ATHENS – One of the best things about Georgia playing Alabama next week in the SEC Championship Game is everybody will likely get to see the Bulldogs’ starting offense stay on the field for all four quarters.
That hasn’t happened since Georgia lost to LSU 36-16 back on Oct. 13. Since then, quarterback Jake Fromm and most of his teammates have left the game by the fourth quarter. That was the case again Saturday as the Bulldogs’ overwhelmed Georgia Tech 45-21. In this case, most of the starters were on the sideline early in the third quarter.
Nevertheless, Georgia’s offense was able to do this:
- The Bulldogs scored on their first seven possessions, with six touchdowns and one field goal. They only settled for the field goal at the end of the first half because they ran out of time.
- Fromm started the game 7-for-7 passing, which made him 12-for-12 going back to the UMass game. He hit seven different receivers and went 13-for-16 for 175 yards and a career-high 4 touchdowns in a little more than a half.
- Georgia featured a balanced attack with 447 yards of total offense, including 285 yards rushing and 162 yards through the air. The Bulldogs had four receiving touchdowns and two scoring runs. Junior wide receiver Riley Ridley had two touchdown catches.
- The Bulldogs topped the 200-yard mark rushing the ball for the fourth straight game, continuing a dominant trend for the nation’s fifth-ranked team. D’Andre Swift finished the game with 105 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and Elijah Holyfield added 79 yards on 9 carries as the Bulldogs averaged 6.8 yards per rush.
“On offense, we’re clicking right now,” said Swift, who just logged his fourth consecutive 100-yard game. “I think we’re starting to peak at the right time.”
Georgia Tech came into the game leading the nation in rushing with 353.7 yards a game. Georgia limited the Yellow Jackets to just 128 on Saturday. But Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said with his offense facing the prospect of not having the ball much, he challenged them to do a lot with it when they did.
“We sell it that way,” Smart said. “We talk every day when I go into the offensive meeting – and I don’t spend much time in there – I go over it and show them clips. Here’s Michael Barnett, here’s what he’s dealing with, and here’s Deandre Baker getting cut on the perimeter by Prather Hudson on every play. So what are you going to do about it? How are you going to practice to take care of your brother. Because it’s a complementary football game when you play them. You have to play to protect your defense, and I thought our offensive players bought into that and they were motivated.”
They were, especially Fromm and the receivers. The Bulldogs really came out hard and fast throwing the ball all over the field and looked like they could have kept throwing it if Smart hadn’t taken them all out of the game in the third quarter.
They were mostly of the quick and efficient variety, though Fromm did hit Mecole Hardman for a 44-yard touchdown.
“We liked our matchups,” Fromm said. “You know, they were playing some off coverage, so we hit a lot of underneath stuff and let guys break tackles. Our athletes, our guys, are all good with the ball in their hands, so let’s get it to them and let them make some plays. They did a really good job of making those plays and that’s all we can ask for.”
That formula resulted in the Bulldogs having first-half scoring drives to start the game of 9 plays, 75 yards; 11 plays, 88 yards; 6 plays, 63 yards; 1 play, 44 yards; 5 plays, 33 yards; and 7 plays, 40 yards.
Georgia racked up 25 first downs. It didn’t punt until the fourth quarter after freshman Justin Fields had come into the game for Fromm.
“I’m just pleased with the fact that we’re playing cleaner football,” Smart said. “We’re executing at a higher rate.”
Said Fromm: “I think guys are executing, guys are clicking and I think we’re finally kind of getting molded together. We’re playing for each other and it’s awesome to see everything kind of get orchestrated. It’s fun to be a part of it.”