ATLANTA – It was an extra special day for the Bulldog Nation. There early in the fourth quarter this past Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium, there was Georgia having blown out the state rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets by 38-7 and the Bulldogs were continuing to pound the ball against Tech’s tiring defense.
And there simply wasn’t anything the Jackets could do as even the Georgia reserves, with Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien at tailback and Jacob Eason at quarterback kept knocking out first downs and eating up the final minutes of the clock.
The huge visiting crowd in red that squeezed into all sections of this old stadium delighted in the fact that the Bulldogs, while greatly avenging last season’s 28-27 to Tech in Athens, beat the Jackets at their own game; namely, running the football while watching the Georgia defense limit the Jackets’ triple-option attack to one lone touchdown … and that one coming when the Bulldogs busted an assignment in the secondary late in the first half.
So with these Bulldogs having polished off the regular season with a splendid 11-1 worksheet, Georgia’s players, coaching staff and Bulldog Nation now all look to the Dawgs’ first trip to the SEC Championship Game in five seasons. And yes, it’s the West Division champion Auburn Tigers that await the Dawgs Saturday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Needless to say, revenge would be sweet indeed if Kirby Smart’s team can take down a team it lost to by 40-17 back on Nov. 11.
One more look at the Stats That Matter and how Georgia recaptured the Governor’s Cup on the GT flats.
PLAYS OF 20 PLUS YARDS, OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
In the first half, the Bulldogs had two of these, a 21-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm to Javon Wims for Georgia’s second score and a 23-yard connection by the same two that led to a 37-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship on the final play of the half, which put the Bulldogs up 17-7. The Jackets also had two 20-plus yard gainers in the opening half, a TaQuon Marshall 28-yard strike to Ricky Jeune and a 33-yard run on the option pitch right by Nathan Cottrell. In a second half won 21-0 by the Bulldogs, Georgia really dialed up some explosion plays … a 39-yard pass from Fromm to Mecole Hardman that set up Sony Michel’s 4-yard scoring run, a 31-yard dash by freshman D’Andre Swift and a 78-yard Fromm-to-Ahkil Crumpton that accounted for Georgia’s last touchdown. Marshall’s 24-yard run was the only big gainer for Tech in the second half.
(TURNOVERS, PENALTIES, CLOCK MANAGEMENT MISCUES, ETC)
Almost a flawless game for the Bulldogs in these areas as Georgia didn’t fumble the ball away and Fromm didn’t throw any picks either while passing for 224 yards and two touchdowns. And after the many penalties in their last two outings, the Bulldogs committed just two infractions for 25 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS WINS VS. MISCUES
All good in this area also as Cameron Nizialek averaged 44.5 yards on two punts with one going inside the Tech 20. Georgia’s kick coverage was again top-notch and Hardman totaled 69 yards on three punt returns and one kickoff return. Rodrigo Blankenship converted his only field goal try, a 37-yarder on the final play of the first half that lifted the Bulldogs up by 17-7.
When you hold a Jacket offense that was averaging 319 yards a game on the ground to just 188 yards, it reflects on the swarming to the ball the Bulldog defense was doing all afternoon. Enough said!
As mentioned, the Bulldogs didn’t turn the ball over a single time and Tech’s lone turnover came early in the fourth quarter when Deandre Baker picked off Marshall in the UGA end zone and returned the ball out to the 15.
RED ZONE (OFFENSE/DEFENSE)
The Bulldogs capped their near-perfect season in the red zone by scoring all four times inside the Tech 20. Tech got inside the UGA 20 just once and notched their 10-yard scoring pass from Marshall to Jeune.
The Bulldogs went a sparkling 6-of-9 on third down conversions while the Jackets went 8-of-15.
RUN/PASS ATTEMPTS (TOTAL PLAYS)
Perfect offensive balance for Georgia as it ran 43 times for 247 yards and Fromm completed 12 of 17 passes for the 224 yards. That’s a total of 60 plays for 471 yards. With the 188 rushing yards and just 38 passing, the Jackets had just the 226 total on 55 plays.
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