New contract approved for UGA’s Kirby Smart

The University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors Executive Committee Thursday approved a contract extension and new compensation package for head football coach Kirby Smart.

Terms of the new contract include seven years and a compensation package worth $49 million.

“Kirby has provided an incredible level of energy and excitement to our football program, and we look forward to his leadership for many years to come,” said J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. 

         “I’d like to first thank President Morehead and Greg McGarity for allowing me to lead this program,” said Smart.  “I’m humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me and won’t ever take that for granted. I’d also like to thank our staff and our entire football family. Without their hard work and dedication we wouldn’t have been able to have the kind of success we’ve had in such a short period of time.

“As a young boy, I grew up in this great state dreaming of being a Bulldog,” he continued. “To have been able to do that—first as a player, and now as the head football coach—is beyond anything I ever dreamed.  I do not take lightly the awesome responsibility of leading this program, and while I’m pleased with where we are as a program, I couldn’t be more excited about where we’re going in the future.  You can rest assured that we will continue to work tirelessly to make Georgia football the best it can possibly be.

“Last, but not least, I want to express my gratitude and love for all  our fans and thank them and the wonderful people of the State of Georgia for their tremendous support.”

Smart led the Bulldogs to a 13-2 record this past season along with an SEC championship, Rose Bowl title, and appearance in Georgia’s first College Football Playoff national championship game.

“In just two short years, Coach Smart has established a new level of excellence in UGA’s storied football program,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “I look forward to his continued success and his strong support of this great university.”

Six Bulldogs Selected in 2018 NFL Draft

DALLAS – Capping the 2018 NFL Draft, Javon Wims heard his names called on the last day to bring a total of six Georgia Bulldogs drafted in the annual player draft.

The Chicago Bears with the 224th overall pick and sixth pick of the 7th round selected Wims, a senior wide receiver. Wims joins teammate Roquan Smith in the Windy City as the Bears took the junior linebacker with the eighth overall pick of the draft.

A native of Miami, Fla., Wims becomes the 20th Bulldog selected by the Chicago Bears since taking Jim Fordham first in 1944. Wims marks the first Bulldog receiver to get drafted by the NFC North team.

Wims spent the last two seasons of his collegiate career with the Bulldogs after transferring from Hinds Community College (Miss.).  Last season, he posted team bests of 45 catches for 720 yards (16.0 yards/catch) and seven touchdowns while starting 14 of 15 games.  The 6-foot-4 wide out often was quarterback Jake Fromm’s end zone target as four of his touchdowns were at the goal line. In addition, 16 of his 45 receptions went for over 20 years.

With three new starters on the offensive line protecting Fromm, Wims led Georgia with six catches for 73 yards and a score in the double-overtime victory over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game.

Wims was also a pivotal blocker for the Bulldogs as they finished with the nation’s fourth best and SEC’s top Red Zone Offense (96 percent) and the country’s ninth-ranked Rushing Offense (258.4 yards/game).  In 2016, Wims joined Georgia and finished with 17 receptions for 190 yards and had a touchdown in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

On Thursday, Georgia made program history with three first round picks, and Friday’s two picks tied a school record for the most in the first three rounds. Georgia’s steak of having one player drafted each year extended to 26 years and a total of 321 Georgia players have been taken all-time in the NFL Draft.

On Thursday, Smith was selected by the Chicago Bears with the eighth overall pick, senior offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn was picked by the New England Patriots with the 23rd overall pick and senior running back Sony Michel was also selected by the Patriots with the 31st overall pick.

Friday saw senior running back Nick Chubb selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 35th overall pick and third pick of the second round.  In the third round, the New York Giants selected senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter with the 66th overall pick (second pick of the round).

Notes from G-Day: Quarterbacks struggle while secondary shines

ATHENS, Ga. —  On Saturday, the Georgia football team wrapped up its spring season with the annual G-Day spring game. In this year’s edition of the intrasquad scrimmage, the Black team — manned primarily by members of the Bulldogs’ first team defense — defeated the Jake Fromm-led Red team 21-13.

