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Georgia football winners and losers from the bye week
Winner: Georgia’s win over Notre Dame
Going forward, Georgia needs Notre Dame to continue to play well. That’s going to make the Bulldogs’ 23-17 win look all the more impressive. And the Fighting Irish proved — as they did the previous Saturday — that they’re actually a pretty good team.
After trailing 17-14 at halftime, Notre Dame suffocated the life out of No. 18 Virginia and cruised to a 35-20 victory. On the day, the Fighting Irish finished with 8 sacks, forced 5 turnovers and had 4 rushing touchdowns in the win.
Against Georgia, those numbers were 0, 0 and 0. While not everyone came away impressed with Georgia’s performance following the win over Notre Dame, Saturday showed there’s a good chance the victory is going to end up aging like a good scotch. And to this point in the season, the win over Notre Dame is a better win than anything Clemson, Alabama or Ohio State have on their resumes.
Loser: Those rooting against Justin Fields
Once again, former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields had a monster game. His Ohio State Buckeyes rolled to a 48-7 victory over an outmatched Nebraska team. On the season, Fields now has 16 passing touchdowns, 7 rushing touchdowns and just a single turnover. He’s been awesome so far for Ohio State.
Of course, most Georgia fans don’t want to hear, see or even think about Fields, given his exit from the program last December. Prior to the end of Georgia’s season, Fields put his name in the transfer portal. He did travel with the team for the Sugar Bowl, but he did not play in the game and quickly left afterward to avoid speaking with reporters about his Georgia future. On Jan. 4, he announced he would be heading to Ohio State.
What Saturday showed — beyond that Fields is going to continue putting up monster numbers — is that some in the national media are going to continue to bring up the Fields vs. Fromm debate. USA Today’s Dan Wolken had a string of tweets that probably enraged a few Georgia fans, as he outright declared Fields was a better quarterback than Fromm.
I’m kind of surprised we aren’t talking more about the fact that Ohio State has a better quarterback than Georgia, given that Ohio State’s quarterback was at Georgia last year.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) September 29, 2019
Even as Georgia continues to win — and Fromm continues to play well — Saturday showed the shadow of Fields is going to follow Georgia for the rest of his college career.
Winner: Georgia’s cornerbacks
If there’s one position group that needed a week off to recover, it would be the cornerbacks. Tyson Campbell didn’t even dress for Georgia’s game against Notre Dame, while Eric Stokes sustained a knee injury on the opening drive of the game and didn’t return until late in the fourth quarter.
Neither player was spotted at practice this past week, but Kirby Smart did seem to indicate that neither would be out for long.
“Eric was not able to go today. He looks like he was going to be fine but he was a little sore. He jogged yesterday. He ran today but he wasn’t able to practice,” Smart said on Tuesday. “Tyson is working out, training, running but not able to practice.”
In the absence of Campbell and Stokes, Georgia relied heavily on D.J. Daniel and Tyrique McGhee. The pair held up for most of the night, but as Georgia enters the meat of its SEC schedule, it can’t sustain too many more injuries without having to reshuffle the back end of its defense.
Loser: Those expecting Kirby Smart to finally beat an SEC West team on the road
In Georgia’s first three seasons under Smart, the Bulldogs have gotten blown out each time they’ve visited an SEC West opponent. In 2016, Georgia lost 45-14 to Ole Miss. In 2017, the Bulldogs were steamrolled by Auburn, losing 40-17. Then last season, Georgia was suplexed by LSU in a 36-16 defeat.
This season, the Bulldogs visit Auburn on Nov. 16. And if Auburn’s performance on Saturday is any indicator of what the Tigers can do, beating them on the road is going to be a tall task. The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first five possessions of the game and waltzed to a 56-23 victory over Mississippi State.
A week after he threw for only 100 yards against Texas A&M, freshman quarterback Bo Nix responded by throwing for 335 yards and 2 touchdown passes in his best performance to date.
Georgia and Auburn both have a number of big games before the two teams meet — Auburn visits Florida and LSU in the month of October, while Georgia takes on Florida and Missouri to open November. But Saturday seemed to show that Georgia’s toughest regular-season test will be that Nov. 16 clash.
Winner: The Georgia coaching staff’s frequent flyer miles
The Georgia football players may have had the weekend off, but the Georgia coach staff didn’t have the same luxury, as they crisscrossed the country to see some of Georgia’s top targets and recruits.
Kirby Smart went to Columbia, S.C., to check out 5-star defensive end Jordan Burch. He is the No. 2 overall player in the 247Sports Composite rankings and is considering Georgia, Clemson and South Carolina. Smart was spotted chatting with Will Muschamp, who was also in attendance to check out Burch as well as his son.
“This is an opportunity, because you have an extra day of travel, to go maybe somewhere further away,” Smart said on his radio show on Thursday. “Because we don’t have a game, you don’t have to get back as fast.”
Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman made a trip out to Texas to check in on 4-star commit Chad Lindberg.
— Emily Lindberg (@EmilyKLindberg) September 28, 2019
Meanwhile, Georgia receivers coach Cortez Hankton went to New Orleans to watch Georgia receiver commit Corey Wren.
#UGA WR coach Cortez Hankton here at Yulman. Curtis ATH and Georgia commitment Corey Wren will be on the field this evening
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) September 28, 2019
No coach had a bigger trip this weekend than that of defensive backs coach Charlton Warren, as he made his way out to Scottsdale, Ariz., to check in on the status of 5-star cornerback target Kelee Ringo. Given the depth concerns at the position, there might not be a more important target on Georgia’s board than the nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect.
— Jason Mohns (@CoachMohns) September 27, 2019
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- A Few Good Men: Georgia struck gold with 3 pivotal transfers
- Measuring up: Examining Georgia’s offensive evolution, comparing past to current UGA teams
- Georgia punting, special teams scrutinized after shaky Notre Dame performances
- WATCH: Georgia DT Michael Barnett: Bulldogs ready for calm before storm
- Kirby Smart: Georgia football recruiters headed out of state with momentum
- Change atop college football polls, Georgia remains in chase
- ‘Beat-up’ Georgia football team heavy favorite over Tennessee in Knoxville
- Finebaum: Clemson is ‘not better than Georgia’
- Kendall Milton: 5-star commit sees how UGA can become the most dangerous offense in college football
Dawgs on Twitter
— CB (@carsonbeck01) September 28, 2019
— Pace Athletics (@PaceKnights) September 28, 2019
Our student-athletes of the week. Go Dawgs !! pic.twitter.com/xEPg4N2mM5
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) September 26, 2019
NICK CHUBB SAID SEE YA 💨
88 yards for his THIRD TD of the day
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) September 29, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
Oh sorry Bully. … hope he’s ok. pic.twitter.com/jbwS8lHLKJ
— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) September 28, 2019