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(Curtis Compton/AJC)
Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes (27) breaks up a pass intended for receiver J.J. Holloman in the first half of Saturday's G-Day at Sanford Stadium.

INSTANT ANALYSIS: Defense the winner as Red edges Black 22-17 in G-Day Game

Chip Towers

ATHENS — Inconclusive.

That was about the only takeaway to made from Saturday’s G-Day Game. For the record, the Black Team edged the Red 22-17, but there wasn’t a lot to gather from that outcome other than the defense might be a little further along than expected — or the offense less so. The best news was the Bulldogs got the game in the books despite inclement and unseasonably cool weather and without any significant injuries, which was the ultimate goal.

Attendance was impacted, however. Only 52,630 watched the game from Sanford Stadium. Georgia had hoped to top the SEC in spring game attendance for the fourth straight year under coach Kirby Smart. That distinction went to instead to Alabama, which drew 62,000 for its annual “A Game” last Saturday.

Expected to be a game of offensive fireworks, it was the defense that set off the first explosion. Eric Stokes picked off quarterback Jake Fromm’s second pass attempt of the day and returned it 39 yards for a Black touchdown. Fromm’s pass was intended for J.J. Holloman, who momentarily appeared to have caught the ball but had it snatched away by Stokes, who was able to return carry it unencumbered to the West end zone.

Fromm had an unspectacular day. The junior from Warner Robins completed 14-of-29 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. His score came on a 13-yard catch and run by Brian Herrien in the second quarter.

Holloman scored on a 43-yard pass from Stetson Bennett midway through the fourth quarter. The two backup quarterbacks got most of the work and both had good days. Bennett was 12 of 23 for 198 yards with a TD and an interception and freshman D’Wan Mathis went 11-of-23 for 82 yards and showed promise running the ball.

The most exciting play of the game came midway through the third quarter when wide receiver Landers ran a reverse and threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to quarterback D’Wan Mathis down the right sideline.

Wideout Trey Blount and tight end Charlie Woerner led the all receivers with five catches each. Flanker Demetris Robertson was a late scratch due to an illness.

The rest of the scoring came on field goals. Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a 23-yarder, while punter Jake Camarda had the days most impressive field goal. His 49-yarder to the West End cleared the uprights with plenty of room to spare.

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