Here are some notes and highlights from the game:

Quarterback battle disappoints:

The G-Day duel between quarterbacks Fromm and freshman Justin Fields was one of the most highly anticipated events of the entire spring. But in a day that was largely dominated by defense, neither of the young signal callers did much to dazzle the more than 80,000 fans that packed Sanford Stadium. There were highs, such as Fields’ 15-yard dime to Matt Landers and Fromm’s 57-yard bomb to Riley Ridley, but neither the Red team nor the Black team ever got much going on offense at any point in the game. Fields flashed his impressive arm strength at times, but overthrew his receivers on a number of occasions.

Fromm finished the game completing just 50 percent of his passes and throwing for only 200 yards to go along with a touchdown and two picks. Fields hit on 18 of his 33 attempts for 207 yards with a score and an interception of his own. Neither made up much ground on the other in terms of winning the starting job in Saturday’s scrimmage. Following the game, head coach Kirby Smart said the pass heavy game plan for both sides made the offenses predictable, which may have led to the poor performances from the two quarterbacks.

Isaiah Wilson leads competition for right tackle:

With last year’s left tackle Isaiah Wynn moving on to the NFL, there was naturally going to be a shakeup along Georgia’s offensive line. It was expected that sophomore Andrew Thomas would make the switch from right to left tackle in Wynn’s absence, which he did in Saturday’s scrimmage. But the vacated right tackle spot was much more of an uncertainty. On Saturday, Isaiah Wilson started at right tackle with the Red team’s first unit, so it appears, for now, that Wilson has control of the job.

However, Dyshon Sims started at right tackle in last year’s spring game before eventually ceding the position to Thomas later in the fall. Wilson appears to be the favorite for now, but the status of Georgia’s offensive line is still subject to change as the season draws closer.

Secondary surprises:

It was a trying offseason for Georgia’s secondary, as last year’s starters Dominick Sanders and Malkom Parish moved on to the next level and potential starters Mark Webb and Divaad Wilson both suffered knee injuries in practice that prevented them from playing on G-Day. But despite the setbacks, the Black team’s secondary play was one of the highlights of the day, as the unit held presumed starting quarterback Jake Fromm to just 19 completions on 38 attempts for 200 yards. Fromm hit on one long touchdown, but he was intercepted twice.

Black team defensive backs Deandre Baker, Richard LeCounte III and William Poole each came away with an interception from the scrimmage, and LeCounte could have easily finished the day with three picks, as he had two more catchable balls go through his hands.

Bulldogs Closing In On G-Day Contest

ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia Bulldogs practiced in full pads for roughly two and a half hours on Tuesday afternoon with a smattering of guests on hand.

Four days from now, the Bulldogs will conduct a similar workout during their annual G-Day game at Sanford Stadium, and they hope to do so before more than 75,000 fans.

Two years ago, Georgia’s supporters packed Sanford Stadium for “93K Day” at the annual spring game. While a construction project in the West End Zone this spring will keep that portion of the facility empty on Saturday, the Bulldogs are still eager to see the rest of the stadium filled.

Juniors defensive end David Marshall and sophomore offensive tackle Andrew Thomas both were at the 2016 G-Day game before joining the Bulldogs. Marshall had signed with Georgia earlier in the year, while Thomas was making his first trip to Sanford Stadium as a junior at Pace Academy.

“Mostly, I remember it felt like a real game,” Marshall said. “Seeing all the fans in the stands, it gave me chills. It proves that everybody at Georgia is like a family and our fans support us so much. I’m really excited to be able to get out there Saturday and play this time.”

“It was crazy experience,” Thomas said. “I had never been to a Georgia game before so it was my first experience in Sanford Stadium. So many people were there, and then I heard they even had to deny some people coming in because there were so many. It was a crazy atmosphere, and it did help sway my decision early on. That’s what started getting me to like the place more.”

Gates will open at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and admission to G-Day is free. The UGA Athletic Association will be implementing it’s “clear bag” policy for the G-Day Game.

The day’s activities will begin with a flag football game among alumni lettermen from 1:15-2:15.

