Terry Godwin

Associated Press

Fab frosh Fromm fronts No. 11 Georgia in Bulldog Bowl blowout

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There were some questions entering Saturday night if Jake Fromm could handle the bright lights of an SEC primetime game in his first conference start, particularly against this Mississippi State team that so brutalized LSU last week.

Those questions were answered after Fromm’s first pass of the night.

After forcing a Mississippi State three-and-out, Georgia began its first possession at its own 41. Fromm handed to Nick Chubb, who turned around and tossed the ball back to Fromm, who then hit a wide open Terry Godwin for a 59-yard touchdown. Six minutes later, Chubb raced in from seven yards out for his own touchdown and the Bulldog Bowl was all but over.

No. 11 Georgia cruised from there, defeating their similarly-nicknamed cousins from the SEC West No. 17 Mississippi State, 31-3.

Fromm played an efficient and contained game, hitting 9-of-12 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Chubb spearheaded a versatile Georgia rushing attack, carrying 15 times for 81 yards and two scores, while D’Andre Swift rushed nine times for 72 yards and Sony Michel added seven carries for 32 yards.

While Georgia’s offensive effort was workmanlike, Georgia’s defense was superhuman. The red-and-black Dogs hounded Nick Fitzgerald all night, punishing him into a 14-of-29 night for 83 yards with two interceptions to go with 10 carries for 47 yards.

Fitzgerald’s first interception came midway through the third quarter, with Mississippi State already trailing 21-3, when Deandre Baker ended a promising drive by returning his pick 22 yards to midfield. Fromm ended any hope of a comeback three plays later when he found Isaac Nauta for a 41-yard score.

Georgia’s second interception came two passes later, as Dominick Sanders picked Fitzgerald in Mississippi State territory and set up a 49-yard Rodrigo Blankenship field goal to close the scoring for the night.

With Notre Dame and Mississippi State behind them, Georgia (4-0, 1-0 SEC) can begin eyeing a possible 12-0 season. Kirby Smart‘s team will go on the road to Tennessee and Vanderbilt over the next two weeks and plays only two more ranked opponents: No. 20 Florida in Jacksonville and No. 15 Auburn in Auburn.

Mississippi State (3-1, 1-1 SEC) gets Auburn next week at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Georgia handling Mississippi State in Battle of Bulldogs

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Georgia jumped on Mississippi State early and hasn’t let up, as the red and black Bulldogs hold a 14-3 halftime lead over the maroon and gray Bulldogs at the break in Athens.

After forcing a three-and-out to open the game, Georgia took a bite out of Mississippi State’s jugular on its first play of the game as Jake Fromm hit Terry Godwin for a 59-yard flea-flicker touchdown.

Georgia then forced another punt and this time swiftly marched down the length of the field, moving 78 yards in eight snaps and culminating in a 7-yard Nick Chubb dash.

Mississippi State put together its only sustained drive in its final chance before the half, consuming 4:29 over a 12-play, 51-yard drive that stalled at the Georgia 9-yard line. Jace Christmann punched in a 26-yard field goal with 1:14 left in the half to get the visitors on the board. Nick Fitzgerald has carried the load for Mississippi State, and taken a punishment from Georgia as a reward. He’s 10-of-18 passing for 64 yards with eight carries for a team-high 30 yards.

Fromm has been perfect in his first SEC start, hitting all eight of his throws for 160 yards and the score to Godwin. Chubb leads all runners with 34 yards and a score on eight carries.

Georgia will receive to open the second half.

No. 15 Georgia leaves inaugural South Bend trip with win over No. 24 Notre Dame

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It was a night to remember for Bulldogs young and old — no matter what the final score showed. Still, both groups are going home happy. In its first ever trip to Notre Dame — these programs have each played more than 1,200 games previously, but only once against each other — and the first ever start for true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, No. 15 Georgia earned a tight 20-19 win over No. 24 Notre Dame.

After the teams traded field goals in the first quarter, Notre Dame (1-1) found pay dirt first on a 1-yard Brandon Wimbush scrambled at the 12:24 mark of the second quarter, which was set up after Jake Fromm fumbled at his own 34-yard line.

Georgia (2-0) immediately responded, moving 62 yards in 12 plays, a drive that culminated in a 5-yard toss from From to Terry Godwin that was originally ruled incomplete before it was overturned on review.

C.J. Sanders momentarily gave Notre Dame the lead back on what was ruled on the field as a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but review ruled his forearms down at the Notre Dame 36. The Irish moved to the Georgia 24, setting Justin Yoon up for a 42-yard field goal with 4:14 to go before the break.

Yoon pushed the lead to six with a 36-yarder with 6:22 to play in the third quarter, but Georgia grabbed its first lead of the night on a 75-yard drive punctuated by a 6-yard Sony Michel run on the ensuing possession.

Notre Dame put together its longest drive of the night to open the fourth quarter, slicing through the Georgia defense for 73 yards over 12 plays, but an 8-yard Wimbush run came one yard short of the sticks on 3rd-and-9, setting up another Yoon field goal to see-saw Notre Dame back in front at 19-17 with 10:21 remaining.

