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Bulldogs Continue Practicing During Off Week

ATHENS, Ga. — The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs conducted a two-hour practice Wednesday as they look forward to their first open date of the 2019 season this weekend.

 

Georgia is off to a 4-0 start including 1-0 in the SEC, and its next game will be Oct. 5 at Tennessee (1-3, 0-1 SEC). Before practice, Georgia coach Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Football Weekly Media Teleconference and provided an update on the Bulldogs. Selected comments from Smart are below:

 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“We opened up practice yesterday after doing some film review and conditioning on Monday. On Tuesday, we had a good physical practice. We’ll get after it the next few days and start working on our next opponent which will be Tennessee off the bye week.”

 

On attendance in college football and scheduling to help the sport…

“I certainly think games like that (Georgia versus Notre Dame) are needed, especially right now. It’s really important. I think having a balance…to me it’s as much about fan experience as it is matchups. I think it’s really important that your fans enjoy coming to your games. They have a good atmosphere. You’re able to put a good product out on the field that they can enjoy. You can make the case that a lot of fans don’t like the lower level matchups, but a lot of those teams survive with what they’re able to get in guarantees for those games. It also gives at least us a chance to expand our fan base because a lot of fans get to come to that game that might not get to come to a Notre Dame game. They get to come enjoy Sanford Stadium and bring their kids and family members who might not otherwise get an opportunity. All that is good for college football. The matchup we had (with Notre Dame), the amount of electricity in the game and the stadium was awesome. You acknowledge that maybe every game can’t be that way but at the same time you want more of them.”

 

On the impact of having a rushing attack and the running game versus Notre Dame…

“Every body blow you give a team has a wear, has an effect, and we certainly felt like over really the last three years, the total effect of being able to give body blows does have an effect on teams. I think when you talk to teams after they play us, they definitely feel that’s the case. Never would I say if you can’t run the ball, you have to continue to run the ball, you got to be able to mix it up. You can’t be one dimensional in anything you do especially when you play a top 10 team. I got an incredible respect for Notre Dame or really any SEC team. They have to find ways to stop the run during the week, and most teams that’s the first thing they try to do is stop the run versus us. We got to have some things to lighten the box and allow our playmakers outside to make some plays. We did run the ball a little better in the second half at times (versus Notre Dame). There were some times when we had some breakdowns, and things they did to hurt us. I think a lot of that comes from the wear and tear and totality of the physical nature of running the ball.”

 

Meanwhile after Wednesday’s practice, graduate defensive tackle Michael Barnett and senior tight end Charlie Woerner visited with the media. Here’s a few of their comments:

 

Graduate defensive tackle Michael Barnett

On what the defense is working to improve on during the bye week…

“I feel like we just need to improve on our technique. Play calling, executing better, that’s just what we try and work on. We’ve got to block better, really just tune up our craft.”

 

On Justin Young stepping up and his impression of his performance…

“I know what Justin can do; we came in at the same time. It’s like with both of us, we just have to remain consistent and execute the plays that are called, not just trying to get off blocks really quickly so it’s really about execution, both me and him.”

 

On if the defense has an identity yet…

“We put our identity out there that we want to be relentless, attack the ball, and wreak havoc; but I feel like we can always improve. There’re some areas we need to improve on. … Last year was a different team, this is a new team. You’ve got new faces on the field, you’ve for freshman coming in and making an impact, I feel like we’re just trying to make a new identity. We’re going to leave the past in the past and the future, we’re going to leave that to greatness. We’re only looking at one game at a time.”

 

Senior tight end Charlie Woerner

On what the offense is working on during the bye week…

“Some people call it bye week; we call it work week. Offense is trying to work on a lot of communication things. Really hone in and execute on the passing game.”

 

On what he wants to work on personally…

“I am trying to work on my route running ability a little bit. Get more clean and crisp on it. Just communicating with receivers and tackles, just run game stuff. Just to be perfect every time.”

 

On how different it is not preparing for an opponent but working on himself…

“Especially with a week like this week you don’t have a team to look forward to at the end of the week you are more playing yourself and playing each other. Just have to work on those few things your coach gave you to be better. It makes it simple this week for what you need to do.”

 

On the tight ends making tackles…

“Perimeter blocks are a big thing for us. Especially when it comes to perimeter game or out zone stuff. Usually we are the ones who spring that play or if we miss it it’s not a good play at all. Especially out in the space in the perimeter they can be really hard. That DB has a two-way go. They are usually a little smaller a little quicker than us. It is usually a little tough to block but we work on it all the time in practice.