With expected high demand and temporarily reduced seating due to the construction on the new West End Zone complex, the UGA Athletic Association will be implementing a pass system. Upon entrance, each fan will receive a commemorative pass with a seating section. The UGAAA asks that each fan sits in this section to help manage what is expected to be a near-capacity crowd. Gates 2-9 will be open as usual. However, Gate 10 (gate under the bridge next to the Tate Center) will be closed due to construction. To help reduce congestion and further improve ingress flow, please enter on the side of the stadium where each fan’s preferred seating location would be. Additional pass/entry questions can be directed to facilitysupport@sports.uga.edu.

The Bulldogs will begin their 2018 campaign with a home matchup against Austin Peay on Saturday, Sept. 1. Georgia will travel to Columbia, S.C., to open its Southeastern Conference schedule against South Carolina on Sept. 8.

Bulldogs Hold Third Spring Practice

ATHENS –The Georgia Bulldogs held a 2 1/2-hour workout on Saturday afternoon, working out in pads for the first time of the spring football practice period.

The following are excerpts from head coach Kirby Smart’s post-practice press briefing:

Opening Statement:

‘’We’ve had three good days.  I think the guys have had a lot of energy out there at practice.  A lot of enthusiasm.  I thought today was the best, obviously, because we had pads and we had a good audience out there, with a lot of prospects.  So I’m excited about the progress we’ve made.  We’ve got a long way to go.  We’re probably not as deep as we’ve been on the defensive front, where we need to be.  We’ve got a lot of offensive linemen competing for for a lot positions.  Some young DBs that have got to grow up.  Seems like there are a lot of experienced wide receivers out there everywhere.  Obviously Jake (Fromm) has done a good job.  He’s got command of the offense, and Justin (Fields) is picking it up very quick.  Very bright.  And Stetson Bennett has been doing a good job as well.  So I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made.  We’ve got to continue to do that.  That was a good, physical practice out there today, and guys competed.

Q. How similar is the competition between Justin Fields and Jake Fromm to the competition last year between Jake and Jacob (Eason) at the same time?

A. ‘’I don’t know.  I think last year, with no Brice (Ramsey), you felt like there was not a ‘3’ there evident.  I think Stetson (Bennett) being that he’s done what he did through fall camp, the season (being the scout team guy), and then the bowl practices, getting to work, I feel like we’ve got three guys there that are really competing and doing a good job.  I think it’s a little different.  I think Jake obviously played more games than Jacob did, with the success we were able to have, getting the extra games.  He’s picked up things well. And Justin is a very advanced quarterback, similar to how Jake was coming in.  So those guys have done a good job picking it up.  I’m extremely pleased with the leadership that both of them provide and also how they push the defense.  I mean, Jake’s out there competing each day.’’

Q. What are your impressions of the inside linebackers so far, in the absence of Roquan Smith?

A. ‘’You see things show up.  Certainly not having him there, there are things that pop up.  I think there are good players there.  There’s not maybe a dynamic player, but they’ve got to do it by committee.  You know, we’ve got pretty good backs still.  You look at Swift, Holyfield and Herrien.  Coming out of the backfield, they’re hard to cover.  So there have been some plays made where it was like, ‘Uh oh, that guy didn’t cover that guy like 3 used to.’  So they’ve got to improve that, but I do like that group.  Coach Schumann challenges them each day.  We’ve been rolling them, who goes with the 1s and 2s and 3s, because there’s really no defined starter, in my opinion.  There are literally six guys competing for two starting spots, and there’s nobody that’s a starter there.  Nobody that’s really played a lot.’’

Q.  What are your impressions of Andrew Thomas having moved to left tackle?

A. ‘’I probably haven’t paid as close attention to it as much as I should.  It’s hard to say in shorts, with today being the first day in pads.  I do know this.  If you don’t notice him, it’s probably a good thing.  It’s not like there’s popping up sacks and things.  It’s very quiet.  There aren’t a lot of issues there.  We haven’t gotten a lot of pass rush off that side.  He’s made the transition well.  I think Coach Pittman has done a good job, leading up to this, of walk-throughs, knowledge.  We had bowl practices where we just worked on us, and he flipped over and played two or three practices.  So it’s not foreign to him.  He’s done a tremendous job. The challenge for Andrew is, can he become a vocal leader, not just a leader by example?  He’s got to learn to push other guys, challenge other guys, along with Lamont (Gaillard).  And I think he can be that kind of impact leader.’’

