George Pickens

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No. 5 Georgia too much for No. 7 Baylor in Sugar Bowl

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After Georgia jumped out to a snoozer of a 19-0 halftime lead, Baylor announced plans to make the second half interesting by opening with an 8-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The Bears’ defense forced a three-and-out and, thanks to a Georgia personal foul, the Bears were quickly near midfield with momentum on their sideline.

Then, Matt Rhule elected to go for a 4th and 4 at the Georgia 46-yard line with 25 minutes left in the game, and Charlie Brewer was sacked. He fumbled the ball (Georgia’s Peyton Mercer) recovered it, but at that point it was irrelevant. The drive was over, and so, too, was the game.

Georgia rolled 47 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 13-yard Zamir White rush, putting the Bears back in their 19-point hole with 7:16 to play in the third quarter.

Baylor would score once more, but it was too little, too late. No. 5 Georgia avoided the same fate as last year’s meltdown, handling No. 7 Baylor, 26-14.

On a night when Georgia was without more than a dozen players, the Sugar Bowl served as an effective farewell/senior showcase for Jake Fromm, as well as a coming out party for freshman receiver George Pickens.

The pair hooked up 12 times for 175 yards, including a 46-yard flea-flicker that led to Georgia’s opening field goal and a 27-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave Georgia complete control of the game.

Fromm put Georgia up 19-0 with a 16-yard pass to Matt Landers with 1:51 to go in the first half. If this is it for him at Georgia, he finishes 20-of-30 for 250 yards with those two scores and no interceptions. Like Pickens, fellow freshman White spurred the running game, carrying 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.

While Fromm perhaps closed his college career on a good note, the same could not be said for Baylor’s Charlie Brewer. He was harassed by Georgia’s front all night, going 24-of-41 for 211 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Brewer rushed for a 1-yard touchdown after Georgia went up 26-7 to pull the Bears back within 12, but another rush knocked him out of the game.

Facing a 3rd and 12 at his own 28 with 8:44 to play, Brewer scrambled toward the sideline and was hit out of bounds by Travon Walker. Though the hit was clean aside from the patch of real estate it happened to occur on, but it still sent Brewer’s head and neck snapping to the turf. Brewer received several minutes of medical attention, and eventually left the field on a cart with a towel over his head.

Considering he left Baylor’s Big 12 Championship loss with a concussion — he told the ESPN broadcast crew he spent the following week in a dark room and doesn’t remember much of that time — it was enough to make the viewer think they were perhaps watching Brewer’s final college game as well, though for an entirely different reason.

Georgia pulling away from Baylor at Sugar Bowl

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At the half before a half-empty Superdome, Georgia owns a 19-0 lead over Baylor.

Georgia is mixing in new players across its offense, and it showed in the first quarter. The Bulldogs’ first three drives covered just 14 yards and resulted in three punts, epitomized by a snap over Jake Fromm‘s head that Georgia was fortunate to recover for a 13-yard loss.

The Bulldogs’ fourth possession saw Fromm hit George Pickens for a 46-yard flea-flicker, leading to a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal and better things for the Georgia offense. In fact, Fromm and Pickens combined for 11 first-half completions for 165 yards and the game’s only touchdown, a 27-yard strike at the 12:28 mark of the second quarter.

In fact, 10 of Fromm’s first 13 completions went Pickens’ way, until Matt Landers snared a 16-yard touchdown grab with 1:51 left in the first half. (Georgia went for two after the score, unsuccessfully.) While Georgia manufactured 74 rushing yards on 21 carries, the Fromm-Pickens connection carried the offense; Fromm closed the half 14-of-19 for 190 yards.

Baylor’s offense picked up where it left off in its Big 12 Championship loss to Oklahoma.

Aside from one possession that penetrated to the Georgia 26 and ended in a tipped interception, the Bears have accomplished nothing offensively. Charlie Brewer went just 13-of-22 for 75 yards, while the running game supplemented that with 22 yards on 11 attempts. Baylor achieved seven first downs and went 3-of-8 on third down.

Georgia WR George Pickens has ‘apologized for his actions’

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So, he’s got a mea culpa going for him.  Which is nice.

Late in the third quarter of No. 4 Georgia’s 52-7 blowout of rival Georgia Tech, George Pickens was involved in a wild scuffle with Tech defensive back Tre Swilling at the tail end of a nine-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm to Dominik Blaylock.  As seen in the video, both Pickens and Swilling threw multiple punches in the melee, with the Bulldog wide receiver throwing the defensive back into the stadium wall at one point for good measure.  Suffice to say, both players were ejected from the game.

Not only did the incident get Pickens tossed for the remainder of that game, it will also cost Pickens the first half of the SEC championship game against No. 2 LSU next Saturday as well.

