in the dust. After hovering at around 10 yards per carry in the first three games, Swift averaged only 5.44 yards per attempt in the win over Notre Dame.

Swift had to grind out his 98 rushing yards in Georgia’s win over Notre Dame. It took him a career-high 18 carries to get to that mark.

But even though Swift has had statistically better performances, the junior running back’s play was still eye-opening. In Kirby Smart’s post-game press conference, Swift was the first player Smart spoke about.

“There were some really large hearts out there tonight,” Smart said. “One, D’Andre Swift who ran the ball with passion, guts, just relentless effort.”

Later on, Smart went into greater detail on his star running back.

“That was the heart of a warrior. He ran so hard and did a great job,” Smart said. “He played with passion, energy, and toughness, and he had a good offensive line in front of him.”

That offensive line that Swift was running behind was patchworked together for much of the night. Starting left guard Solomon Kindley left the game with a lower left leg injury, while Isaiah Wilson was held out of the first half with an ankle injury.

RelatedGeorgia football injuries adding up, depth proves pivotal

Where this Swift performance differs — from say Auburn or Kentucky a season ago — was that he usually wasn’t just making one man miss and leaving the rest of the defense in the dust. His longest run of the night was just for 15 yards. And yet Swift still found a way to consistently churn out positive yards.

There were multiple times on Saturday when he dragged Notre Dame defenders for extra yards. Swift isn’t the biggest running back, as he’s listed at only 5-foot-9. But he’s a well-built 215 pounds that allows him to take the punishment a physical defense can dole out.

On his touchdown run, he managed to bust his way through the Notre Dame defense like he was doing a Kool-Aid Man impression.

A season ago, Swift was thought of more as the lightning type back with Elijah Holyfield countering as the thunder. But the Notre Dame performance showed Swift can be both when called upon.

“He is a great running back and a great player,” Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman said. “He is an explosive, big back and a guy that is just competitive as well. He is tough for anyone to match up against.”

While we rave about Swift’s physical play, it’s worth mentioning he did still have at least one legitimately jaw-dropping moment.

In the third quarter, Swift found himself in a rare opportunity where he was in a one on one situation. But instead of leaving Notre Dame’s Shaun Crawford with one of his signature dead legs, Swift tried something different. He pulled off his best “Super Mario Bros.” move and jumped straight over Crawford.

Georgia fans have seen hurdles before, as Todd Gurley and Knoshown Moreno are both shown jumping over defenders in Georgia’s pregame montage that plays on the Sanford Stadium big board. But Swift’s hurdle looked effortless compared to either of those other elite running backs.

Related: Social media gushes over D’Andre Swift

Both Gurley and Moreno parlayed the athleticism that allowed them to hurdle defenders into ultimately becoming first-round picks. While Swift is only a junior, with more and more complete performances like he had on Saturday he’s going to end up cementing himself as Georgia’s latest first-round running back. ESPN’s Todd McShay does have Swift as the No. 1 ranked running back in the 2020 NFL Draft class, in part because Swift has shown that he can do everything.

You can also count former Georgia All-American Jon Stinchcomb among the Swift admirers for how complete his game as becoming during his third season in Athens.

“D’Andre, this week more than any other, showed that he is the guy.” Stinchcomb said on Monday’s episode of DawgNation Daily.“D’Andre Swift set himself apart. Yes, he’s one of the fastest and most athletic running backs in college football but he was running with some steam and physicality. He’s got it all. As an offensive lineman, you gotta love being in front of a guy like that.”

Offensive linemen aren’t the only ones who likely love having Swift on the team. He makes Jake Fromm, George Pickens and just about every other player on Georgia’s offense better by all that he’s able to do.

And against Notre Dame, Swift was able to show that his physicality was another tool he had in his toolbox to help Georgia hammer out a victory over a top-10 team.

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