mcloudyn.png
Wednesday June 19th, 2019 1:36AM

Georgia offense bracing for biggest test from Crimson Tide

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATHENS (AP) — Georgia's offense is peaking just in time for its ultimate stress test against Alabama.

The No. 4 Bulldogs (11-1, No. 4 CFP) scored a combined 111 points in their final two regular-season wins over UMass and Georgia Tech. Georgia stacked an impressive string of eight consecutive quarters without a punt over its final three games.

The challenge for Jake Fromm and the Bulldogs is to keep piling on the points against a stout Alabama defense and keep pace with the powerful Crimson Tide. A high-scoring game may be Georgia's best path to an upset win and repeat Southeastern Conference championship on Saturday.

Fromm has thrown 24 touchdown passes, including a combined 14 to Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman. Freshman Justin Fields, best known for his running skills, has thrown four touchdown passes.

"I think it's going to be the best challenge we've had, honestly," said Alabama safety Xavier McKinney.
As usual, No. 1 Alabama (12-0, No. 1 CFP) has relied on strong defense. It is a rematch of last season's national championship game, a 26-23 overtime win for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama boasts its customary top-six national rankings in scoring defense and total defense. The defense has been overshadowed by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's big year, capped by his five touchdown passes in last week's 52-21 win over Auburn.

Fromm said he sees some of the same players back from the Alabama defense he faced at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in last season's national championship game. Since Georgia coach Kirby Smart is the former longtime Alabama defensive coordinator, Fromm said the Crimson Tide's defense also reminds him of the Georgia unit he faces in practice.

"Yeah, they definitely have some returning players," Fromm said. "And they have some really good players. But schematically they're doing a lot of similar stuff they last year, very similar to our defense. And I think it's just kind of very similar to what we see every single day in practice, so hopefully, we can be very successful with that."

One year ago, Fromm was completing his freshman season while relying heavily on senior tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb and Michel became the first Georgia tandem to reach 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.

Incredibly, two different Georgia backs are within reach of 1,000 yards one year later. D'Andre Swift has topped 100 yards in four of the last five games to lead the Bulldogs with 962 yards rushing. Elijah Holyfield has 896 yards.

The success of the running game remains the foundation of Georgia's offensive success. Smart said he expected more big numbers on the ground even after losing Chubb and Michel to the NFL.

"Oh yeah. I knew we had a good offensive line coming back," Smart said after Tuesday's practice. "... I knew we were talented on the offensive line and we had good backs. I knew we'd have the opportunity. Whether it would be two 1,000-yard rushers, we're not there yet but we're trying to get there. We probably could have had that. Some of the games we've had, we've taken those kids out and some of those kids haven't played much in games."

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Swift and Holyfield kept enjoying success even while injuries forced constant changes on the offensive line.

"A lot of guys went down," Holyfield said. "But we were very deep at the offensive line. It's one of our strongest positions on the team. So all the other guys who stepped up this year came in and did a really good job ... almost as if the 1 line's been in there the whole time."

Asked how he thinks the line will handle the challenge from Alabama's defensive front, Holyfield said, "I think we'll be fine."

Fromm, both accurate and efficient, has been more than a game manager in his second season. He threw for four touchdowns in the 45-21 win over Georgia Tech despite attempting only 16 passes. He has completed 69.1 percent of his passes, a school-record pace that ranks eighth in the nation.

"They've got a great group of receivers, a lot of guys who are athletic, very talented, speedy," McKinney said. "And then a great quarterback who makes good reads and good throws, accurate throws."
 

 

  • Associated Categories: Sports, College Sports
  • Associated Tags: UGA, Georgia, Bulldogs, SEC, College Football
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Former GHS standout Thacker hired as new Georgia Tech DC
Former Gainesville High standout Andrew Thacker was named the new defensive coordinator by new new Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins Monday...
9:28PM ( 3 months ago )
Pacers beat Hawks for 5th consecutive victory
Myles Turner scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in less than 24 minutes Monday, helping to lead the Indiana Pacers past Atlanta 116-108 before breaking his nose midway through the third quarter...
9:17PM ( 3 months ago )
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn with Brandon Reed and Pete McCole (12-31-18)
As we get ready to throw the checkered flag on the holiday season - and on 2018 - the Around The Track crew has worked to bring a little taste of Georgia Racing History...
8:00PM ( 3 months ago )
Sports
Peach Bowl: Gators rout Michigan 41-15 to cap comeback year
Lamical Perine's 2 TDs help No. 10 Florida crush No. 8 Michigan 41-15 in Peach Bowl
5:55PM ( 3 months ago )
Minnesota runs past Georgia Tech 34-10 in Quick Lane Bowl
Mohamed Ibrahim took full advantage of holes his teammates created to burst through the line or get to the outside.
10:26PM ( 3 months ago )
Ga Tech aims to send Johnson out as winner against Minnesota
Paul Johnson simply wants some time off. First things first, though: The 61-year-old coach will lead Georgia Tech for the final time Wednesday against Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl...
11:30AM ( 3 months ago )
College Sports
Molinari builds 2-shot lead over Woods, Finau in Masters
Francesco Molinari blocked out the buzz from Tiger Woods charging up the leaderboard Saturday at the Masters and produced solid golf that looks spectacular only on the scorecard...
By The Associated Press
8:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
Falcons agree to 1-year deal with former Saints DT Davison
The Atlanta Falcons continued to bolster their defensive line by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with tackle Tyeler Davison...
By The Associated Press
8:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
No. 2 Georgia avoids sweep with shutout win
Second-ranked Georgia defeated Tennessee 7-1 Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium to claim the final game of the SEC series...
By Georgia Sports Communications
8:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Masters Latest: Rain forecast forces early start Sunday
Masters Latest: Masters goes to early start Sunday to try to finish ahead of storms
5:13PM ( 4 hours ago )
Masters Latest: Finau going low, takes 2-shot Masters lead
Masters Latest: Finau going low, takes 2-shot Masters lead
4:52PM ( 5 hours ago )