ATHENS — And just like that, the Jake Fromm era is under way.
Jacob Eason, the sophomore and Georgia’s incumbent starter at quarterback, injured his left knee after being shoved out of bounds by an Appalachian State defender early in the game. That brought in Fromm, a freshman from Houston County, with 6 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Fromm played well. Fromm, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound quarterback from Warner Robins, was 10 of 15 for 143 yards to lead the Bulldogs to a 31-10 win over Appalachian State in the season-opener at Sanford Stadium.
Fromm’s impact turned a negative into a positive. After relieving Eason, he led Georgia to a pair of first downs after it hadn’t gained one previously. He paced the Bulldogs on a 61-yard scoring drive his second series and hooked up with Javon Wims on 34-yard touchdown pass on his third.
Meanwhile, Georgia coach Kirby Smart indicated at halftime that Eason’s injury is not serious. He told UGA sideline reporter Chuck Dowdle the knee is sprained and that Eason “could be back as early as possible. We don’t know when.” Eason did not return.
Knee sprains can require a recovery of anywhere from two weeks to 12 months, depending on the severity. At the least, it would appear Eason will be out for next Saturday’s game at Notre Dame. His father, Tony Eason, played receiver for the Fighting Irish from 1986-90.
Fromm’s poised response when unexpectedly called into duty continued the narrative for what has been a storybook athletic career. As an adolescent, he emerged as a home run-hitting star during Houston County’s run to the Little League World Series. Then he threw for 12,817 yards — 260 shy of Deshaun Waston’s all-time mark in 10 fewer games — and 116 touchdowns as the quarterback at Houston County High. He was the subject of a television documentary when he was being recruited as a 4-star prospect.
The win gives the Bulldogs a 2-0 record against the Mountaineers, who also lost 45-6 at Sanford Stadium in 2013. Georgia improves to 94-27-3 in season openers.
Lost in the quarterback talk was a stellar performance by Georgia’s defense.Appalachian State had only seven first downs and just over 200 yards offense through three quarters.
Running back Elijah Holyfield and receiver Riley Ridley dressed out but did not play due to one-game disciplinary suspensions.
(Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story said Fromm played until the end of the fourth quarter. He left the game for Brice Ramsey earlier in the fourth quarter. Ramsey threw a pair of interceptions on two pass attempts.)