UGA Football

Georgia holds on to win at Notre Dame

Roquan Smith on defense's showing at Notre Dame

Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith spoke about the defense's performance at Notre Dame.
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Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith spoke about the defense's performance at Notre Dame.

Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy put their NFL dreams on hold for one more season.

Their NFL stock will take a big leap forward after Saturday's performance at Notre Dame.

The two outside linebackers were relentless for all four quarters in Georgia's 20-19 victory over Notre Dame. Their biggest play came on Notre Dame's final offensive play. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush dropped back for a pass and was dropped by Bellamy hard.

Carter finished the game with seven tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles. Bellamy had six tackles and a sack in addition to his forced fumble.

Carter's other forced fumble came in the first half.

In quarterback Jake Fromm's first start, the quarterback from Houston County threw for 141 yards, a touchdown and interception. Running back Sony Michel led Georgia on the ground with 73 yards and a touchdown.

Four who mattered

Carter: Carter was an absolute beast against Notre Dame. He lined up at outside linebacker and star throughout the game. He rushed the passer, and he dropped into coverage. Carter put in the best game of his career Saturday night and was all smiles afterward about it.

Bellamy: Like Carter, Bellamy had arguably the best game of his career too. And his sack at the end came against Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey, who is regarded as a potential first-round draft pick.

Georgia safety J.R. Reed: Reed was all over the place and led Georgia in tackles with nine. He nearly had an interception but also had a key stop on a third-down play in the fourth quarter. Reed was also credited with two quarterback hurries.

Notre Dame linebacker Nyles Morgan: Morgan was key for the Fighting Irish by posting seven tackles. Morgan also tallied a sack and a quarterback hurry.

Turning point

Terry Godwin came down with perhaps the greatest catch in Georgia football history. It was Odell Beckham-like. It came with 6:45 to go in the second quarter. Godwin went up in the air and got his fingertips on the football with his right arm. He somehow was able to maintain possession, bring the ball in, get a foot in bounds and hold on after hitting the ground.

The play was initially called incomplete but reversed on review. That play proved pivotal since it came on third-and-goal from the 5. If Godwin doesn't catch the ball, Georgia kicks a field goal and may not win the game.

Observations

Fromm the freshman: As head coach Kirby Smart said after the game, Fromm never lost poise and always remained calm and present in the moment. But there were instances where he showcased, against a better-than-advertised defense, that he's still a young quarterback. The fumble where he didn't fall on the ball was a major mistake. Smart wasn't happy either with Fromm's decision to throw the ball to Isaac Nauta near the end of the second quarter, which was picked off. Fromm did bounce back with a mostly mistake-free second half, which included a long jump ball completion to Javon Wims.

Defense could be really, really good: Georgia's defense was always expected to be a strength. After Saturday's game, there is some wonder as to whether this may be one of the best defenses in the entire country. Georgia held Notre Dame's rushing attack, which produced three 100-yard rushers a week ago, to 55 yards on 37 carries. That was only good for 1.5 yards per carry. The Bulldogs did a good job containing Wimbush in the pocket too and kept him at a 50 percent completion rate.

Georgia fans embarrass Notre Dame: Never should a home team with the prestige of Notre Dame allow 45-50 percent of the fans to be from the opposition. But that's what happened Saturday, with Georgia turning the game into a neutral-site contest. Smart said afterward that there were times Fromm could hear his own cadence. That's unheard of at most venues.

Worth mentioning

Chubb, Michel split carries: Michel and Nick Chubb each carried the ball 13 times. Chubb carried the ball nine times in the first half and then didn't carry the ball once in the third quarter.

More touches for Swift?: After the game, Smart said he has to find ways to get D'Andre Swift more involved. He finished with two carries for 42 yards. His 2-yard gain was also a long run but called back due to holding.

Penalty fest: Georgia and Notre Dame were both sloppy in the penalty department. Georgia finished with 12 penalties for 167 yards. Notre Dame ended the game with eight penalties for 63 yards.

They said it

Smart on so many Georgia fans making the trip: “This atmosphere (Saturday) was incredible. When you think about our players and our fan base, this will be a game they talk about for a long time. A special trip. For our players to end it the right way and for our fans to come out, I want to say thanks to the fans because they were really behind us and backed us.”

Carter on containing Wimbush: “We knew we had to limit the plays he made because he’s an explosive player. We came out with a plan and I think we executed pretty well.”

Wimbush on losing a one-point game to Georgia: “It's not the same mood as it was last week, that's for sure. It's a loss, and we don't play this game to lose. We don't do what we do for nine months to lose a game. Yeah, there wasn't much going on. There wasn't much excitement.”

What’s next?

Georgia hosts Samford at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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