Bulldogs to Watch: Georgia vs. Notre Dame

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Bulldogs to Watch: Georgia vs. Notre Dame

Jake Fromm (11)
Jake Fromm (11)

JAKE FROMM (QB, #11)

This three-year starter is firmly in control of the Georgia offense. As a mere freshman two years ago, the 6-2, 220-pound Fromm directed the Bulldogs to the SEC championship, a Rose Bowl playoff win over Oklahoma and a berth in the national championship game, where Georgia fell agonizingly to Alabama in overtime. Fromm led the Bulldogs to another SEC East title in 2018 and entered this season with 5,364 yards passing and 54 touchdown passes. In the opening two games this season, Fromm passed for 156 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt and then drilled 10-of-11 pass attempts against Murray State, for 166 yards and a touchdown, while not even playing a full half in Georgia’s 63-17 win. Fromm continually makes the right calls to set up explosive runs by the Bulldog tailbacks and he and the UGA offense will be facing their biggest challenge of the season thus far against the Notre Dame defense.

DEMETRIS ROBERTSON (WR, #16)

Demetris Robertson (16)
Demetris Robertson (16)

Following an All-American freshman season at California, Robertson (6-0, 190) went through a huge transition in his first season in a Bulldog uniform in 2018. But, this season, the junior wideout has evolved into one of Georgia’s top receivers and is a primary target for quarterback Fromm. Among the team’s fastest players, D-Rob had a touchdown catch in each of the Bulldogs’ first two games against Vandy and Murray State and is certainly being counted on to step up big when the Fighting Irish roar between the hedges Saturday evening.

JORDAN DAVIS (NT, #99)

Jordan Davis (99)
Jordan Davis (99)

This 6-6, 320-pound sophomore out of Charlotte, N.C. moved into the Bulldogs’ starting lineup during the course of the 2018 season and proceeded to capture Freshman All-America honors. Davis, who creates stalemates with opposing offensive linemen, which allows the Georgia linebackers clear paths to the running backs, played in 11 of 14 games last season. He started in four and finished with 25 total tackles, including a season-high seven stops against LSU. Davis and the Dawgs’ defensive front will need to be at their best against the Irish’s power running game and quarterback Ian Book.

MICHAEL BARNETT (DT, #94)

Michael Barnett (94)
Michael Barnett (94)

One of the senior leaders in Georgia’s defensive line, the 6-4, 304-pound Barnett is another Bulldog facing a huge challenge Saturday night on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. Notre Dame always seems to field one of the biggest and strongest O-lines in the country and this year is no exception with potential NFL first-round draft choice Tommy Kraemer (6-6, 319, Sr.) leading the way at his right guard spot. Barnett, who played in all 14 games for the Bulldogs last season, and his fellow D-linemen have their work cut out and will have to be at the top of their game Saturday night if they’re to stymie the Irish attack.

D’ANDRE SWIFT (TB, #7)

D'Andre Swift (7)
D’Andre Swift (7)

This 5-9, 215-pound junior out of Philadelphia is following in the great lineage of Georgia tailbacks such as Walker, Hearst, Moreno, Gurley, Chubb, and Michel. Swift led the Bulldogs in rushing last fall with 1,049 yards despite battling injuries in the first half of the season. And Swift, who runs with both speed and elusiveness, got off to a big start this season when he ran for 147 yards in the 30-6 win over Vanderbilt. Certainly, against the Irish defensive front Saturday night, Swift and the rest of the Georgia running backs will need to have a huge performance and keep the chains moving.

Kirby Smart and Latravious Brini (36)
Kirby Smart and Latravious Brini (36)

KIRBY SMART (Head Coach)

In his fourth season at the Bulldogs helm, Smart has taken Georgia back into the top echelon of collegiate football. Smart’s second Bulldog team, of course, captured the SEC East title, the SEC Championship over Auburn, toppled Oklahoma in a scintillating semifinal playoff game in the Rose Bowl and then lost agonizingly in overtime in the national championship game to Alabama. In 2018, Smart’s Bulldogs again posted a second consecutive 11-1 regular season and captured the SEC East crown before again being nipped near game’s end by the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game. Now, with maybe the most talented team he’s assembled in Athens, Smart and his Bulldogs are gearing for a run at both the SEC and National championships and that gauntlet starts against unbeaten Notre Dame Saturday between the hallowed hedges.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.