Georgia head coach Kirby Smart wouldn’t directly comment on the matter that Notre Dame players purposely faked injuries to disrupt drives in Saturday night’s game.
But Smart did say that he believes that it does happen in college football.
“Number one, my opinion does not matter, whether I think they did or they didn’t,” Smart said. “It has no bearing whatsoever, so I don’t think I even need to answer that question, but whether it goes on in college football or not, sure, I think it goes on.”
On Sunday, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly defended his players against the accusations.
“Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was evaluated for a concussion,” Kelly said. “He was brought to the tent. So, that’s hard to be booing at a young man who suffered an evaluation for a concussion. Quite honestly, Georgia doesn’t play very fast, so I found that to be quite interesting there would be a number of questions on something like that.“
“Then the other one was Asmar Bilal cramping. Again, it’s a non-issue. It happens in college football all of the time. Guys go down and they’ve got to be administered to. I’ve seen games against us where there have been many, many more, so I’m not even sure why you’re asking the question.”
During the live CBS broadcast, the announcers reviewed Owusu’s injury when he went down in the third quarter as Georgia was driving down the field. He seemed to be struggling to keep his balance while looking towards the Notre Dame sideline, and then Fighting Irish safety Alohi Gilman came and pushed him to the ground.
As the Notre Dame medical staff came running onto the field, Georgia fans began booing because the offense had was productively moving into the Notre Dame red zone. A few plays later, the Fighting Irish defense forced the Bulldogs to kick a field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship.
Owusu appeared to be fine as he returned back a few drives later. Georgia fans were not happy because it looked like the Fighting Irish were blatantly trying to stop the Bulldogs’ momentum. After that Blankenship field goal, Georgia took a 13-10 lead.
CBS analyst Gary Danielson mentioned during the broadcast he felt like Notre Dame had faked the injury.
“If the officials see it, they need to call it, but it’s tough to see,” Danielson said. “There’s no doubt on the first one, they got away with one. There’s no doubt Notre Dame is using that as a tactic, once.”
Another instance was when Bilial walked past Fromm with barely any contact and just flopped to the ground. Bilal tried to sell that Fromm elbowed him in the face mask.
Danielson had no comment on that one, but he did laugh.
“Yeah, Fromm’s got sharp elbows,” Danielson said.
After the game, Fromm was asked about the incidents, but he avoided the topic.
“Yeah, no comment on that,” Fromm said. “I don’t really know what was going on. I just now we were trying to play football, trying to play fast, and they weren’t letting us.”
Regardless, it seems like the fake injury accusations were the least of Smart’s worries.
“Right now I am not focused on that,” said Smart. “We are going to work on things we can get better at. Blocking, tackling, the ability to not give up explosive plays. There are a lot of things, but that is what practice is for. Time to get better and progress.”
The Georgia Bulldogs will spend the rest of the bye week working on improving weaknesses, and then start preparing for the Tennessee Volunteers.