Bulldogs in the NFL — Week 3

Week 3 Recap 

    Rams 20, Browns 13

    Todd Gurley, RB: Gurley carried 14 times for 43 yards for Los Angeles. He added what turned out to be a critical tackle as he stopped Browns linebacker Joe Schobert on the Los Angeles 21 following a fumble by Rams quarterback Jared Goff with 18 seconds left in the first half. The Browns fired three straight incomplete passes and settled for a field goal as time expired.

    Natrez Patrick, LB: The Rams rookie logged 12 special teams snaps but did not have any stats.

    Nick Chubb, RB: Chubb rushed for 96 yards on 23 carries for the Browns. He added four catches for 35 yards. Chubb has jumped to seventh in the NFL with 233 rushing yards.

 

    Jaguars 20, Titans 7

    Chris Conley, WR: Conley hauled in two passes for 30 yards for the Jaguars.

    Abry Jones, DL: Jones had two tackles for Jacksonville.

    Terry Godwin, WR: Godwin is a member of the Jaguars’ practice squad.

    Ben Jones, OL: Jones logged all 80 offensive snaps at center and helped the Titans accumulate 340 total yards.

    D’Andre Walker, LB: Walker is on Tennessee’s injured reserve list for the season.

 

    Bills 21, Bengals 17

    Isaiah McKenzie, WR: McKenzie rushed three times for 10 yards and had a 9-yard reception for the Bills.

    Geno Atkins, DL: Atkins had five tackles, including a sack, for the Bengals.

    Cordy Glenn, OL: Glenn was on Cincinnati’s inactive list as he remains in concussion protocol.

    A.J. Green, WR: Green was on the Bengals’ inactive list due to an ankle injury.

    Shawn Williams, DB: Williams led Cincinnati with nine tackles.

 

    Patriots 30, Jets 14

    David Andrews, C: Andrews is on the Patriots’ injured reserve list for the season.

    Sony Michel, RB: Michel carried nine times for 11 yards and a touchdown for New England. Michel stands seventh in the NFL with two rushing touchdowns.

    Ben Watson, TE: Watson will miss the Patriots’ first four games due to suspension. He is slated to return on Oct. 6.

    Isaiah Wynn, OL: Wynn is on New England’s injured reserve list with a toe injury. He will be eligible to return Nov. 17.

    Jordan Jenkins, LB: Jenkins was on the Jets’ inactive list due to a calf injury.

 

    Lions 27, Eagles 24

    Matthew Stafford, QB: Stafford went 18-of-32 for 201 yards and a touchdown for the Lions. Stafford stands ninth in the NFL in passing touchdowns (six) and 10th in passing yards (831) and total yards per game (281.0).

    John Atkins, DL: Atkins is a member of the Lions’ practice squad.

    Isaac Nauta, TE: Nauta is on Detroit’s practice squad.

 

    Chiefs 33, Ravens 28

    Mecole Hardman, WR: The Kansas City rookie had two catches for 97 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown reception, and a 7-yard rush. In addition, Hardman recovered a fumble by teammate Sammy Watkins to preserve a first-quarter possession. Hardman had a fair catch on a short kickoff with 2:01 left after the Ravens pulled within five. The Chiefs ran out the clock from there. Among NFL rookies, Hardman ranks first in punt return average (20.0), second in receiving touchdowns (two), fourth in receiving yards (158), and sixth in kickoff return average (21.0).

 

    Colts 27, Falcons 24

    Justin Houston, DE: Houston had two tackles and one quarterback hit for the Colts.

 

    Giants 32, Buccaneers 31

    Deandre Baker, DB: The New York rookie had seven tackles.

    Lorenzo Carter, LB: Carter posted five tackles and a quarterback hit for the Giants.

    Alec Ogletree, LB: Ogletree had two tackles and defended one pass for New York.

 

    Bears 31, Redskins 15

    Leonard Floyd, LB: Floyd had four tackles for the Bears.

    Riley Ridley, WR: The rookie was on the inactive list (coach’s decision) for Chicago.

    Roquan Smith, LB: Smith registered six tackles for the Bears.

    Javon Wims, WR: Wims hauled in his first pass of the season, an 8-yarder.

 

    Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6

    John Jenkins, DL: Jenkins had one tackle for the Dolphins.

    Reshad Jones, DB: Jones was on the Dolphins’ inactive list with an ankle injury.

    Jonathan Ledbetter, DL: The Miami rookie is on injured reserve with an ankle injury. He will be eligible to return Nov. 17.

