ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm passed for a season-high 276 yards in the 41-13 win over Vanderbilt, completing 17-of-23 passes with three touchdowns.
It all started with one play, a perfectly thrown 75-yard touchdown pass on a spiral that traveled 50 yards in the air before Terry Godwin brought it down and broke two tackles en route to the end zone.
“Terry just had a little post on it, and I was reading high to low, so I went high to Terry, came low, and said ‘I’m going to go back up to Terry,’ “ Fromm said, explaining his progressions on the Bulldogs’ longest offensive play of the season. “I kind of got away with that one, it was nice, it was a play that we needed, and it kind of got the place pumping.”
It was a play Georgia had worked on all week, and coach Kirby Smart was proud of his players for pulling it off and erasing the first deficit of the season, answering a Vanderbilt field goal just 15 seconds after the Commodores took a 3-0 lead.
“It was a huge catch by Terry, good read by Jake, they didn’t get a lot of pressure,” Smart said after his No. 2-ranked Bulldogs improved to 6-0 on the season, including a 4-0 mark in SEC play.
“Everybody talks about protection, our guys had pretty good protection on that play, and I felt Fromm held the ball for a long time, Terry made a great catch and then the run after the catch was good, Smart said. “We work hard for those big balls, and it’s good to get rewarded with a vertical downfield.”
It was only the ninth time Georgia had attempted to complete a pass on a ball that traveled more than 20 yards in the air, and the fifth time the Bulldogs came up with a catch.
Tight end Isaac Nauta, who had two catches for 40 yards, including a 28-yarder, said deep pass plays change the complexion of a defense.
“It’s a huge explosive momentum play, and when you’ve got that deep threat, that softens the defense,” Nauta said. “It’s huge to have that aspect of the game. It opens up the runs, it opens up everything, when teams know you can throw it over the top of them.”
Nauta said it was also the kind of boost Fromm and the offensive line needed, as Georgia has had issues with its downfield pass game.
“I’m proud of the O-Line for keeping him protected, and I’m proud of Jake for letting it rip and letting guys go make plays,” Nauta said. “When he’s hitting shots like that, it’s huge for the offense, he’s a great talent, and that’s something we’ve been working on in practice all week, was hitting the shot plays, and being able to protect the quarterback so that we can throw it downfield.”
Fromm said it was just a matter of him executing what was called, and he enjoyed the 8-play, 75-yard two-minute offense drive at the end of the first half just as much.
“It’s what I did in high school, so playing uptempo is kind of right up my alley, let’s find out where the guys are not at, and go attack that area, so it’s taking advantage of their lack of being ready,” Fromm said. “It’s something we have in our back pocket that we’re pretty good at.”
Smart was impressed with how Fromm managed the drive, considering the Bulldogs were out of timeouts when they took over at their own 25 with 2:18 left in the first half.
“It created some momentum, Jake did a great job managing the clock,” Smart said. “We didn’t have any timeouts because we burned all those, but he did a good job managing it and functioning.”
Georgia football QB Jake Fromm