Q.  How stark is the difference in the character of this defense, compared to last year?

A. ‘’It’s hard to measure right now because we haven’t hit adversity.  When you’re in no pads, it’s hard to create adversity because there’s no contact and there aren’t a lot of big plays.  You don’t really know if they got it or not.  Then today, it was a little chippy out there and guys were hitting, and I thought the defense — on the first day today — was better than the first day last year.  I know y’all still don’t believe me, but last spring was — I don’t know the right word — horrible, maybe, for the defense, because Roquan wasn’t there and Trenton (Thompson) wasn’t there and we really got outphysicaled.  But that wasn’t that way today.  But it does scare me that it could be that way some days because we are a little older, more mature on the offensive line, got a good quarterback.  We’ve got to get better on defense.  There are some holes out there.  Got a lot of young DBs.  Divaad Wilson got injured today.  I don’t know the status of that, but that’s disheartening because he had had three really good practices and i was really fired up about him.  We’ll have to wait and see what the injury is.’’

Q. Who has been working at the Star position and how important is it to define that role that Aaron (Davis) played?

A. ‘’It’s like 80 percent of what we do.  Tyrique McGhee is a really good Star, but he’s not real big.  He’s a physical guy, but he weighs 180 pounds and in our league, we’re gonna have to get creative there.  Last year it was a struggle.  We had to play Lorenzo (Carter) some.  Walter Grant is a guy that plays that position well and hopefully he’ll be able to help us there.  If William Poole, Tyrique McGhee, all those guys you see us out there in pre-practice working with.  Those guys are all trying to find a role.  And Jaden Hunter may be a guy because he’s athletic and can play in space.  We’re gonna keep trying to put the best 11 on the field.’’

Q. With Christian Payne gone, will you still use that fullback position this year, like last year?

A. ‘’We had it last year where the backup was a tight end.  In most traditional fullback offenses, you use tight ends in that role as a backup, because you only get to travel 70.  So we’ll keep those portions of our offense.  We think those are good weapons to have, but it’ll be done by committee.  It’ll be done by Jackson (Harris), (Isaac) Nauta, all those guys…Charlie (Woerner).  We’ll also have guys coming in the fall who can help with that.’’

Q. Without any defined ‘stars’ on this year’s team, compared to last year, how is that affecting the chemistry of this team?

A. ‘’I think it’s good.  I mean, I don’t think those guys (Chubb and Michel) ever saw themselves as superstars.  We certainly didn’t treat them that way.  They didn’t behave that way.  They didn’t practice that way.  So nobody in this program plays or practices with an entitlement.  That’s my ultimate goal, so I’m looking for the entitlement guys every day at practice, to see if they feel that way.  And challenge them to compete.  Whether we have a superstar, or as you call, a first-rounder, I don’t know that.  I know we’ve got a lot of kids out there competing, trying hard.  We’ve got a long way to go.  We’ve got a lot of guys.  If you take the snaps that we’ve got to replace, especially on defense, we have a long way to go.  But I enjoy coaching this group.  They’re like sponges.  They absorb.  So far, they’ve had the eagerness that you’d like them to have.’’

Q. Who are you seeing emerging as leaders at the wide receiver position?

A. ‘’Terry (Godwin) and Riley (Ridley) and Mecole (Hardman) clearly have a presence about them, a confidence about them.  They were able to make some plays last year.  I thought they last 2-3 days, the thing that stuck out to me is that Jayson Stanley, Tyler Simmons, Ahkil Crumpton, (Michael) Chigbu have made some plays.  Matt (Landers) is growing up.  He’s trying to push through.  But I tell you, those guys — Kearis (Jackson), and JJ (Holloman) — they’re not sitting there just learning what to do anymore.  They’re challenging the guys in front of them.  The volume of reps all those ‘2’ receivers took last year is really paying off.  Because our ‘2’ receivers are ahead of a lot of our ‘2’ DB group.  That’s a bright spot that I feel like we’ve got a pretty good depth of receivers.  They helped us a lot on special teams last year.’’

