UGA Football

Fantastic Fromm: Passing attack leads Georgia past Missouri

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) throws from the pocket against Missouri.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) throws from the pocket against Missouri. AP

Through six games, Jake Fromm wasn’t needed to air it out.

His number was called to do so Saturday night.

Fromm had a career night by throwing for 326 yards and two touchdowns in a 53-28 win over Missouri. Early on, the Missouri defense keyed in on Georgia’s run game, which entered the day 11th in the nation in yards per game. With the Tigers taking that aspect of Georgia’s game-plan away early, Fromm got after it with the pass.

Fromm ended the first quarter with 142 yards, which was more than he posted in three of his previous games. Fromm had 250 yards at the half. With Georgia able to run the ball a little more in the second half, Fromm added 76 yards over the final two quarters. Fromm’s first touchdown came from 19 yards out and on a back-shoulder throw that Riley Ridley made a good play on.

Georgia freshman running back D’Andre Swift led the team in rushing with 94 yards on six carries.

Four who mattered

Fromm: Fromm finally had a game where he was needed to throw the ball around a lot. He passed that test with flying colors. In total, Fromm’s 326 passing yards came on 18-of-26 throwing. He threw two passes to one pick, which was a good play from Missouri linebacker Cale Garrett. Fromm converted many third downs and was able to move the offense without any issue.

Georgia running back Sony Michel: Michel was the tone setter for Georgia with some long runs. He reeled off a 36-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter and came back with a 16-yard score in the third quarter. Michel finished with nine carries for 86 yards.

Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman: Hardman had his best game with three touches for two touchdowns. After scoring a 35-yard rushing touchdown on an end-around in the first quarter, Hardman caught a pass on the left sideline, weaved through the Missouri defense and scored a 59-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Hardman had two catches for 71 yards and totaled 106 yards of offense.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock: Lock certainly kept things interesting in the first half with his passing ability. Lock hit receiver Emanuel Hall in stride on two separate 63-yard touchdown plays. Lock added another touchdown on a shovel pass and later hit tight end Jason Reese over the middle for a 27-yard score in the fourth quarter. Lock’s day ended 15-of-25 passing for 253 yards and four scores.

Turning point

The game didn’t feel in hand until Michel’s 16-yard score in the third quarter. From there, Georgia could begin feeling pretty good about itself in a game that wasn’t the laugher many expected.

Observations

Much tougher than expected: While Georgia won by 25 points and put up 696 total yards, the Bulldogs never could pull away completely from the Tigers. Missouri had the game tied up at 21 apiece in the second quarter and began giving Georgia a scare. But in the end, Georgia’s offense was too much for a Missouri defense that will be the worst the Bulldogs face all season long. But head coach Kirby Smart was right all week about the Missouri offense. With the Tigers only committing one turnover, it was able to put up 312 total yards and 28 points, both of which are season worsts for Georgia’s defense.

Balancing act: Georgia achieved the kind of balance it wanted in a major way. With Missouri keying on the run early, Georgia opened up the offense and asked Fromm to throw the ball all over the field. As that worked, the run game began to chip away at the Tigers’ defense. Georgia totaled 370 rushing yards and 326 passing yards against Missouri, which is something the Bulldogs will gladly take every time out.

Wake-up call: As mentioned, this was not a great day for Georgia’s defense. The Tigers racked up 312 total yards, the most any team has recorded on the Bulldogs all season. Missouri’s 28 points easily matched a season-worst for Georgia as no team had put up 20 previously. This is the type of game that head coach Kirby Smart will likely stew over for the two weeks leading up to the Florida game.

Worth mentioning

Blankenship perfect: Georgia place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship made all four of the field goals he attempted, with his longest coming from 43 yards out. Blankenship has only missed one field goal this season and that came against Notre Dame.

Injury bug: Georgia lost receiver Terry Godwin to an injury his left ribs in the first half. Godwin was unable to return. Before the game it was revealed defensive linemen David Marshall and DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle, along with receiver Jayson Stanley, would not be able to play. As expected, defensive lineman Trenton Thompson (sprained MCL) and inside linebacker Reggie Carter (undisclosed) were unavailable.

They said it

Smart on his team’s performance: “The offense really saved us. They did a tremendous job converting third downs, making plays and answering the bell. We had two deflating plays defensively and the offense had the backs of the defense.”

Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith on Missouri’s offense: “They’re averaging like 400, 500 yards a game. We knew they had a great offense but we have a great defense too. We felt like it was going to be a stalemate but they made a few plays on us and we just have to get better.”

Missouri linebacker Terez Hall on his defense failing to stop Georgia much: “We couldn’t get off the field, that was the main thing. That was basically it, you had to stick to the scheme, do your job, you can’t do extra. If you do extra you’re going to get beat on big plays and that’s what happened.”

What’s next?

Georgia has a bye next week and will then face Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 28.

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