ATHENS — As Georgia finished off its slog of a win over Texas A&M, Kirby Smart made it a point to find junior running back D’Andre Swift. Following the 19-13 win over the Aggies Smart tracked down Swift and fellow junior Andrew Thomas.
The three huddled up and shared a moment together. It wasn’t quite as emotional as what Smart and Fromm had after the Florida game, but you could tell it meant a lot to Smart to say something to his do-everything running back in what was likely his final home game.
“He just thanked us for the way we played. It’s our heart,” Swift said. “The way we fight and the energy we bring to practice and transfer it over to Saturday. Just our effort and our determination to win.”
You saw that energy and passion quite often from Swift on Saturday. He once again ran for over 100 yards — the junior finished with 103 yards on 19 carries while adding 29 receiving yards on 4 catches — but the Georgia offense struggled to turn Swift’s individual brilliance into points.
The offense floundered for most of the game, finishing with 19 points and just a single touchdown. The defense was outstanding, but Swift knows Georgia can’t keep leaving it to them to win games all by themselves.
“For us to get to where we want to go, we have to get better on offense,” Swift said.
Swift added that for the offense to get better, the Bulldogs have to improve at sustaining drives. Georgia was just 5-of-15 on third down in the game. If that’s closer to say 7-of-15, the Bulldogs likely have a few more points on the board and Georgia isn’t sweating it out at the end of the game.
The junior now has 1,130 rushing yards on the season, good for third in the SEC. That number would likely be a lot higher if the rest of the offense played as well as Swift has for the entire season.
As bad as the offense was on Saturday — Georgia finished with 260 yards of total offense — the unit did convert when it mattered most on Saturday. And that was largely due to the excellence of Swift.
Georgia got the ball back with 4:26, clinging to a one-score lead. The Bulldogs needed at least two first downs to ice the game away. Georgia’s final three plays of consequence were an 11-yard run by Swift, a 9-yard run by Swift and a 3-yard run by Swift. Two of those were for first downs, even when everyone in the stadium knew he was getting the ball.
“I mean it’s crazy to me what he’s been able to will himself to,” Smart said of his junior running back. “His passion comes out in the players and I love him for it. I mean, I love him for it. I think he’s been a tremendous competitor, and he affects everybody around him.”
Georgia football running back D’Andre Swift
That passion came out on that final drive, as Swift was having a spirited conversation with Fromm after the running back ran directly into a run blitz. Those who saw wondered if Swift had finally reached a breaking point during a frustrating night.
But Smart quelled those doubts and chalked it up to two passionate individuals just trying to figure something out. You’ll likely see something similar at your Thanksgiving dinner this upcoming week.
“When you have family, your family doesn’t always get along, right? But they love each other,” Smart said of the two. “These two young men love each other as much as anybody.”
It’s hard to imagine where this offense would be without Swift. He jumps over people, he spins away from defenders and does just about everything in between. Individually, last night showed why Swift should be considered a top NFL draft prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft.
— Hiro Katsuki (@KatsukiFB) November 23, 2019
He’s literally carried the offense this year, serving as a lone, consistent bright spot. He might not be ripping off 250-yard performances every game, but it should be noted he’s now got five 100-yard games, all coming against Power Five opponents.
Swift wishes the Georgia offense could play as well as the defense is at the moment. Because he knows that if the Bulldogs are going to get to where they want to go — an SEC Championship win, the College Football Playoff and the national championship — the offense has to do more.
“We can’t ask the defense to throw a shutout every game,” Swift said. “Offensively we have to get better, but we were able to get the win tonight.”
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