UGA Football

Five at the half: Notes and thoughts at halftime of UGA's game with App State

Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason (10) and the Bulldogs open their season Saturday against Appalachian State.
Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason (10) and the Bulldogs open their season Saturday against Appalachian State. jvorhees@macon.com

Here are five notes at the half of Georgia's game against Appalachian State

Eason out, Fromm in

It didn't look good. Non-contact knee injuries never do. Here's to hoping for the best prognosis to Jacob Eason, who turned his leg awkwardly after taking a late hit out of bounds in the first half. But Eason appeared to be in a great deal of pain and was forced to exit the game.

In came Jake Fromm, the Houston County native who nearly broke Deshaun Watson's high school passing record. And Fromm didn't disappoint. In fact, Georgia's offense was sputtering to start the game. After Fromm came into the game, Georgia's offense began to run smoother.

Fromm picked up a couple of first downs before Georgia was forced to punt. Then Fromm led the Bulldogs down for a touchdown, capped by Nick Chubb. He then threw a jump ball to Javon Wims for a score on the ensuing offensive possession. Fromm then got Georgia back in scoring position again, which ended with Sony Michel rushing for a touchdown.

Fromm looked good subbing in for Eason. He finished the half 8-of-12 passing 109 yards and a touchdown.

Shuffling offensive line

Georgia went with a six-man rotation on the offensive line to star the first half.

Dyshon Sims earned the start at right guard, with Pat Allen earning the start at left guard. During the first half, however, Georgia moved Sims to right guard and plugged Kendall Baker in at left guard.

Solomon Kindley, however, did not play in the first half at guard. It appears to be a demotion for Kindley, who was playing on the field goal protection unit.

Defensive line steps up

Appalachian State did bust some plays -- namely a couple of Taylor Lamb keepers. But for the most part, the Mountaineers were unable to get its running game going, which is the staple of their offense.

After Lamb confused Georgia up front for a 32-yard gain, safety J.R. Reed came through to record his first-ever sack at Georgia. That was combined with a forced fumble, which resulted in a 22-yard loss.

The defensive line was disruptive and kept Jalin Moore to 10 rushing yards on his first eight carries in the first half. He added a 22-yard run on a surprise draw to close the first half.

Running lanes finally began to open up

In the first quarter, it looked like it was going to be a repeat of last year. Georgia's running backs were unable to find rush lanes and kept getting hit at the line of scrimmage.

Slowly but surely, the holes opened up and Georgia's backs took advantage.

Michel reeled off a 44-yard gain up the middle, which was a sight for sore eyes after last season. Chubb had a nice run off of right tackle that went for 23 yards.

It is still concerning, however, that Georgia was not able to get consistent movement early against an undersized Appalachian State defensive front. Yes, the Mountaineers are quick. But given Georgia's issues with running the ball in 2016, Georgia was hoping for a better showing in the first half.

Special teams improvements

Place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship had no issues getting the ball into the end zone Saturday.

A year ago, that was an issue early in the season. But on each of Georgia's kickoffs against Appalachian State, Blankenship was able to boom his kickoffs into the end zone.

In addition, Cameron Nizialek had a 53-yard punt that had plenty of hang time and required a fair catch. That isn't something Georgia has seen in quite some time.

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