Q. You’ve got a star-studded list of NFL-related speakers at your coaches’ clinic and seem to embrace the connection with the NFL.  Is that something you try to promote?

A. ‘’If you go to the core purpose of it, the point of a coaching clinic is not to raise money, not to make money.  It’s to promote a game that I love, that I think has been really good to me.  But it’s also great for kids.  It’s great for student-athletes.  You think about the opportunities that our players got to go to the University of Georgia and play football and get an education.  That’s invaluable.  So we’re trying to give back to the high school coaches in Georgia, and really all over the country.  We’ve already got 700 registered, more than we’ve ever had, expecting over 1,000 high school coaches for a clinic where no Georgia clinic has ever had over 500.  My expectation is to put on the best clinic in the country because I think I’m at the best university in the country.  So we’re going to put the best speakers out there. We’re going to let them come talk.  They’ve already made a rule where we can’t have a high school coach come speak.  So when you take that away, why would high school coaches want to come to our clinic if they can’t watch other high school coaches speak?  You’d better have a star-studded cast to get ‘em to come.  I think giving back to the coaches through our drills — we’re gonna let coaches be able to sit in our meetings and learn.  Not many people are willing to do that in our clinic, but I’m trying to give back to them because they’re our feeder program.  The state of Georgia has the best high school coaches in the country because our state education system is such that they get good benefits, they get good pay, so if they’re developing tough, hard-nosed, disciplined football players, guess who I get to inherit?  Those guys.  So it’s somewhat of a minor league for us.  I really believe that you should give back to them.  Coach (Bill) Belichick was like, ‘Absolutely, I would love to come speak at your clinic because you’ve got one of the best states in the country to play football in.’ (Sean) McVay and Dan Quinn were the same way.’’

Bulldog Football Holds Second Spring Practice

ATHENS, Ga. — Under cloudless skies with a steady wind and temperatures hovering in the upper 50s, the Georgia football team had its second practice of the spring on Thursday afternoon.

The Bulldogs kicked off the spring on Tuesday with a two and a half hour session.  On Wednesday, all 32 NFL teams sent representatives to Athens to cover the annual Pro Day where 21 former players worked out in preparation for the coming NFL Draft on April 26-28.  The current Bulldogs returned to work at the Woodruff Practice Fields on Thursday with another two and a half hour practice in shorts and helmets.

This marks the second of 15 spring practices for Georgia, including the annual G-Day intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, April 21.  The Bulldogs will complete their first week of the spring with another session this Saturday afternoon.

It was announced on Thursday that ESPN will televise the G-Day game in Sanford Stadium starting at 4 p.m.  The Red team will face off versus the Black team and admission is free to the annual showdown.  At halftime, fans attending G-Day can expect to be introduced to UGA’s incoming class of 2018 signees.

Prior to the G-Day matchup, lettermen from the program’s past will square off on the field starting at 1:15 p.m.  With expected high demand and temporarily reduced seating due to the construction on the new West End Zone complex, the UGA Athletic Association will be implementing a pass system.  Upon entrance, each fan will receive a commemorative pass with a seating section.  The UGAAA asks that each fan sits in this section to help manage what is expected to be a near-capacity crowd.

Gates 2-9 will be open as usual.  However, Gate 10 (gate under the bridge next to the Tate Center) will be closed due to construction.  To help reduce congestion and further improve ingress flow, please enter on the side of the stadium where each fan’s preferred seating location would be.  Additional pass/entry questions can be directed to facilitysupport@sports.uga.edu.

The Bulldogs begin their 2018 campaign with a home matchup versus Austin Peay on Saturday, Sept. 1.  Georgia will then travel to Columbia, S.C., to open its Southeastern Conference schedule against South Carolina on Sept. 8.