 

    Texans 27, Chargers 20

    Thomas Davis, LB: Davis paced the Chargers with seven tackles, including half a sack. He stands third in the NFL with 33 tackles.

 

    Panthers 38, Cardinals 20

    Elijah Holyfield, RB: Holyfield is a member of the Panthers’ practice squad.

    Lamont Gaillard, OL: The Cardinals rookie was on the inactive list due to a knee injury.

 

    Week 4 Schedule Involving Bulldogs

    (Games are on Sunday unless otherwise noted)

Titans at Falcons; Redskins at Giants; Chargers at Dolphins; Raiders at Colts; Panthers at Texans; Chiefs at Lions; Browns at Ravens; Patriots at Bills; Buccaneers at Rams; Seahawks at Cardinals; Vikings at Bears; Jaguars at Broncos; Bengals at Steelers, Monday. Off: Jets.

Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship Named SEC Special Teams Player Of The Week Again

Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (98) speaks to members of the media at a press conference on Monday, Oct., 1, 2018. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia senior place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship has been named the Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this year after his performance in the 23-17 win over No. 7 Notre Dame, according to a league announcement.

For Blankenship, this marks the fourth time in his career that he has earned SEC weekly honors. He received Special Teams Player of the Week recognition earlier this year after Georgia’s win over Vanderbilt and following the Bulldogs’ victories last season at South Carolina and at Kentucky in 2016.

Blankenship connected on both of his PATs and drilled a trio of field goals, including a 40 and a 43 yarder, to help Georgia down the Irish.  With his 11 points in the game, he moved to fourth on UGA’s all-time career scoring list with 358 points, passing Hall of Famer Kevin Butler.  Blankenship has connected on a school record 175 consecutive PATs and is 8-for-8 on his FG attempts this year.

The No. 3 Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 SEC) will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to play Tennessee (1-3, 0-1) on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. on ESPN.  Both teams are idle during the coming weekend.

Georgia tested, yet finds way to beat Notre Dame 23-17

By Dan Mathews

Georgia made the game closer than many people expected against Notre Dame on their way to a 23-17 win. The Bulldogs didn’t play a clean game, but performed well enough to get the win.

UGA is now 4-0 on the season and had to earn every ounce of this win. They weren’t as crisp on offense as people would have hoped they’d be against the Irish.

Kirby Smart’s team finished the game with 152 rushing yards. Previously, they ran for no less than 268 yards in any of their games.

The Irish showed that the run was their number one priority tonight on defense. They held Georgia to just 55 yards rushing in the first half.

Georgia’s commitment to the run did not waver in the second half, when offensive coordinator James Coley decided to call 21 running plays to the 14 passing calls made. It was good enough to have D’Andre Swift finish the game with 98 rushing yards and one touchdown.

The Bulldogs also improved to 4-6 all-time, when Jake Fromm throws the football more than 24 times in a game. They also out rushed Notre Dame 152 to 46 and are now 28-0 in the Kirby Smart era when that feat is accomplished.

Georgia’s defense kept the Irish to 321 yards of total offense in 61 plays ran. They also forced two interceptions on Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book.

The Irish were able to score a pair of touchdowns in this game. However, their first score came after a muffed punt return by wide receiver Tyler Simmons and set Notre Dame up with great field position at the UGA 8 yard line.

Notre Dame relied heavily on the receiving skills of tight end Cole Kmet in the first half of the game. Book found him seven times for 68 yards and one touchdown.

The Georgia defense focused their efforts on Kmet in the second half, by limiting him to just two catches. They did however combine for 40 yards.

The Iris’s top wide receiver, 6 foot 4 inch Chase Claypool was largely held in check by Georgia’s defense. He only finished the game with six catches for 66 yards and one touchdown.

Georgia now finds themselves looking at a bye week, before they take the road to battle a struggling Tennessee team. This game also served as a test for Georgia, in trying to get back to the College Football Playoff at seasons end.

Notre Dame also proved that they are an athletic and physical team. The experts were wrong in picking the Irish to be double-digit underdogs in the Las Vegas sports books.

The Bulldogs can take solace in knowing that this game is in the past. Now, they’ll get ready to defend their SEC East title.

No. 3 Georgia Beats No. 7 Notre Dame, 23-17

ATHENS, Ga. – The No. 3-ranked Georgia Bulldogs scored 16 unanswered points to start the second half and held off a late push from seventh-ranked Notre Dame in a 23-17 victory on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium Saturday night. 

