Midway through the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Appalachian State, Georgia lost starting quarterback Jacob Eason to a left knee injury.
Enter Jake Fromm to the rescue.
The true freshman from Houston County stepped in and assumed control of the offense right away. He completed two quick passes to change field position before a punt. After that, Fromm led the Bulldogs to three consecutive drives that ended in touchdowns. Georgia would go on to defeat the Mountaineers 31-10.
Fromm entered the game at an interesting time. Georgia had struggled to move the ball, with Eason only completing one pass for four yards. Fromm’s presence suddenly changed the complexion of the game.
Fromm’s highlight of the day came in the second quarter on a first-and-10 at the Appalachian State 34-yard line. Facing a free-blitzer up the middle, Fromm threw a jump ball to receiver Javon Wims, who had two defenders behind him. Wims adjusted on the ball, came down with the pass, pivoted his feet and dove across the end zone line for a touchdown.
While Fromm was able to kick-start an otherwise struggling offense, Georgia’s defense was aggressive from the start. Experience was evident as Appalachian State found little room to run and few opportunities for deep shots.
Three who mattered
Fromm: Fromm subbed in for Eason and completed 10-of-15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Once Georgia jumped up 21-0, the game plan shifted to ball control. Fromm also showed he isn’t afraid of taking risks either, evidenced by the Wims touchdown.
Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel: It feels like these two should be grouped together. Georgia did a good job of rotating both backs, with Chubb rushing for 96 yards and two touchdowns, and Michel running for 87 yards and one touchdown.
Georgia safety J.R. Reed: Following a 32-yard run by Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb, Reed sacked Lamb on the next play and forced a fumble. While the Mountaineers recovered, it turned into a 22-yard loss. Reed finished with five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Oddly enough, it was when Eason was injured and Fromm entered the game. Fromm helped spark the offense to a couple of first downs and then led the Bulldogs on three consecutive touchdown drives. From there, Gerogia was able to roll to a blowout victory.
Fromm’s quick reads: Fromm may not have the natural arm talent Eason possesses. But boy, is he a quick decision-maker. Immediately, that part of his game was evident. Fromm’s first pass came out quick after the snap and was completed to tight end Isaac Nauta. For a true freshman, it was impressive to see Fromm read through his progressions and not lock in on one target.
Disciplined defense: Through the first three quarters, Georgia’s defense did not commit a penalty. The offense had four and the special teams unit had one. The Bulldogs also rarely let plays bounce outside. Appalachian State running back Jalin Moore was bottled up for only 38 yards on 12 carries before the backups came into the game.
Running game gradually opens up: Georgia’s run game looked sluggish midway through the first quarter. Over time, the offensive line began to lean on Appalachian State’s undersized defensive front. Chubb and Michel combined for 183 rushing yards in the first game of their season season.
Ridley, Holyfield sit: Kirby Smart wouldn’t comment on Riley Ridley and Elijah Holyfield’s suspensions for their offseason marijuana-related arrests. Per the student-athlete handbook, Ridley and Holyfield did sit the opener against Appalachian State. They will be expected to be available against Notre Dame next week.
Line dance: Georgia continued its trend of rotating its offensive linemen Saturday. Last season, Georgia had a six-man rotation. To start the 2017 season, it was no different. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn, center Lamont Gaillard and right tackle Andrew Thomas stuck with the first-team the entire time this group was in the game. At the guard spots, Dyshon Sims, Pat Allen and Kendall Baker rotated.
They said it
Smart on Fromm’s performance: “We didn’t have to make a lot of adjusting. Jacob and Jake have similar qualities. Jake’s a good player and we’re excited about what he can do. Jake managed the game well. We’ll keep working to get him better.”
Tight end Isaac Nauta on the offense putting up 31 points: “We did a good job (Saturday). There’s definitely stuff we’ve got to clean up, but overall I’m proud of everybody. They fought hard.”
Defensive tackle Trenton Thompson on the defense’s performance: “We just keep working because we won’t stop. We’ve got to keep staying together because if we don’t, something else could happen.”
Georgia travels to take on Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.