Statements from Georgia LB Roquan Smith and head coach Kirby Smart

“I think back to growing up in Macon County and all the family and community people of my hometown that provided so many opportunities.  The teachers who educated me, the coaches who taught me how to play the games, and those who taught me how to play football all contributed to where I am today. And I can’t believe how fortunate I have been to be part of the Georgia Bulldog family these past three years.  I owe so much to the Athletic Association, our academic staff, student services, and the University faculty and administration for the environment in which I’ve been able to grow.  

 

“I’m so grateful for my teammates who have always supported me every step of the way.  And no thanks are enough for the coaches and staff who have provided the leadership, inspiration, and tireless hours in helping me develop as a player but also as a man. What we accomplished this year is only the beginning of what’s to come for this program.  I’m proud to be a part of the foundation that Coach Smart is building on and his leadership and direction are going to bring many more great times and memories to the Bulldog Nation.

 

“As you know this is somewhat of a crossroads for me. I’ve had discussions with coaches and family and a lot of thought and prayer. The decision to leave is not easy but I know it is the right one.  Georgia will always be my school and my home and I sincerely wish all the best to the coaches, staff, and players as they continue to reach higher goals in the years to come.”

                           — Roquan Smith, LB, UGA

 

 

 

 “Words cannot describe how much Roquan has meant to our program.  The accolades he has received are a testimony to his ability as a player.  But he has also demonstrated on and off the field the qualities of a great leader who has commanded the respect of all his teammates as well as our coaching and support staffs.  As the head coach, it’s been a privilege to see him develop as a student-athlete and inspirational leader who has made immeasurable contributions to our team and to the program we are building.  While we will miss him, we wish him all the best and know that great success awaits him at the next level.”

                  — Kirby Smart, Head Football Coach, University of Georgia

Georgia Season Ends in Overtime, Falls to Alabama 26-23 in National Championship

ATLANTA, Ga. – A second-half surge, capped by a 41-yard touchdown in overtime, lifted the Alabama Crimson Tide over the Georgia Bulldogs 26-23 in the National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Monday night.

After 20 points from the Tide offense in the second half, a wide 36-yard field goal attempt from Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos in the final seconds of regulation sent the game into Georgia’s second-straight overtime contest of the College Football Playoff.

In overtime, redshirt sophomore kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who was 3-for-3 in field goals on the game, drilled a 51-yard field goal for the 23-20 Georgia lead. Junior Jonathan Ledbetter and senior Davin Bellamy picked up the sack of the Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for a loss of 16 yards, but on the next play, the freshman hauled a 41-yard pass to a sprinting DeVonta Smith in the end zone to seal the Tide’s national championship.

“I think [Alabama] had a lot of momentum,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “I think they had a lot of juice, I think a lot of their guys believed in him. I think our guys were resilient, even with the momentum change. We kept fighting back, made some big, key stops, but even with the stops, couldn’t stop them in the end when we had to, and that’s what you have to do against good teams.”

Georgia recorded 13 wins in the second year of the Smart tenure, which ties the school record for most wins in a season. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm led the Bulldog offense in the pocket, finishing 16-for-32 for 232 yards with one touchdown. He connected with sophomore Riley Ridley a career-high six times tonight for 82 yards, while senior Sony Michel totaled a team-leading 98 yards on 14 carries.

Junior linebacker Roquan Smith highlighted the Georgia defense with a career-high 13 tackles. In the first half, Georgia blanked Alabama, marking the fourth team this season held scoreless by the Bulldog defense in the first half (Florida, Tennessee, Appalachian State). The Georgia defense allowed only 94 total Alabama yards on 24 plays in the opening frame, forcing four Alabama punts on four offensive possessions after a missed field goal.

As the first quarter winded down, Michel converted two key third-down plays to extend the Georgia drive. On 3rd-and-20, Michel maneuvered the edge of the field, sprinting 26 yards down the sideline for the first down, placing Georgia on the Alabama 26-yard line. Blankenship capped the 14-play, 55-yard drive at the beginning of the second quarter with a 41-yard field goal, and Georgia claimed the 3-0 lead.