A record crowd of 93,246 and a national television audience on CBS watched as the Bulldogs fell behind 10-7 at the half. Georgia (4-0, 1-0 SEC) then stormed out in the final 30 minutes to preserve the win late in the game. 

Junior tailback D’Andre Swift led all rushers with 98 total yards on the ground, including a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Junior quarterback Jake Fromm completed 20-of-26 passes for 187 total yards and one score. 

Defensively, Georgia was led by senior linebacker Tae Crowder’s nine total tackles. Bulldog defensive backs Divaad Wilson — a redshirt-freshman — and senior J. R. Reed each recorded second-half interceptions in the win. 

“That was a hard-fought game,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “I have a lot of respect for Notre Dame and their program and how they battled. But man, our kids played hard. … That was a huge win for them. They play so hard and work so hard and play with toughness. I was happy to see them pull that out.”

Neither team could get much going in the first quarter as the game stayed scoreless through the first 15 minutes. Notre Dame was able to move the ball into Georgia territory, but a fumbled snap by quarterback Ian Book on 4th-and-2 stalled the Irish drive. 

A muffed punt by Tyler Simmons set Notre Dame up at the Georgia 8-yard line, eventually leading to a 4th-and-goal at the one. The Bulldogs were able to press Book out of the pocket, but he found tight end Cole Kmet in the end zone for the first score of the night, giving the Irish a 7-0 lead at the 10:39 mark of the second quarter.  

The Bulldogs countered with an 8-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 3-yard touchdown plunge by Swift. 

Notre Dame kicker Jonathan Doerer ended the half with a 27-yard field goal to put the halftime score at 10-7.

On the Irish’s first offensive possession of the second half, Wilson intercepted a Book pass and set the Bulldogs up at the Notre Dame 22-yard line. Georgia’s drive came to a halt and Rodgrigo Blankenship knotted the score at 10-10 with a 40-yard field goal. 

Blankenship added another — this time from 31 yards out — to give Georgia its first lead at 13-10. 

Georgia’s onslaught continued into the fourth quarter. Senior wide receiver Lawrence Cager capped off an 8-play, 82 yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone. 

Following another Blankenship field goal, Book marched the fighting Irish down the field on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, which ended with Chase Claypool’s 4-yard TD reception. 

Notre Dame forced a 3-and-out and the Fighting Irish got the ball back with two minutes on the clock. On a 4th-and-8 play, Book’s heave fell just short and the Bulldogs held on for the 23-17 win. 

Georgia now has a week off before traveling to Tennessee on Oct. 5. 

Bulldogs Getting Ready for Notre Dame

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03: during the MLB game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves on September 3, 2019 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire)

ATHENS, Ga. — The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs held a two-hour workout Wednesday as they finalize preparations for their upcoming game versus seventh-ranked Notre Dame.

 

Georgia (3-0) plays host to the Fighting Irish (2-0) at 8:15 pm Saturday on CBS at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.

 

Before practice, Georgia coach Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Football Weekly Media Teleconference and provided an update on the Bulldogs. Selected comments from Smart are below:

 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement

“Our guys are excited to get to play on a national stage in a home game atmosphere that probably will be unrivaled in Georgia history from a non-conference standpoint. I know they’re excited with a team like Notre Dame coming to town. It is really a special event.”

 

On Defensive Front facing Notre Dame…

“It’s a big challenge for our guys up front. We’ve got a good group, some very workman-like players that play really hard. We’ve challenged them this week that this is their opportunity to step up and play on a big stage, and that’s what most of these guys choose to come to Georgia for. They do it by committee and hopefully will be no different in this game.”

 

On Georgia’s backfield development…

“A lot of those guys we had seen. We had seen James (Cook)  last year, we had seen Brian (Herrien) but just not to the extent that they’ve gotten work. Zamir (White) coming back has been a pleasant surprise for us, and he continues to do good things and get better. Kenny (McIntosh) has been a good asset for us; he’s going to be a good football player. I’m pleased with how far they’ve come, really feel like I’m talking about the two guys that didn’t play last year. Again, the important thing is finding roles for those guys.”

 

On the impact of freshman wide receiver Dominick Blaylock…

“Dom has been a great addition. He came in this summer and picked things up quickly. He’s a competitor. He has a low center of gravity, he’s kind of sneaky hard to tackle. He’s not overly elusive, but he just runs tough. He does a good job of breaking tackles. He’s very sharp and understands leverages, a very savvy route runner. He’s starting to develop a comfort level with Jake (Fromm) and that’s important to us.”

