ATLANTA — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm limped out of the Bulldogs locker room to his SEC Championship Game interview session.
Fromm was 20-of-42 passing for 225 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.
It was his fifth straight game under 50 percent passing in what became a challenging season, starting in the middle of October after go-to receiver Lawrence Cager started missing time with injuries to his shoulder, ribs and finally, a now surgically-repaired ankle.
Fromm, however, kept his poise and offered no excuses in the postgame.
This, even though there were several dropped passes, and the Bulldogs entered the game missing suspended receiver George Pickens for the first half.
The suspension was compounded by injuries to receivers Dominick Blaylock (knee) and Kearis Jackson (ankle) in the first half.
“It’s kind of tough on us, but for us, it’s a ‘next man up’ mentality, I think the guys were ready,” said Fromm, who was sacked three times. “They understood the plan. It’s just an opportunity for them to go out and make a couple of plays.”
UGA head coach Kirby Smart, perhaps having had his fill of misguided attacks on Fromm’s junior season, clarified the passing game issues in his press conference.
“The first two years, Jake’s numbers were better, so the indicator of that was four wide receivers were on our sideline that were drafted that are playing in the NFL,” Smart said. “And the loss of those wideouts, the vertical threat, has probably hurt our team. That’s my responsibility, right, to replace them. That’s my responsibility to replace them in recruiting, and we probably haven’t done a good enough job of that.
“We had two or three out different games of the year, so we’ve not had a consistent group out there,” Smart said. “Went out and grabbed some transfers we thought would help. A lot of those things fall on it. People can point at Jake, they can point at Coley, they can point at me.
“I don’t know how many drops we had tonight, but I feel like we had to have had five or six that you could say should have probably been caught. And we would have been more explosive if that was the case.”
Fromm, meanwhile, stood firmly behind his teammates, even when asked about a dropped touchdown pass in the second half.
“Stuff happens in football, that’s part of the game,” Fromm said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs, especially in big games like this. There’s a lot of ups and downs in it. You just kind of have to weather the storms at times and go and try to make the next play.”
Fromm was knocked out of the game temporarily in the second quarter by LSU safety Grant Delpit, who rolled on top of his ankle while sacking him.
Fromm returned on the next series.
Asked about his health this season, Fromm said, “I was fully healthy, I went in every week at 100 percent and ready to go help my team whatever way I could.”