ATHENS, GA - The Georgia Bulldogs took care of business against the Samford Bulldogs on Saturday and won easily by a score of 42-14. Here are the grades from the game:
Jake Fromm displayed a level of confidence that was not there during the first two games of his career. Fromm finished the night 8-13 for 165 yards and three touchdowns. He looked comfortable, like he was at peace with managing the game. Yes, Fromm made a few freshman mistakes, like the fumble that he lost while trying to run for extra yardage instead of just throwing the ball out of bounds. I think a lot of people, myself included, wanted to see offensive coordinator Jim Chaney really let Fromm air the ball out, but there was no need to because of how strong the ground game was. Fromm has shown that he can handle the quarterback duties so far, but the real test is next week when Mississippi State comes to Athens and the Bulldogs start playing the SEC schedule.
Running Backs- A+
Watching Nick Chubb run at an elite level is a true thing of beauty. Chubb rushed for 131 yards on 16 carries and had two touchdowns as well. The senior averaged an incredible 8.2 yards per carry and broke numerous runs over ten yards. Chubb also threw a key block for wideout Terry Godwin. With Sony Michel being sidelined with an injury, freshman D’Andre Swift stepped up to be the lighting to Chubb’s thunder. Swift carried the ball nine times for 58 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown run featured a seamless spin move that left three different Samford defenders looking the other way. Swift and Chubb carried the bulk of the load for the running backs, but Elijah Holyfield, Prather Hudson, and Brian Herrien all did their parts in getting the unit to a whopping 284 combined rushing yards on 54 carries.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends- B
After a great performance against the Fighting Irish last week, Godwin went out and doubled up his stats against Samford. The wiry wideout hauled in four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns, and looks to be the number one target for Fromm. Not only did Godwin catch two touchdowns, but one was for 51 yards with a dive into the endzone. Sophomore Mecole Hardman only had one catch, but that was for the five-yard touchdown. Sophomore Riley Ridley also had one catch for 47 yards. The trio of Javon Wims, Godwin, and Hardman are really starting to step up as a dangerous threesome and should continue to get better throughout the season. There were still a couple dropped passes agon this week.
Offensive Line- B+
The offensive line did not look great early on, but that changed quickly in the first quarter. The middle of Georgia’s offensive line has had problems in the first couple games, but it really got the Samford defensive line moving backward throughout the rest of the game. Not only did the offensive line block for 54 rushing attempts, it also kept Fromm upright and did a good job of giving him a clean pocket to throw from most of the night. Overall, the offensive line looked to be creating more holes for the running backs, and finally getting into a rhythm with each other. The linemen did their job against an inferior defensive front, and looked good doing it.
Defensive Line- A+
23 for 22. Yes, those are the Samford rush attempts and rushing yards respectively. The Georgia defensive line stifled the Samford offensive line all night. UGA nose guard John Atkins recovered a fumble and did a great job of taking up double teams in the middle of the line. Trenton Thompson had three tackles with one tackle for loss, and did a great job of clogging the running lanes, much like Atkins. Those two, along with Julian Rochester and Jonathan Ledbetter, helped keep Samford from moving the football on the ground. A great effort all around for the defensive line and this is the third game in a row that they’ve looked more than capable of stopping a rushing attack.
Lorenzo Carter had two sacks and four tackles and was constantly making plays against Samford. Carter is not the only linebacker for Georgia that is playing like an All-American, though. Junior Roquan Smith led the team with six tackles and had a very impressive fourth-down stop with a one-on-one tackle versus Samford running back Treyvon Paulk. He also had a pass breakup. Another linebacker who had an impressive game was Monty Rice. The true freshman registered five tackles and did a good job filling in for Smith once the second team took over the defensive duties. The linebackers continue to be a bright spot for the Georgia defense as they racked up three sacks and four tackles for loss.
Defensive Backs- C
Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges was 26-35 passing for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Hodges did a good job of finding openings in the Georgia secondary, especially the second team defense. The first-team defensive backs looked decent, but no one really stood out, although Aaron Davis had two pass breakups. There were a few dropped interception opportunities. The second unit needed the time on the field as it is comprised of inexperienced players, but they looked lost late in the fourth quarter. Samford should’ve only scored 7, but Hodges took advantage of Georgia’s youth. The true test for the secondary will come next weekend against Mississippi State, as Nick Fitzgerald might be the best quarterback it will face all season.
Special Teams: A+
The Georgia special teams unit did everything they were asked to do and more against Samford. Graduate transfer punter Cameron Nizialek had two great punts, with one completely flipping the field after going for 57 yards. Samford only returned one punt, losing a yard in the attempt. Rodrigo Blankenship did an excellent job on kickoffs. The new scholarship holder had seven kickoffs, each of which went for a touchback. He also went 6-6 on his extra point attempts. The special teams unit blocked a field goal in the second quarter. Jayson Stanley even had a kick return of 24 yards.
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