ATHENS — Georgia tailback D’Andre Swift said all he needs is a little space, and that’s just what the Bulldogs created for their electric sophomore tailback Saturday.
Swift exploded on a 77-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Auburn, scoring the final points in Georgia’s 27-10 win over the Tigers at Sanford Stadium on Saturday night.
D’Andre Swift 👀 pic.twitter.com/miVdztsoWn
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 11, 2018
“I was just trying to make plays,” said Swift, who posted his third straight 100-yard rushing performance with a career-high 186 yards on 17 carries in addition to a team-high four catches for 43 yards.
“I’m a versatile player, so it’s just getting me the ball in open space.”
Swift has averaged 9.9 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns in the past three games against Florida, Kentucky and Auburn, looking like a different player since the bye week.
It turns out Swift had been overcoming offseason surgery, something that hadn’t been confirmed until Swift told ESPN on Friday that he had surgery on both groins in January.
“He had to have incisions in his abdomen,” Holly Rowe said during the ESPN telecast Saturday night. “And so it took him some time to come back. And it looks like he’s at full speed now.”
Swift was limited in spring drills and didn’t play in the G-Day Game, but he won the starting job in August and held it through the first four games before Elijah Holyfield overtook him.
It was clear Swift was not 100 percent in September, and he told DawgNation that he had been getting treatment each morning at 7 a.m. for his groin injury just to be able to play.
Swift packs the power to break tackles in his 5-foot-9, 215-pound frame, and since the bye week, he has the breakaway speed and sharp cutting ability to go with it.
Swift averaged 5.1 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns through the Bulldogs first seven games, a foot an ankle injury also complicating things for him.
“I don’t know why people didn’t think he was good early in the year, he was dinged up some early, and he also has got an offensive line that’s blocking their tail off,” Smart said. “At the end of the day, D’Andre is a really electric, explosive runner. He’s really good out of the backfield catching the ball.
“But [receiver] J.J. Holloman, and [guard] Solomon Kindley, and [receiver] Mecole Hardman, there’s a lot of good blocks that sprung a 30-yard play to whatever it was, a [77-yard] play. When you’ve got that, it helps you as a runner.”
Swift broke an 83-yard touchdown run against Kentucky, showing off his breakaway speed in the 34-17 victory over the Wildcats.
Swift said Saturday’s touchdown against Auburn came on a different call, but his strategy remained the same: “Whenever I see space, that’s where I’m going.”
Like Smart, Swift was quick to credit the supporting cast.
“The O-line did a good job of giving me somewhere to go,” Swift said. ““I couldn’t do anything without them. We’ve had a lot of young players that stepped up.”
Swift said he’s still getting better and not yet completely healed from the foot injury suffered in the 36-16 loss to LSU, rating himself a ‘7 or 8’ out of 10.
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