Athens, GA – While last week’s game versus Arkansas State was a dominating performance from start to finish, the Bulldogs found themselves in a four-quarter Dawg fight with a tenacious 7th-ranked Notre Dame team.
The game was scoreless until the second quarter when the Fighting Irish drew first blood at the 10:39 mark with a 1-yard pass from quarterback Ian Book to tight end Cole Kmet for a touchdown to go up 7-0 on the Bulldogs. Georgia would tie the game up with 2:27 to go in the first half with a 3-yard touchdown dive by running back D’Andre Swift, which capped a 13 play, 75-yard drive that ate up over 8-minutes.
It looked like Georgia and Notre Dame would go into half-time all tied up at 7 apiece, but the Irish would add a 27-yard field goal from Jonathan Doerer as the clock hit 00:00 to go up 10-7.
The Dawgs would come out and add two field goals from placekicker Rodrigo Blankenship to retake the lead, 13-10, in the third quarter. With less than 2 minutes off the clock into the fourth quarter, quarterback Jake Fromm hit wide receiver Lawrence Cager with a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 20-10. It looked like Georgia had Notre Dame on the ropes when Rodrigo Blankenship made good on his third field goal attempt of the game to put the Dawgs up 23-10 with 6:54 to go in the game.
But the Irish true to their namesake kept fighting and drove 75-yards down the field in 10 plays where Ian Book found his star senior wideout Chad Claypool in the end zone for six. After the PAT, Georgia’s lead was now only six points, 23-17, with 3:12 to go. The Bulldogs would go three and out on their next possession, and punter Jake Camarda, who had struggled on the night, continued to do so, with a 27-yarder that gave Notre Dame a short field near midfield with 1:51 to go.
Dawg and Irish fan alike were on the edge of their seats, but Notre Dame would only make it to the Georgia 38 as the Bulldog defense prevailed and held to force a turnover on downs.
Final score, Georgia 23 – Notre Dame 17.
The Bulldogs produced 339 yards of total offense with 152 on the ground and 187 through the air.
Jake Fromm completed 20 of 26 pass attempts for 187 yards and a touchdown. Lawrence Cager was Georgia’s leading receiver with 5 catches for 82 yards and he was the recipient of Fromm’s lone TD pass.
D’Andre Swift shouldered the rushing load for the Bulldogs with 18 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown. Brian Herrien also added 8 carries for 43 yards.
Notre Dame nearly matched Georgia in total offense as the Dawgs D gave up 321 yards. Most of the damage came from Ian Book passing the ball. The Fighting Irish quarterback was 29 of 47 for 275 yards and two touchdowns through the air. The Bulldogs remained stout in their run defense, only allowing 46 yards on 14 carries from Irish runners.
Inside linebacker Tae Crowder was the Dawgs leading tackler with 9, including 1 tackle for a loss.
Georgia also had two key interceptions during the game, one by senior safety J.R. Reed and one by defensive back Divaad Wilson.
But the Bulldogs were not able to get Ian Book on the ground after tallying 12 sacks in their first three games.
SPECIAL TEAMS STATS
Rodrigo Blankenship was perfect on the night hitting all three of his field-goal tries as well as booming the kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks; the one exception being a sqibb kick.
While Blankenship was spectacular, Jake Camarda was not so much punting the ball. He had four punts on the night, averaging only 35.3 yards.
Georgia also had a fumbled punt return from the normally sure-handed Tyler Simmons which gave Notre Dame a short field and the first score of the game.
Below is a list of starters for the Bulldogs as well as the player’s participation report for the UGA vs. Notre Dame game.
WR 87 Tyler Simmons
LT 71 Andrew Thomas
LG 66 Solomon Kindley
C 55 Trey Hill
RG 74 Ben Cleveland
RT 77 Cade Mays
TE 89 Charlie Woerner
QB 11 Jake Fromm
TB 7 D’Andre Swift
WR 16 D. Robertson
WR 15 Lawrence Cage
DT 52 Tyler Clark
NOSE 99 Jordan Davis
DE 10 Malik Herring
JACK 13 Azeez Ojulari
MIKE 30 Tae Crowder
WILL 32 Monty Rice
LC 27 Eric Stokes
LS 2 Richard LeCounte
RS 20 J.R. Reed
RC 14 DJ Daniel
STAR 1 Divaad Wilson
Georgia: 1-George Pickens, 1M-Trezmen Marshall, 1D-Nakobe Dean, 1B-Trey Blount, 1J-Jer. Johnson,4S-Nolan Smith, 4-James Cook, 5L-Matt Landers, 6-Otis Reese, 7S-Tyrique Stevenson, 8B-Dominick Blaylock,8-Lewis Cine, 9-Ameer Speed, 17-Eli Wolf, 19-Adam Anderson, 22-Nate McBride, 23-Mark Webb, 24-Prather Hudson,25-Quay Walker, 26-Tyrique McGhee, 29-Christopher Smith, 35-Brian Herrien, 41-Channing Tindall,44-Travon Walker, 47-Payne Walker, 51-David Marshall, 54-Justin Shaffer, 59-Steven Nixon, 69-Jamaree Salyer,79-Isaiah Wilson, 84-Walter Grant, 86-John FitzPatrick, 90-Jake Camarda, 91-Tymon Mitchell, 92-Justin Young,94-Michael Barnett, 95-Devonte Wyatt, 98-Rodrigo Blankenship.
CLICK HERE for the full box score and stats from UGA’s 23-17 win over Notre Dame.