The Irish had a chance to take control after forcing Georgia into a three-and-out, taking the ball with the lead at their own 25, but Georgia forced a three-and-out of its own and then reclaimed the lead on a 30-yard Rodrigo Blankenship field goal with 3:34 to play.

After forcing three consecutive incompletions, Georgia had the chance to put the game away with a single first down, but a 3rd-and-2 handoff to fullback Christian Payne ended one yard short, giving Notre Dame the ball back for a last-gasp drive with 1:57 remaining. Wimbush moved the Irish 17 yards, but Davin Bellamy sacked Wimbush and forced a fumble, which Lorenzo Carter recovered for the Bulldogs. Georgia expired the final 1:14 to hold on for the win.

The end was emblematic for Wimbush, who hit 19-of-39 passes for 211 yards and spent much of his night running with nowhere to go. He was credited with 16 carries for one yard, and Notre Dame as a team managed only 55 yards on 37 rushes. Georgia rushed for 185 yards as a team, led by Michel’s 73 yards and Nick Chubb‘s 63, while Fromm hit 16-of-29 passes for a modest 141 yard with a touchdown and an interception.

Notre Dame holds slight lead over Georgia at the break

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A tight, competitive first half has ended with Notre Dame holding a 13-10 lead over Georgia.

After the teams traded field goals in the first quarter, Notre Dame found pay dirt first on a 1-yard Brandon Wimbush scrambled at the 12:24 mark of the second quarter, which was set up after Jake Fromm fumbled at his own 34-yard line.

Georgia immediately responded, moving 62 yards in 12 plays, a drive that culminated in a 5-yard toss from From to Terry Godwin that was originally ruled incomplete before it was overturned on review.

C.J. Sanders momentarily gave Notre Dame the lead back on what was ruled on the field as a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but review ruled his forearms down at the Notre Dame 36. The Irish moved to the Georgia 24, setting Justin Yoon up for a 42-yard field goal with 4:14 to go before the break.

Fromm closed the half hitting 8-of-15 throws for 69 yards with a touchdown and an interception, his final throw of the half. Nick Chubb leads all runners with seven carries for 40 yards, and Sony Michel has added 35 yards on six totes.

Wimbush completed 9-of-16 passes for 114 yards, while Josh Adams rushed 10 times for 26 yards.

Georgia will receive to open the second half.

Kirby Smart sends Alabama to SEC title game as Georgia upsets No. 9 Auburn

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Kirby Smart no longer coaches for Alabama, just as Maurice Smith no longer plays for them. But a former Tide coach and player did a major favor for their former team as Georgia upended No. 9 Auburn 13-7 in Athens. The loss dropped Auburn to 5-2 in SEC play, thereby clinching the SEC West championship for the undefeated Tide.

Of far more importance, of course, for Smart is what this means for his new team. The win sends Georgia (6-4, 4-4 SEC) to a bowl game, extending the program’s streak to 20 consecutive seasons. It’s Smart’s first win over a top-10 team, and the program’s first since beating a similarly-ranked No. 9 Auburn team in 2014. And it provides an image of what this program wants to become under Smart, an image for the new staff to point players, fans and recruits to and say “this is where we’re going, now hop aboard.”

It didn’t look that way through one half, though. Georgia’s offense was stuck in mud and the defense played well but still permitted 109 rushing yards and the game’s only score, a 3-yard Kerryon Johnson rush with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.

But Smart’s defense completely smothered Auburn in the second half.

The half started when, after two incomplete passes, Auburn quarterback Sean White fired an interception directly into Smith’s gut, who returned the ball 34 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

Every other Auburn possession ended after just three plays except the final one. And that one only lasted four because the Tigers ran out of time to punt. When accounting for Smith’s 34-yard return and the seven points it produced, Auburn’s second half produced a net of minus-2 yards and minus-7 points.

That’s not to say the Georgia offense found success against its Auburn counterparts, however. The Bulldogs never found the end zone, but two Rodrigo Blankenship field goals — a 45-yarder at the 13:44 mark of the fourth quarter and a 21-yard chip shot with 2:25 to play — on the heels of 13- and 14-play drives provided enough offense.

And, unlike Auburn, Georgia’s offense avoided the crucial mistake. Freshman Jacob Eason completed 2o-of-31 passes for 208 yards (and narrowly missed catching a reverse pass from Terry Godwin that would’ve provided a clinching touchdown before Blankenship’s final field goal) while Nick Chubb carried 23 times for 101 yards and Sony Michel added 55 yards on 10 attempts.

The Tigers’ offensive numbers finished as ugly as their drive chart. White completed 6-of-20 passes for 27 yards and that pick six, while six Auburn rushers managed only 14 rushing yards in the second half.

With a closing kick of Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia Tech before the bowl game, Georgia can now reasonably point toward a possible 5-game winning streak to send Smart’s first season out with a bang.

Auburn, meanwhile, must regroup after this dud and use next week’s working vacation against Alabama A&M to prepare for Alabama without a possible SEC championship on the line.