Another Alabama three-and-out returned the ball to the Georgia offense, and Fromm directed a 13-play, 70-yard scoring drive. The freshman from Warner Robins, Ga. used four different Georgia receivers in freshman D’andre Swift, Ridley, sophomore Mecole Hardman and senior Javon Wims for a combined 54 receiving yards, completing 4-of-7 passes. A 27-yard field goal from Blankenship provided the 6-0 Bulldog edge.

With 1:19 remaining in the half, the Georgia defense forced Alabama to punt, setting up a Fromm-directed 9-play, 69-yard drive. Michel took the direct snap with seven seconds left and handed the ball to Hardman, who rushed into the end zone for the 1-yard touchdown, the second of his career. The Bulldogs closed the half with a 13-0 advantage.

In the third quarter, Alabama struck first, completing a 7-play, 56-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Henry Ruggs III, but Georgia responded on the following possession. At the 6:52 mark in the third quarter, Fromm tossed a career-high 80-yard dime to Hardman downfield, who shook off an Alabama defender to reach the end zone for the 20-7 Georgia edge.

Alabama pieced together a pair of field goals from Pappanastos to cut into the Georgia lead. On 4th-and-4, Tagovailoa found wide receiver Calvin Ridley in the middle of the end zone, followed by a Pappanastos kick, to knot the game at 20, and eventually send the game into overtime.

“This team’s not going anywhere,” Smart said. “The inches are everywhere. The inches that it takes to be a champion, they’re everywhere. They’re in everything. They’re all over the place, and we’ve got to get more inches.”

Dawgtime’s Tidbits (GEORGIA vs Alabama)

Georgia Captains:  Nick Chubb, Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel, Roquan Smith

Alabama wins the toss and defers.  Georgia will receive first.

Alabama’s Tony Brown picks off Jake Fromm on Georgia’s 3rd play from scrimmage.  Alabama takes over on their own 36 yard line.

After taking over after the interception, Alabama marched the ball  42 yards on 10 plays and was forced to settle for a FG attempt.  Pappanastos missed a 40 yard FG attempt wide left after he forced to kick again after a false start penalty on the Crimson Tide.

After picking up their initial first down on a Terry Godwin reception, Georgia was forced to punt back to Alabama.  Alabama takes over from their own 20 yard line.

After another forced punt from the Georgia defense, the Georgia offense gets the ball back and drives the ball to the Alabama 27 yard line to end the 1st Quarter.  The big play on the drive was a 26 yard run around the right end by Sony Michel on 3rd and 20.  Georgia faces a 3rd and 11 when the 2nd Quarter begins.

End of 1st Quarter:  Georgia 0  Alabama 0

Georgia settles for 41 yard FG after the Tide defense stiffens to put the Bulldogs on top 3-0.  The Bulldogs scoring drive covered 55 yards in 14 plays.

After forcing another Alabama punt, Georgia drives 70 yards on 13 plays and Blankenship connects on a 27 yard FG to put the Bulldogs on top 6-0.

The Tide picked up a first down own their ensuing possession when Hurts pulled it down and ran for 31 yards.  Georgia’s defense forced another punt after Bellamy sacked Hurts for a 6 yard loss.

Georgia again marches the ball on a long drive covering 69 yards on 9 plays capped off by a Mecole Hardman run around left end out of the Wild Dawg alignment.  Georgia leads 13-0.

End of 1st Half:  Georgia 13  Alabama 0

Georgia will kick off to Alabama.

The Georgia defense forces a 3 and out punt on Alabama’s first offensive possession of the 2nd half.  Alabama chose to go with Tua Tagovailoa over Jalen Hurts at QB on their opening possession of the half.

Georgia is unable to muster a first down on its opening possession of the 2nd half and is forced to punt it back to Alabama.

The Tua led Alabama offense marches 56 yards on 7 plays to give the Crimson Tide their first points of the game when Tua connects with Ruggs III on 6 yard slant route for a TD.  The drive was kept alive by a Tua rush on 3rd down.  Georgia 13  Alabama 7

Georgia bounces back quickly when Fromm connects with Mecole Hardman on a 80 yard TD reception to put the Bulldogs up 20-7.

