Georgia football passed its final regular-season test Saturday, blasting rival Georgia Tech 45-21 at Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs were a 17-point favorite, but senior defenders Jonathan Ledbetter and D’Andre Walker promised in the days leading up to the game they would take care of business, and they certainly did.
Quarterback Jake Fromm did his part, too, completing his first seven pass attempts en route to a 13-of-16 passing performance that netted 175 yards and 4 touchdowns in a game that was essentially over at halftime
The No. 5-ranked Georgia program (11-1) led 38-7 as the teams went to intermission, clearly on its way to its first home win over the Yellow Jackets (7-5) since 2012.
The Bulldogs’ seniors are 42-11, now tied for third-most wins by a senior class in school history.
Senior defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter promised the Bulldogs wouldn’t disappoint, and he held true to his word, recording a team-high 9 tackles and playing with passion.
Fromm delivered the type of performance Kirby Smart needed to set a tone, getting off to a perfect start and building a quick lead against a Georgia Tech offense not build to come from behind.
Freshman defensive tackle Jordan Davis came up big with a sack when Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson rolled the dice on a fourth-and-6 at the Georgia Tech 48 early in the second quarter trailing 21-7. It was one of Davis’ three tackles.
Defensive end Malik Herring made the most of his first career start with 5 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney stayed dialed in after his great performance against Auburn. The Bulldogs’ play caller schemed up an overly-aggressive Georgia Tech defense when the game was still competitive, leading to Georgia scoring touchdowns on its first five drives. UGA had had 172 yards rushing and 171 yards rushing in the first half, uncanny balance.
D’Andre Swift stayed hot, carrying 14 times for a touchdown and 105 yards, his 7.5 yards-per-carry average becoming par for the course for him.
Freshman tailback James Cook didn’t do himself any favors with his fourth-quarter fumble. The explosive Cook has shown his speed and playmaking abilities throughout the season, but ball security is a premium, and Cook may have lowered his chances of getting many meaningful carries in the SEC title game.
The Georgia kickoff team missed tackles and failed to sufficiently hold their lanes in allowing Georgia Tech return man Juanyeh Thomas to take one back 100 yards and cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 14-7 at that point in the first quarter.
Rodrigo Blankenship is still one of the best kickers in the country, but you won’t find any other game this season where he misses a field goal (48 yards, hit upright) and sent a kickoff out of bounds.