ATHENS — Georgia football freshman quarterback Justin Fields reminded everyone what all the buzz was about with his performance in the 66-27 win over UMass.
Fields threw a laser beam to speedy receiver Mecole Hardman for a 57-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It was a highlight that will be played over and over by opposing coaches warning their secondary of the freshman’s strong arm.
Fields running skills were on display, too. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder ripped off runs of 47 and 30 yards en route to a 100-yard performance.
A true freshman from Kennesaw, Fields was 5-of-8 passing for 121 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with 100 rushing yards on seven carries before coming out of the game in the third quarter with Georgia up 59-13.
Jake Fromm started and was 5-of-5 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown before coming out after the opening series of the third quarter.
Freshman Matthew Downing replaced Fields and played the fourth quarter.
FIRST HALF DRIVES
Fields directed touchdown drives on each of the three series he started in the first half. His first came after he took over at the 20-yard line at the 1:52 mark in the opening quarter with UGA up 14-7.
Fields handed off to D’Andre Swift for a 1-yard gain. Then he ran 8 yards. Then Fields converted on a third-and-1 with a 3-yard run to sustain the drive.
On the next play, Fields burst 47 yards before being run down at the UMass 20. Three plays later, Fields hit Riley Ridley over the middle for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Fields took a shot from Minutemen linebacker Chinedu Ogbonna as he delivered the throw that made it 21-7 at the 13:55 mark.
Fields’ second possession in the game came at the 7:13 mark of the second quarter at the UGA 28-yard line with the Bulldogs up 28-10.
A 15-yard run by Elijah Holyfield sparked the drive, and then Fields found tight end Isaac Nauta wide open over the middle with a well-placed pass. The Bulldogs’ tight end gained 54 yards before getting caught from behind at the 3.
Fields took care of the rest, spinning into the end zone on the next play with a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 35-10 at the 6:13 mark.
Fields’ third series started at the 3:23 mark of the second quarter with Georgia up 35-10 at and taking possession at its own 19. Swift opened the drive with runs of 20 and 4 yards before Fields threw the Bulldogs’ first incompletion of the day.
The disappointment didn’t last long. On the next play, a third-and-6 at the Bulldogs’ 43, Fields connected with Hardman down the right sideline for a 57-yard touchdown to make it 42-10 at the 2:22 mark.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS
Fields had more highlights in the second half, though his first drive of the third quarter (and fourth series in the game) ended modestly with a field goal.
The magic came back on his fifth series.
Fields had a freshman moment and took a sack for a loss of 2 yards on second-and-10, but that merely set the stage for him to make another big play.
Fields eluded two UMass defenders in the backfield on the third-and-12 from the UMass 32-yard line, ripping off a 30-yard run to set up first-and-goal. Three plays later Brian Herrien scored on a 6-yard run to make it 59-13.
SEC Network analyst Marcus Spears suggested before the game Georgia should get Fields as much experience as possible.
“I’m trying to play him as much as possible in this game because of what we just witnessed in the national championship last year,” Spears said, referencing how Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench at halftime to rally Alabama to a 26-23 overtime win over Georgia.
“I want to get Fields in game-time situations, 2-minute drills, end of half drills, in the red area …. see if we can run our regular offensive package with him being quarterback so he can feel comfortable just in case of some bad happening Jake Fromm has to come out when you are playing for all the marbles.”