ATHENS — Nick Chubb rushed for 131 and two touchdowns, and quarterback Jake Fromm passed for three scores as the Georgia Bulldogs rolled over Samford 42-14 on Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.
Georgia’s defense also flexed its muscles in the victory, which got the 13th-ranked Bulldogs to 3-0. Samford was limited to 16 yards on four consecutive three-and-outs in the first quarter and finished with 249 total yards.
The Bulldogs will put their undefeated record on the line next Saturday when Mississippi State comes to town. The Maroon Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 SEC) shocked the SEC with a 37-7 victory over heavily favored LSU in Starkville.
Here’s how Georgia looked as it improved to 3-0 for the third consecutive season:
The Bulldogs produced 459 yards and scored more than 40 points for the first time in the Kirby Smart era on Saturday. But that stat loses some of its luster when it’s taken into account that both Kennesaw State (545) and West Alabama (529) gained more yards against Samford. Nevertheless, Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm showed continued growth with three touchdown passes on 8-of-13 passing. He finished with 165 yards. Terry Godwin became the first receiver since Isaiah McKenzie early last season to have two TD catches in a game. Godwin had a career-best 4 catches for 98 yards. But the Bulldogs had 2 more drops and Fromm lost a fumble for the second consecutive week. After some early struggles, Georgia managed to rush for 285 yards.
Georgia was dominant in the first and third quarters, but endured some lapses in the second and fourth quarters as Samford managed to get the ball moving via coach Chris Hatcher’s “Hatch Attack.” Sanford registered 105 yards of offense and scored a touchdown on a 75-yard drive in the second quarter. It scored TDs on two of its three trips into the red zone, though the Bulldogs did manage one stop with a blocked field goal in the third. Lorenzo Carter had 2 sacks to increase his season total to 3 and Roquan Smith led the Bulldogs once again with 6 tackles.
Special Teams: A
An area of weakness last season is developing into one of strength in 2017. Place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship continues to demonstrate tremendous improvement on his kickoffs. After struggling in that area a year ago, Blankenship recorded 7 more touchbacks Saturday. Cameron Nizialek averaged 46.5 yards on 2 punts, including a 57-yarder. J.R. Reed blocked a field goal attempt in the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ first blocked kick since Ray Drew in 2014.
Once again, Kirby Smart and his staff had the Bulldogs well prepared. Samford, though only an FCS team, does some unique things on offense that are tough to defend. And a week after committing 12 penalties for 127 yards against Notre Dame, Georgia had just 3 for 25 on Saturday, and only 1 personal foul infraction compared to 4.
Georgia got what it needed out of this game. While the Bulldogs could have been more dominant on offense and defense, it managed to get through the game without any significant new injuries while resting several key players, including tailback Sony Michel (ankle) and cornerback Malkom Parrish (foot). Both are expected to be available next week against Mississippi State. Meanwhile, players heeded the coaches’ calling of not taking Samford for granted.