Kevin Butler, former Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2019 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. And this season Butler has added a new category to his superlative awards, “The Kicker” (Unsung Contributor to the Game). Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 23-17 win over Notre Dame Saturday.
Compiled by Murray Poole
Junior quarterback Jake Fromm, who led the Bulldogs from a 10-7 halftime deficit by completing 20-of-26 passing attempts for 187 yards including a 15-yard touchdown strike to Lawrence Cager … with no interceptions.
“Anytime the game gets bigger one person on every team needs to rise to the occasion and that person for Georgia was Jake Fromm,” said Butler. “Jake first got started much like Rodrigo, in South Bend two years ago and the Jake & Rodrigo Show is still playing! One great attribute that Jake brings to the quarterback position is, well, he’s just cool! Against a tough and stout Notre Dame defense, Jake took what Notre Dame gave us and stayed cool, completing 20-of-26 for 187 yards and one TD. Jake took shots down the field when needed and delivered play after play to keep Georgia ahead late in the game against a resilient Irish team. We take Jake for granted because he does not have the flash of other quarterbacks but, in my opinion, he could be one of the best, if not our best, quarterback in the history of Georgia. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this team led by Jake on offense as we develop young talent on a daily basis.”
Senior inside linebacker Tae Crowder, who recorded nine tackles to lead a Georgia defensive unit that shut down the Notre Dame running game to the tune of 46 net yards.
“Tae played a fantastic game against Notre Dame Saturday night and found the pot of gold at the end of the game!” said Butler. “His dominating play led the defense too, limiting Notre Dame to 46 yards on 14 attempts and creating a one-dimensional offense for the Irish. And that was their attack plan for the night. Crowder led the defense in tackles with four solo and five assists for a total of nine total tackles and one for a 2-yard loss. It was a war and the Georgia defense came through in the end, stopping the Irish in the fourth quarter to secure a Bulldog win. Crowder exemplifies the ‘Junkyard Dog’ attitude that really looks good on Dooley Field at Stanford Stadium.”
Senior place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who was perfect on field goal attempts of 40, 31 and 43 yards that proved the difference in the Bulldogs’ 6-point win over the Fighting Irish.
“I’m starting to believe Rodrigo does not like leprechauns,” said Butler. “Two years ago was a coming-out party for Rodrigo at South Bend and that dominance continued as Notre Dame paid their first visit to Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. And Rodrigo’s foot might have caused the Fighting Irish to be on the outside of the college playoff picture looking in. The senior kicker continues to be perfect in 2019. Three field goals of 40, 31 and 43 yards provided the margin for victory over a hard-fought game against Notre Dame. With the accuracy Rodrigo is experiencing right now, Georgia is a threat to come away with points every time they cross midfield. Rodrigo‘s determination and work ethic certainly play a part in Georgia’s success and he will be a factor in more games to come this season. Who is that at Rodrigo’s door? … Lou Groza?”
The Georgia fans, who took the stadium to a noise level not seen before and made a difference in the outcome of the game … causing the Notre Dame offense to have six false starts and forcing them to call at least three timeouts because they couldn’t hear QB Ian Book calling the signals.
“At 4 and 0 the Dogs have enjoyed a home-field advantage for the first four games and, most incredibly, the first game was a road game at Vandy,” said Butler. “As Georgia sets out on a tough SEC schedule one of their biggest challenges will be not having the crowd at their back. Celebrating 150 years of college football and having Notre Dame in your backyard created an electrical atmosphere that is unmatched in college football. Red lights, blackout, national television, and a historical opponent created a platform for the Bulldogs to be successful. Georgia fans have delivered the first four games and now the challenge will be to bring back victories without that home-field advantage. We are Georgia! We are the greatest fans! Go Dawgs!”