ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart stressed the importance of a strong start, and he got that and more from an offensive unit that scored every time it had the ball in a 66-27 win over UMass.
“I challenged our players to start really fast,” Smart said. “I thought it was important to come out and set a tone in these kinds of games. You want to start fast, you want to go quick, you want to execute and not be sloppy. I did think we did that.”
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The Georgia offense scored on every possession, and its 701 yards of offense were the second-most in school history behind a 713-yard performance against Florida Atlantic in 2012.
“I thought we played two good weeks [vs. Kentucky and Auburn], and then coming into this week I thought the offense built some momentum. I mean, you can’t say they didn’t build momentum when they scored every time they had the ball,” Smart said after Saturday’s win. “But defensively we probably didn’t play as well tonight as we played in previous weeks, so we have to continue to work and get better.”
That has been the mantra from the start of the season for the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (10-1). Georgia has had plenty of work to do to replace five of the starting seven off last year’s defense and NFL starting running back Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Quarterback play has been solid throughout most of the season with sophomore Jake Fromm under center, and Saturday night was no exception.
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Fromm was a perfect 5-of-5 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Smart was also impressed with freshman Justin Fields, who was 5-of-8 passing for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns in addition to rushing for a team-high 100 yards and 2 touchdowns on seven carries.
“I thought both of them played well,” Smart said. “When you have a run game that’s as physical as ours, when you’re able to kind of run the ball at will and run the ball inside, it opens up the passing game. It makes it easier, and I thought both guys made good decisions with the ball.
“Jake was five for five or something, and Justin didn’t make a great decision throwing the bubble out there but other than that, he threw the ball really well. One of his drops should have been a touchdown.”
Indeed, had Demetris Robertson not dropped a perfectly placed Fields’ deep ball, the freshman would have added a 33-yard touchdown pass to his stat sheet. instead, the Bulldogs settled for a 40-yard field goal and a 52-13 lead.
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart