Jake Fromm

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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.

Georgia leading Missouri at halftime, looking to keep firm grip on SEC East

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With a chance to remain one game on top of the SEC East, No. 6 Georgia is taking care of some work inside the division so far tonight. Georgia leads Missouri 16-0 at halftime in Athens, putting them one half away from securing a one-game lead in the division with head-to-head tiebreakers against every team in the division not named South Carolina.

It hasn’t been particularly pretty for Georgia. Jake Fromm has completed just nine of 20 passes for 122 yards, although one was for a touchdown to George Pickens. But all Georgia has managed to add has been a trio of Rodrigo Blankenship field goals, including a 48-yard kick.

Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager left the game late in the second quarter with an apparent arm injury. There was no immediate update on his status in the final minute of the half, so it is unknown what this means for the second half.

Missouri has not allowed the Georgia running game to get much momentum, with D’Andre Swift held to just 16 yards on five attempts. Missouri’s offense hasn’t had much luck either, of course.

With a pair of top four teams falling earlier today (Penn State, Alabama), a win by Georgia tonight could also move the Bulldogs into a playoff position in the next College Football Playoff rankings. But first, Georgia must finish this one off against the Tigers.

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.