ATHENS — Georgia freshman quarterback Justin Fields entered the opening game on the fourth series and the Bulldogs up 17-0, and the lead quickly grew to 24-0 over Austin Peay.
Fields handed off to fellow newcomer and Cal transfer Demetris Robertson on a third-and-2 from the Georgia 28, and Robertson took the football 72 yards for a touchdown with 10:29 left in the second quarter.
Fields handed off to Elijah Holyfield on his first play in the game, and Holyfield ran wide for 2 yards.
On second down, Fields took off running on what appeared to be a planned QB draw and gained 6 yards, setting up Robertson’s big play.
It was Robertson’s first time touching the ball in the game for the Bulldogs, and the longest run of his career.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart held open competition at the quarterback position throughout the offseason, even though Fromm led Georgia to the SEC title and CFB Playoff Championship Game as a true freshman last season.
Fields’ talents and the Bulldogs’ lack of depth at the position dictated the quarterbacks split reps through the spring and fall drills. Fields has been No. 2 on the depth chart, ahead of No. 3 Matthew Downing.
Smart has made no secret of his appreciation for Fields’ abilities.
“He’s taken on the second team role quickly, and I’m excited about the things he’s done,” Smart said at SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. “He gives us an element in our offense that we don’t have. Excited to see what he can do.”
Fields’ father, Pablo, indicated in an ESPN interview that he hoped the performance of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa “opens eyes” to coaches giving second-team quarterbacks more opportunities.
“Teams will do it in every [other] spot — tackle, guard, center,” Pablo Fields told ESPN. They’ll figure a way. But playing the best quarterback, sometimes there’s a big blowback — especially if it’s an unseen commodity.”
Smart didn’t let the father’s comments affect him at all, and the Georgia quarterback competition continued on its pace.
Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has said Fields’ skills are such that you don’t rule out a two-quarterback system of some sort in the future.
“He’s a competing son-of-a-gun, and he’s also a hell of a good football player, [so] the future is very bright for him,” Chaney said. “You don’t rule anything out.”