The Bulldogs defense intercepts Tua on the Tide’s following possession to give the ball back to the Georgia offense.  Georgia takes over on the Tide 39 yard line after the interception by Deandre Baker.

Fromm’s pass is picked off Raquan Davis giving the ball back to Alabama at the Georgia 40 yard line.

After giving up a first down, the Bulldogs’ defense stiffens forcing a 43 yard FG by Pappanastos.  Georgia leads 20-10 with 5:15 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

End of 3rd Quarter:  Georgia 20 Alabama 10

Alabama drives 71 yards on 8 plays but were forced to settle for a 30 yard by Pappanastos after the Bulldogs’ defense stiffened in the red zone.  Georgia leads 20-13.

 

 

 

Bulldogs Win Rose Bowl Thriller in 2OT, 54-48

PASADENA, Calif. – A blocked field goal opened the door for a game-winning score in the Georgia Bulldogs’ 54-48 double overtime Rose Bowl victory against the No. 2-seeded Oklahoma Sooners Monday evening at the Rose Bowl Stadium.

Oklahoma offense went first in the second overtime and got to the 10-yard line for a 27-yard field goal attempt. The outstretched hand of senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter blocked the field goal to set the stage for a game-winning score. The second play of Georgia’s series was the game-winner as senior running back Sony Michel got the corner and sprinted 27 yards into the end zone.

Georgia, seeded No. 3, advances to face the winner of the other CFP semifinal matchup in the CFP National Championship game on Monday, Jan.8, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

“What a game,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “What an atmosphere. My heart goes out to the Oklahoma team, because they played their tail off. And so did ours. Nobody ever quit and everybody fought hard. I’m so proud of these kids. The seniors never quit. This is a great university and these kids fought their tail off.”

The Bulldogs amassed 527 total yards with 317 on the ground and 210 through the air. Michel, the offensive player of the game, finished with 181 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 41 yards on four receptions and a score. Senior back mate Nick Chubb collected 145 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Jake Fromm went 20-of-29 for 210 yards and two touchdowns, while becoming just the second true freshman to start the Rose Bowl game. Fromm’s most frequent target was senior Javon Wims who finished with 73 yards on six catches and a touchdown

Defensively, junior linebacker Roquan Smith collected a team-leading 11 tackles including a key 3rd-down tackle in the first period of overtime and was awarded defensive player of the game. Georgia tallied five sacks with single sacks coming from Jonathan Ledbetter, David Marshall, Tyler Clark and D’Andre Walker. Senior safety Dominick Sanders had a third-quarter interception that led to the Bulldogs’ third touchdown in the second half.

Georgia trailed 31-17 at halftime as the game featured both teams with over 250 total yards of offense and six total touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore placekicker Rodrigo Blankenship drilled a Rose Bowl record 55-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

Storming out of the break, the Bulldogs defense forced a Sooner 3-and-out and then scored on their first play. Nick Chubb fought off multiple would-be tacklers for a 50-yard touchdown run which put him over the 100-yard rushing mark. Sophomore return specialist Mecole Hardman helped set up the favorable field position with a 21-yard punt return.

The equalizer at 31-all came in the last minute of the third quarter when Michel took a 3rd-and-7 handoff 38 yards for his third touchdown of the game. On Oklahoma’s next possession, Sanders intercepted an overthrow by Baker Mayfield and returned it 39 yards to the four-yard line. Two plays later, Georgia obtained its first lead of the game with a 4-yard pass and catch from Fromm to Wims.

Next it was Oklahoma’s turn to tie it as Mayfield found Dimitri Flowers in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The score notched it a 38-all with 8:47 left in regulation. The Sooners then recaptured the lead shortly after on a 46-yard scoop-and-score off a Michel fumble.

Trailing by 45-38 with 3:22 left in regulation, Fromm methodically marched the Bulldogs for the game-tying touchdown drive that spanned seven plays and 59 yards. On the drive, Fromm was 3-for-4 passing for 48 yards. A defensive pass interference in the end zone put Georgia at the goal line and Chubb ran it in on a direct snap.

Georgia forced two Oklahoma punts in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to send the game into extra time and eventually outlasting the Sooners.