Georgia football winners and losers following Sugar Bowl triumph over Baylor
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Georgia football winners and losers following 2020 Sugar Bowl against Baylor
Winner: Jake Fromm
It had not been the best of seasons for Fromm. Coming into the Sugar Bowl he had a string of five consecutive games with a completion percentage under 50 percent. The offense struggled, especially in the 37-10 loss to LSU and Fromm took a lot of criticism.
But last night, Fromm looked like the Fromm of old. He completed 20 of his 30 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t have an interception in the game and even if he played his final one for the Bulldogs, he would end his Georgia career as the program’s leader in completion percentage.
“This was awesome. I think our guys responded well,” Fromm said. “Our guys showed up and played their hearts out.”
Fromm also showed a great connection with George Pickens, as the freshman finished with a season-best 12 catches for 175 yards. Imagine for a second what a full offseason with Pickens would look like during the 2020 season, not to mention Marcus Rosemy, Jermaine Burton, Arian Smith, Dominick Blaylock and Justin Robinson as well.
Jake Fromm dropped this one right in the bucket 🎯 pic.twitter.com/TnpUhn0Rbn
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2020
Pickens was named the Sugar Bowl MVP for his efforts, which was much deserved.
After this win, Fromm will have a decision to make regarding his NFL future. His stock is all over the place depending on which NFL draft expert you prefer to look at.
Georgia’s best chance of winning a national championship in 2020 comes with Fromm at the quarterback. The game against Baylor showed that when Fromm is right, Georgia is going to be mighty tough to beat.
Loser: Georgia’s running back situation to end the season
Georgia is probably fortunate that it doesn’t have another game this season given the depth at the running back position.
D’Andre Swift was limited to only one carry with a shoulder injury. Brian Herrien missed the game due to what he called personal reasons. And during the game, Georgia saw James Cook exit with a rib injury.
But Georgia running back situation for 2020 looks pretty bright after last night. Zamir White had his best game as a Bulldog as he finished with 92 yards on 18 carries while also scoring a touchdown that gave off shades of Nick Chubb.
Georgia got creative on the field goal attempt, then they scored 6 😤 pic.twitter.com/g5PGOeMDPE
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2020
Georgia also saw some positive things out of Kenny McIntosh to round out his freshman season. The Bulldogs will be bringing Kendall Milton who spent most of the recruiting cycle as a 5-star running back. And the Bulldogs could be adding another big-time talent in Zach Evans, who is set to announce his college decision on Thursday night.
It may not have been a great end of the season for the Georgia running backs but with what Georgia is bringing in and what White and McIntosh showed on Wednesday night, Georgia should be just fine in 2020 at the running back position.
Winner: Richard LeCounte
Much of the talk around juniors leaving early focused on Fromm and Swift, but LeCounte is also going to have a decision to make. And like Fromm, his ending was pretty much perfect.
With no JR Reed, LeCounte was the leader of the Georgia secondary. The Bulldogs held Baylor to just 14 points and 295 total yards. The first half shutout was the 12th time all season the Georgia defense has held an opponent scoreless in a half. That was the most in the FBS.
LeCounte perhaps had his finest game as a Bulldog, as he picked off two passes, including one in the fourth quarter on Georgia’s final defensive play of the game.
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) January 2, 2020
For LeCounte he’s clearly become one of the best players on Georgia’s defense. Last night showed why he will be an NFL safety. But if he makes the decision to return to Georgia, it’s clear the Bulldogs will have one of the top secondaries in college football.
Loser: Life without Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas was one of the best left tackles in the sport and one of the great offensive linemen in program history. And Georgia saw first-hand last night that replacing him will be no easy task.
The Bulldogs gave up 3.0 sacks to the Bears, all in the second half. Two of those came from the left side, as Cade Mays did not have a stellar effort on the night. But it’s worth remembering that Georgia was also without Isaiah Wilson and Ben Cleveland as well. And on the right side of the line Warren Ericson and Jamaree Salyer held up well at guard and tackle respectively.
Well, except for when Ericson committed a holding penalty in the fourth quarter that drew the rage of Smart.
Kirby giving Warren Ericson hell pic.twitter.com/xUm2YjRyMi
— Lance McCurley (@lancemccurley) January 2, 2020
Georgia fans also got a first look at new offensive line coach Matt Luke last night. And it’s safe to say that players and fans are going to like his energy.
INTRODUCING COACH MATT LUKE ON THE GEORGIA SIDELINE… pic.twitter.com/PPwAMyc352
— Jon Tweets Sports (@JonTweetsSports) January 2, 2020
Replacing Thomas won’t be easy even when Georgia has recruited as well as it has in recent seasons. Last night showed why there’s a very good chance Thomas goes on to be a top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Winner: The Georgia seniors
After last night, it’s easy to be encouraged by the youth on this team. The Georgia defense had an outstanding effort led by freshmen like Nolan Smith, Lewis Cine and Travon Walker. And we’ll talk about them along with Pickens and White all offseason.
So in this space, let’s instead talk about the Georgia seniors who played their last game on Wednesday night.
For the likes of Charlie Woerner, Tae Crowder, Eli Wolf, Tyler Simmons, Michael Barnett, David Marshall, Michail Carter and the others, it was a perfect send-off. It wasn’t the best season but this senior class leaves the program with 44 career wins, which is tied for the most in program history.
As the game ended the Georgia players hoisted Crowder onto their shoulders and carried him off the field. Because of the likes of Crowder and the rest of the seniors, last night will hold a special place in Georgia football history.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football stock report: Sugar Bowl sweet for Bulldogs
- Georgia Sugar Bowl Game Ball: Freshman George Pickens ties bowl record
- Kirby Smart provides injury update on James Cook in Sugar Bowl
- Georgia running back Brian Herrien releases statement on his Sugar Bowl status
- Georgia football pregame Sugar Bowl availability report
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— Kendall Milton (@therealkmilt) January 1, 2020
Man I can’t wait….🐶
— Jermaine Burton (@dbassassin13) January 2, 2020
— Banner Society (@BannerSociety) January 2, 2020
I can’t wait to be apart of it… #GoDawgs
— Tate Ratledge (@tateratledge22) January 2, 2020
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— Paul Maharry (@pmaharry) January 2, 2020