After a much-easier-than-expected 55-0 whitewash of the Arkansas State Red Wolves Saturday at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium, Georgia is gearing up for the mammoth early-season showdown with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
When the Bulldogs and Irish square off between the hedges Saturday night at 8 in the CBS nationally-televised game, it will be only the third meeting in the history of the two college powers. And Georgia will be seeking to run its record to 3-0 against the Irish after defeating Notre Dame 17-10 in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, to win the national championship, and then by 20-19 in South Bend, Ind. in 2017.
The Bulldogs certainly tuned up for the Fighting Irish with their convincing domination of Arkansas State this past Saturday, as can be seen by this week’s Stats That Matter.
PLAYS OF 20 PLUS YARDS, OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
For the Bulldogs, there was a 32-yard pass from Jake Fromm to George Pickens, a 60-yard Fromm-to-Dominick Blaylock touchdown hookup, a 39-yard jaunt by D’Andre Swift, Fromm’s short pass to Swift, which the Bulldog tailback took 48 yards for a touchdown, James Cook’s 37-yard touchdown run, a Stetson Bennett 28-yard pass to Blaylock and, the capper, a 62-yard scoring run by freshman tailback Kenny McIntosh. The Red Wolves’ lone 20-plus yards play came late in the game when Jonathan Adams pulled in a 45-yard pass from backup QB Layne Hatcher.
A first-down pass by Fromm was called back due to receiver Matt Landers’ holding and cornerback Eric Stokes was tagged for pass interference. Then down the stretch freshman tackle Xavier Truss was whistled for a holding infraction with also freshman Tyrique Stevenson drawing a pass interference call.
SPECIAL TEAMS WINS VS. MISCUES
Rodrigo Blankenship had early field goals of 29 and 41 yards, connected on seven extra-point kicks and also booted seven kickoffs into the end zone. With all those touchbacks and Jake Camarda punting only three times for a 48.7 average, including a 61-yard boot, the Bulldogs’ coverage teams could have almost taken the afternoon off.
The Georgia defense may have whiffed on a couple of tackles but who could find them … when the Bulldogs hold a potentially-explosive Red Wolves attack to ZERO points, 43 yards rushing and 177 passing, with 45 of that coming on that late-game completion.
A clean slate here for Georgia as the Bulldogs had no fumbles and Fromm and Bennett didn’t throw any picks. The Red Wolves also didn’t cough up the ball but did throw one late interception that made by UGA freshman DB Lewis Cine.
RED ZONE (OFFENSE, DEFENSE)
For a second consecutive game, the Bulldogs were perfect in the red zone, scoring four times in four trips with three of those excursions producing touchdowns. The Wolves drove inside the Georgia 20 only once and, of course, couldn’t get any points.
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Not a factor in a game like this but the Bulldogs were 4-of-10 converting third-down chances while ASU was just 5-of-17. Georgia did convert its only fourth-down try into a first down.
RUN, PASS ATTEMPTS (TOTAL PLAYS)
The Bulldogs ran the ball 33 times for 268 yards and also threw it 33 times, completing 26 for 388 yards, with Fromm throwing for 279 yards and Bennett for 109. That’s 66 total plays for 656 yards. Rushing for just 43 net yards and passing for the 177, the Red Wolves had 68 total plays for 220 yards.