DAndre Swift

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Georgia RB D’Andre Swift declares for NFL draft

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Georgia is now officially sending off another running back to the NFL. D’Andre Swift made his plans official on Friday evening by announcing he is leaving Georgia and declaring for the NFL draft. Swift announced his decision with a statement shared on his Twitter account.

“The time has now come for me to pursue another dream of mine, which is to enter the 2020 NFL Draft,” Swift said in his statement. “My family and I have spent a considerable amount of time determining what’s best for me, I will be forgoing my senior year and I’m excited for what the future holds.”

Swift was Georgia’s leading rusher in 2019 with 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns. Swift also led the Bulldogs in rushing in 2018 with 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns as one half of a dynamic rushing duo with Elijah Holyfield, who is currently in the NFL with Swift’s hometown NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Swift took advantage of his playing opportunities as a freshman behind Georgia’s duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in 2017 with 618 yards and three touchdowns on 81 rushing attempts.

Swift ended his season a bit banged up, which is why he only had two rushing attempts for 13 yards in the SEC Championship Game loss to LSU and one rushing attempt for two yards in Georgia’s Sugar Bowl victory over Baylor earlier this week. Swift was widely expected to be heading off to the NFL this season, so his announcement was far from surprising. He should be one of the top running backs on the board for any NFL franchise in need of a running back in 2020.

No. 8 Georgia takes over first place in SEC East after topping No. 6 Florida

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If recent history is any indication, No. 8 Georgia (7-1, 4-1 SEC) can start making reservations in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game now. Georgia came out on top of No. 6 Florida (7-2, 4-2 SEC) in Jacksonville on Saturday, 24-17, to take over sole possession of first place in the SEC East. The winner of the Florida-Georgia game has gone on to play for the SEC championship each of the last four seasons, including the last two years by Georgia.

Jake Fromm passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs, with Lawrence Cager being the main target. Cager caught seven passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. It was Cagfer’s touchdown in the fourth quarter that helped keep Georgia ahead for good. Early in the fourth quarter, Cager worked himself into an open spot on the field as the Florida secondary lost track of him, and Cager made them pay for the defensive slip with a 52-yard touchdown to put Georgia up by two scores.

 

As expected, Georgia tried plugging away on the ground as well. D’Andre Swift carried the football 24 times for 89 yards, with a long run of 30 yards against a solid Florida defense. But Georgia’s defense was the unit really taking charge. Georgia limited Florida to 272 yards of offense and allowed just two out of nine third-down conversions (Florida was also 1-of-2 on fourth down).

The win extends Georgia’s winning streak over Florida to three games, as the Bulldogs and Gators continue to exchange three-game winning streaks. Florida won three consecutive meetings from 2008 through 2010, followed by three consecutive wins by Georgia from 2011 through 2013, with Florida returning the favor from 2014 through 2016. This was also the first game in the series decided by one score since Georgia’s 23-20 victory in 2013.

While the recent trends would suggest Georgia is heading to Atlanta, there is still some work to be done before thinking about a shot at another SEC title. Georgia is home next week to play the next biggest threat within the division, Missouri. A win against Missouri would give Georgia a tough-to-beat path to Atlanta with a one-game lead in the loss column on both the Gators and Tigers and head-to-head tiebreaker against each. The reason that is important is that Georgia also plays arguably the toughest remaining game between all three SEC East contenders. Georgia must play a road game at Auburn in two weeks. A loss at Auburn opens the door once again for Florida (and Missouri), but Georgia would still have to lose to Texas A&M at home for either Florida or Missouri to sneak to the top of the division. Missouri hosts Florida on the same day Georgia is playing at Auburn.

So, in brief, next week’s game against Missouri can pretty much wrap up the SEC East race if Georgia wins.

Florida will look to rebound next week at home against Vanderbilt. The Gators likely will have a difficult path back to a New Years Six at-large with the loss.

Georgia holding the upper hand on Florida in SEC East slugfest

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In the most important game in the SEC East, No. 8 Georgia is leading No. 6 Florida 13-3 at halftime in Jacksonville.

Jake Fromm‘s short touchdown pass to Dominick Blaylock gave Georgia a 10-0 lead late in the second quarter. Georgia running back D’Andre Swift has rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries.

Running the ball has been difficult for the Gators. Florida has been held to just nine rushing yards on eight rushing attempts by a hungry Georgia defense. Gators quarterback Kyle Trask has been taken down for a loss of 10 yards to cut into the anemic Florida rushing total.

Dan Mullen rolled the dice on the game’s opening possession by going for it on fourth-and-goal from the Georgia 40-yard line, but an incomplete pass resulted a turnover on downs by the Gators. Georgia then strung together a 16-play drive that resulted in a field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship. The scoring drive covered 47 yards over the 16 plays. Blankenship added one more field goal shortly before halftime to extend Georgia’s lead to 10 points.

No. 3 Georgia extends winning streak vs SEC East to 15 in blowout win at Tennessee

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Tennessee (1-4, 0-2 SEC) just can’t seem to beat teams from the state of Georgia. Of course, the Vols haven’t been able to beat most teams this year. The painful state of the Vols received no mercy on Saturday night in Knoxville against No. 3 Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) as the Bulldogs left Neyland Stadium with a 43-14 laugher.

