Georgia fans, you can now take a sigh of relief, (well sort of) because with their 24-17 win over the Florida Gators, they still control their own destiny for a chance to participate in the College Football Playoff.
As the Bulldogs arrived into Jacksonville, many were concerned about the play of the Bulldogs offense, specifically quarterback Jake Fromm. Coming into this game, Fromm was 37-63, one touchdown and three interceptions in the Bulldogs previous two games against South Carolina and Kentucky.
It was the Kentucky game in which a lot of Bulldogs fans boo’ed the offense and questioned Fromm’s leadership.
Saturday, Fromm proved to everybody that he can still lead this team finishing 20-30, 279 yards and two touchdowns.
Overall, this is a huge victory for the Bulldogs and this game showed what is possibly ahead for them.
Jake Fromm looked like his old self
A lot of people deserve credit for Saturday’s win but Fromm is the guy deserving of the most credit. As mentioned earlier, he has been struggling in the past two games and knew he would have to be better to beat this Gator team. Whether it was avoiding a sack by breaking outside the pocket or making the necessary checkdowns as he is always known for, Fromm came through in much needed moments. One particular moment is in the fourth quarter. It is third and seven with 2:53 to go in the game. If the Bulldogs do not convert, the Gators get an opportunity to tie the game and send it into overtime. As the Gators send pressure, Fromm is forced to throw flat footed and completes a 22 yard pass to tight end Eli Wolf to seal the Bulldogs victory. This is important because a lot of times when Fromm is under pressure in critical moments, he is unable to make the plays necessary.
Another important stat that is important to mention is third down conversions. The Bulldogs were 12-18 on third down or as most Georgia fans would say, “Third and Grantham,” (being that Todd Grantham’s defense has struggled against the Bulldogs on third down in the last two meetings).
If the Bulldogs plan on winning the SEC, Fromm needs to be the best version of himself!
The offensive line is doing what they do best: protect and run block
Along with Fromm getting a lot of criticism last game, the Bulldogs offensive line was also apart of that. This game, they showed why they are one of the best offensive lines in the country. The Bulldogs outgained the Gators 119-21 on the ground and passed more compared to the Gators 279-257. Along with this, they allowed zero sacks and held a highly tout Gator defense in check. Gators stars such as Jonathan Green and Jabari Zuniga were two defensive linemen who were unable to get to Fromm. It is no secret that the Bulldogs are at their best when they can control the line of scrimmage by running the ball and open up opportunities for Fromm. Particularly in this game, the team that rushes for more yards in recent history wins the game. This proved to be the case Saturday. The offensive line deserves a lot of credit and this should give them a boost heading into the last few games against SEC opponents.
The defense is one, if not the best, in the country
Since the Notre Dame game, I knew this Bulldogs defense would be one of the best in the country and it’s legit. In Saturday’s contest, they held the Gators to 21 rushing rushing and three points before the fourth quarter. Although the Gators scored 14 in the fourth quarter, the defense held back a bit to force the Gators offense to move downfield while also killing a lot of clock. They did not allow any deep, homerun passes for touchdowns and made the Gators earn everything.
Along with earning everything, the Gators were 2-of-9 on third down and their average yardage to gain was 10.9. This exposed the Gators offense inability to move the chains and somewhat the inability of their QB1 Kyle Trask to move outside of the pocket.
Among many defensive players making plays were junior linebacker Monty Rice who lead the Bulldogs in tackles with nine and continues to lead the team in tackles overall.
Coming into the game, one shortcoming of Georgia’s defense was their pass rush. Saturday afternoon, Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari came up with a huge sack while defensive lineman Malik Herring and Jordan Davis were both credited with another sack. Great play from the defense forced Mullen and Trask to get rid of the football quickly to avoid any trouble.
Overall, the Bulldogs did it again and forced another team to be one dimensional. Pass rushing can still be improved but this is the beginning of what can possibly become of the Bulldogs defense.
Lawrence Cager is the Bulldogs best wide receiver
This should not be a shock to anybody but Cager had one of his best, if not his best game yesterday. Cager showed why he is Fromm’s favorite target as he finished with seven catches for 132 yards and one touchdown. All game long, he seemed to be a problem for the Gators defense but proved to be one of the Bulldogs best playmakers. It was a great sighting for Bulldogs fans as they were optimistic about the young and talented wide receivers playmaking. His presence and play will help the other receivers make huge plays and be a huge part of the offense.
I was unsure if the Bulldogs could get it done against the Gators but yesterday showed me that this game and performance was long overdue. The team took a lot of criticism (deservingly so), for their performances in the past few weeks. The Bulldogs control their own destiny and cannot look ahead as they host the Missouri Tigers Saturday at home. This win should spark the Bulldogs offense and help them win the SEC East and compete for an SEC title. Ultimately, if everything comes together as expected, the Bulldogs could be playing in their second College Football Playoff game in school history.