While he certainly let his team down with his actions, Pickens has apologized to his teammates for the actions that will sideline one of the Bulldogs’ most talented receivers for a portion of the school’s most important game of the season.

“I think he has responded well,” Fromm, the UGA quarterback, said by way of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There was a moment (Sunday) where he apologized for his actions. You can definitely see him growing up an trying to realize that his actions affect more than just him. They affect the entire team.”

Pickens came into this weekend second on the Bulldogs in receptions (32) and receiving yards (457).  He also leads the team in receiving touchdowns with five.

Pickens, who was suspended for the first half of today’s game for unspecified reasons, had one catch for a 41-yard touchdown before the ejection.

The loss of Pickens is magnified by the fact that leading receiver Lawrence Cager will miss the entire game because of injury.  Additionally, leading rusher D’Andre Swift suffered a shoulder injury in the Tech game that will not likely impact his availability for Championship Saturday but could limit his effectiveness.

WATCH: Wild fight will cost Georgia one of its top WRs for first half of SEC title game

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Georgia already knew that it would be without its leading receiver for the SEC championship game because of an injury.  Now, they will be without their second-leading receiver for the first half of that game, albeit for an entirely different reason.

Late in the third quarter of No. 4 UGA’s 52-7 blowout of rival Georgia Tech, George Pickens was involved in a wild scuffle with Tech defensive back Tre Swilling at the tail end of a nine-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm to Dominik Blaylock.  As seen in the video, both Pickens and Swilling threw multiple punches in the melee, with the Bulldog wide receiver throwing the defensive back into the stadium wall at one point for good measure.

Suffice to say, both players were ejected from the game.

That won’t be the end of Pickens’ punishment, as The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman has confirmed that Pickens will be forced to sit out the first half of next Saturday’s conference title game matchup with No. 2 LSU.

Pickens came into this weekend second on the Bulldogs in receptions (32) and receiving yards (457).  He also leads the team in receiving touchdowns with five.

Pickens, who was suspended for the first half of today’s game for unspecified reasons, had one catch for a 41-yard touchdown before the ejection.

No. 6 Georgia shuts out Missouri to move one step closer to third consecutive SEC East crown

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It was a pretty good day for No. 6 Georgia (8-1, 5-1 SEC). A shutout victory (27-0)over Missouri ( 5-4, 2-3 SEC) has Georgia one game away from playing for the SEC championship for the third consecutive season. But Georgia’s 27-0 victory came at a bit of an injury toll with a handful of Georgia players having to leave the game for various injury concerns.

Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager left the game with a shoulder injury late in the first half. At other points in the game, offensive linemen Cade Mays, Trey Hill, and Isaiah Wilson all left the game with injuries.

Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes in the win, with two going to George Pickens. D’Andre Swift had a slow start to the game against the Tigers defense and ended the game with 83 rushing yards without a touchdown. It may not have been the best Georgia offensive production, but the defense more than took care of things against the Tigers. Mizzou converted just four third-down attempts all night while struggling to get to 189 yards of total offense.

Missouri is now officially eliminated from the SEC East race, as they can do no better than tie with Georgia and would lose on a head-to-head tiebreaker. But Georgia still has to win one more game in conference play to wrap up its third consecutive division crown. Georgia will clinch the division with any combination of a win against Auburn, a win against Texas A&M or a Florida loss to Missouri. Florida will play its SEC finale next week on the road against Missouri at noon eastern. So Georgia could know whether or not they have the division clinched or not by the time they take the field at Auburn (game time to be determined as of this post).

So, simply put, Georgia will clinch the SEC East next week if Florida loses to Missouri or Georgia beats Auburn. If neither one of those things happens next week, then it is on to Georgia’s SEC finale against Texas A&M to determine the fate of the division.

Georgia also picked a good day to win a game. Ranked sixth by the College Football Playoff selection committee, the Bulldogs won on a day that saw No. 4 Penn State lose on the road to No. 17 Minnesota and No. 3 Alabama come up short at home against No. 2 LSU. As far as one-loss teams go, it is a crowded field and Georgia’s loss is the worst any one-loss team has on its record (South Carolina). But Georgia also has a couple of the best wins with victories against Notre Dame and Florida in their pocket. How this all balances out in the eyes of the selection committee will be something to watch. It would not be expected Alabama falls too far given a hard-fought loss to LSU, and it is not a guarantee Penn State takes a massive tumble either (although Minnesota should make a nice jump). No matter what the selection committee says in their second batch of rankings on Tuesday, Georgia remains in a position to leave no doubt, as a one-loss SEC champion would be nearly impossible to leave out. That’s Georgia’s hope right now, at least. Of course, for that scenario to be in play, Georgia must keep hope alive with a win at Auburn next week.