NEW ORLEANS — Georgia receiver George Pickens has come a long way this season, and the talented freshman has a long ways to go.
That’s a good thing when one considers Pickens capped a roller coaster freshman season by winning Most Valuable Player honors in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (12-2) beat No. 7 Baylor (11-3) by a 26-14 count in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Pickens keyed in the win with 12 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown. The 12 catches tying the school record for more catches in a bowl game (Hines Ward).
“I’ve still got growing to do,” said Pickens, who was suspended for the first half of the SEC Championship Game after a third-quarter skirmish against Georgia Tech. “But I can kind of tell myself that I’m improving every day.”
Pickens plays the game with a high level of emotion that has sometimes overflowed to the point of being counterproductive.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) January 2, 2020
Quarterback Jake Fromm, who was 20-of-30 passing for 250 yards and two touchdowns, has worked to mentor Pickens in practices.
“tI’s really just him, he pushed me every day, (and) Coach [Kirby] Smart pushed me every day to be the player I am today,” Pickens said “So just me connecting with him at practice all the time is really just the best thing.”
Fromm has dished out heavy praise for Pickens throughout the season, and he had more positive things to say about him after the win over Baylor.
“George is a great teammate, a great football player,” Fromm said. “What I love about George is he loves football. He loves going out, competing. I can say for him showing up at practice, he’s the same guy, same competitor every single day. And I know I love it.
“I know Coach (Kirby Smart) loves it. But he’s a competitor. He goes out and competes. Seeing him do something like he did today, no surprise to us.”
Pickens said going all out is the only way he knows.
“I just play football,” Pickens said. “When I see that guy running full speed, I try literally every option to avoid him.
“I know it looks crazy when I’m trying to leap over people and risking injury, but I mean I’m just playing football.”
DawgNation Sugar Bowl Game Stories