Georgia scored 33 unanswered points starting late in the second quarter to turn a 14-13 deficit with some mild concern into a blowout win on the road against a division opponent. The Bulldogs racked up 529 yards of offense and forced two turnovers, including one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that was probably important to a few viewers still wondering about the outcome. Jake Fromm completed 24 of 29 pass attempts for 288 yards and two touchdowns and D’Andre Swift had 72 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in the win.

Georgia has now won three straight games against the Vols and eight of their last 10 in the series. Tennessee once had a decent lead in the all-time series with Georgia but now trails the Bulldogs 24-22-2 since 1903. In addition to dominance over the Vols in recent memory, Georgia has extended its winning streak against the rest of the SEC East to 15 straight games. The last loss taken by Georgia within the division came on October 29, 2016 in a 24-10 loss to No. 14 Florida. That was the first season as head coach at Georgia for Kirby Smart.

Georgia will look to keep that division-winning streak going with some favorable matchups coming up in the next couple of weeks. Georgia hosts South Carolina next week and then welcomes Kentucky to Athens. That all leads up to the game of the year in the division against Florida at the beginning of November. Florida celebrated a big win over Auburn earlier in the day and takes their undefeated record on the road in their next game against LSU. It seems likely the two teams will square off with no more than one combined loss at the start of November.

As for the Vols, Tennessee is already starting to flirt with being ineligible for the postseason. Tennessee is already 1-4 and still has a road trip to Alabama looming in a couple of weeks. Tennessee has to win five of their remaining seven games in order to become bowl eligible. Tennessee has not missed a bowl game in the first two years of a head coach’s tenure since Johnny Majors took over the program in 1977. Tennessee missed out on a bowl game in 1977 and 1978 before being invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl in 1979. Next up for the Vols is another home game next week, against Mississippi State. The two programs have not played each other since 2012, and Tennessee has not beaten Mississippi State since 2008, which was the last time Mississippi State played in Knoxville.

No. 3 Georgia holds off No. 7 Notre Dame for 23-17 win

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Before the largest crowd ever to watch a football game in Sanford Stadium, No. 3 Georgia (4-0, 1-0 SEC) took time wearing down No. 7 Notre Dame (2-1) for a 23-17 victory Saturday night. Despite a handful of injuries before and during the game, Georgia managed to overcome an early special teams mistake and shut down the Irish in the second half. Georgia outscored Notre Dame 13-0 after halftime.

Georgia running back D’Andre Swift led all players with 81 rushing yards and scored Georgia’s first touchdown in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7. Jake Fromm gave Georgia a cushion in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard pass to Lawrence Cager. The touchdown lifted Georgia to a 20-10 lead at the end of an 82-yard drive after Notre Dame had gone three-and-out.

Notre Dame’s second-half drive summary was not good, to put it kindly. After halftime, Notre Dame fumbled on the third play of their first offensive series, which led to a Georgia field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship to tie the game at 10-10. The Irish then went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, leading to another field goal by Blankenship to give Georgia their first lead of the night late in the third quarter. Another punt after losing two yards in three plays led to the Georgia touchdown drive, and Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book was picked off by J.R. Reed on the following possession at the Georgia 33-yard line. That was Notre Dame’s last chance to make things interesting because the Bulldogs began to work the clock. Keeping things on the ground, for the most part, Georgia killed nearly four minutes off the clock before one more field goal by Blankenship to extend the lead to 23-10.

If the atmosphere was a factor, it showed. Notre Dame was called for seven false start penalties in the game. A record crowd at Sanford Stadium of 93,246 was crammed in to watch the events unfold in person. Most of them ended up going home with a smile on their face.

Georgia did suffer some notable injuries in the game. Starting offensive linemen Isaiah Wilson (didn’t play; ankle) and Solomon Kindley (left game; left leg injury) were among the injured Bulldogs, and cornerback Eric Stokes left the game after injuring his knee on the second play of the game.

This all sets Georgia up for a playoff run. With a win against a top 10 opponent under their belts and a favorable schedule the rest of the season, Georgia should be a near-lock for a spot in the SEC Championship Game with a possible 12-0 record. A road trip to Auburn late in the year could be the biggest hurdle remaining, and that could be a nice boost to a playoff profile if things fall just right for Kirby Smart and his program.

While it would be premature to suggest Notre Dame has been eliminated in the playoff discussion, it is a safe bet to say they have a much tougher path back into the playoff mix with a loss. With no conference championship game to fall back on and Michigan getting steamrolled earlier in the day to take some of the luster off their late October showdown in Ann Arbor (note: just some luster), Notre Dame is already in a likely position where they will need to take care of their own schedule the rest fo the way to go 11-1 and then hope for a little help from around the country. The good news for Notre Dame is they likely won’t fall back too far in the polls and there will be teams that take losses the next few months. But it will be tougher on the Irish now.

Georgia will get next week off before jumping into SEC play in October. The Bulldogs will play on the road against a Tennessee program that continues to struggle. The Vols were blown out on the road at Florida earlier in the day. For Georgia, all eyes may be looking ahead to November 2 when Georgia meets Florida in Jacksonville. That game is expected to decide the fate of the SEC East Division, but Georgia must get past Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky first. Those three teams are a combined 4-8.

there will be no bye week for Notre Dame until mid-October, so the Irish will be back at it next week with a home game against No. 21 Virginia. The Cavaliers avoided a home upset to Old Dominion on Saturday. Notre Dame will play their next three games at home with Bowling Green and USC each visiting after Virginia before Notre Dame reaches their next bye week.