 

On the play of backup quarterback redshirt sophomore Stetson Bennett…

“Stetson did a good job last week when he came in. He understood his role in the game plan. I felt like he executed at a higher level. We’ve challenged him to do that in practice because he gets so many more reps in practice than he does in the game to prepare himself. We always talk about play to your strengths, and he’s got to do that.”

 

On the play of sophomore punter Jake Camarda…

He’s hit some boomers. The thing he’s got to continue to work on is his directional kicking. He’s done a good job with that. They (Notre Dame) have a really good returner who has been doing it for a long time. They are one of the best teams in the country at holding you up and attacking you. They do a really good job in their punt return game. It will be important for Jake in his ball placement and his hang time.”

 

Meanwhile after Wednesday’s practice, sophomore center Trey Hill and redshirt freshman tight end John FitzPatrick visited with the media. Here’s a few of their comments:

 

Sophomore center Trey Hill

On the biggest challenge for the offensive line…

“Just basically being off the ball fast, staying agile and basically moving people.”

 

On being one of the quicker guys on the offensive line…

“Off the ball, quickness, yes, but everybody’s quick on the line; you have to be, it’s the SEC.”

 

On personal preference of playing at a neutral site or a home-and-home series…

“It really doesn’t matter. Wherever we’ve got to play, we just have to play fast and physical. Neutral site, away site, at home, we just have to do the same thing everywhere we go.”

 

Redshirt freshman tight end John FitzPatrick

On his thoughts on neutral site games vs. home-and-home series…

“Honestly, I do not think it affects me that much. Georgia fans are always going to travel no matter what. They’re the best fans in the nation. Whether it’s a neutral site, an away game, they’re going to come. So basically, it’s a home game every time we play. That is the best thing about being a Bulldog.”

 

On his excitement for Saturday…

“It is going to be so much fun. But, at the same time we take each game with the same approach, the same mindset. Whether it’s Notre Dame, whether it’s Murray State we are going to have the same mindset. It is just another game.”

 

On when he gets in the zone for the game…

“Hearing the crowd outside when you’re in the locker room. And then, what I try to do is envision myself making the play before the play happens. So that way when I go out, I can do that myself. ”

 

Bulldogs in the NFL — Week 2

Georgia tailback Sony Michel (1) answers a question during an interview session at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

Week 2 Recap 

    Browns 23, Jets 3

    Nick Chubb, RB: Chubb rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries for the Browns. He added four catches for 36 yards.

    Jordan Jenkins, LB: Jenkins had one tackle for the Jets. He left the game after just 12 plays with a calf injury.

 

    Bills 28, Giants 14

    Isaiah McKenzie, WR: McKenzie had two catches for 40 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown, for the Bills. He also had a 4-yard rush.

    Deandre Baker, DB: The New York rookie got his first career start and had three tackles.

    Lorenzo Carter, LB: Carter posted four tackles, including half a sack, for the Giants.

    Alec Ogletree, LB: Ogletree had five tackles and defended one pass for New York.

 

    Lions 13, Chargers 10

    Matthew Stafford, QB: Stafford went 22-of-30 for 245 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions. He also rushed for 13 yards on four attempts. Stafford stands fourth in the NFL in passing touchdowns (four) as well as fifth in passing yards (630) and total yards per game (320.5).

    John Atkins, DL: Atkins is a member of the Lions’ practice squad.

    Isaac Nauta, TE: Nauta is on Detroit’s practice squad.

    Thomas Davis, LB: Davis paced the Chargers with 12 tackles. He leads the NFL with 26 tackles.

 

    Patriots 43, Dolphins 0

    David Andrews, C: Andrews is on the Patriots’ injured reserve list for the season.

    Sony Michel, RB: Michel carried 21 times for 85 yards and a touchdown for New England.

    Ben Watson, TE: Watson will miss the Patriots’ first four games due to suspension.

    Isaiah Wynn, OL: Wynn started at left tackle for New England, but he left the game during the second series with a toe injury.

John Jenkins, DL: Jenkins had a sack for the Dolphins.

    Reshad Jones, DB: Jones was on the Dolphins’ inactive list with an ankle injury.

    Jonathan Ledbetter, DL: The Miami rookie was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 12 with an ankle injury. He will be eligible to return to the lineup for the Dolphins’ eighth game.

 

    Rams 27, Saints 9

    Todd Gurley, RB: Gurley carried 16 times for 63 yards and a touchdown for Los Angeles. He also had three catches for four yards. Gurley stands ninth in the NFL with 160 rushing yards.

    Natrez Patrick, LB: The Rams rookie logged 18 special teams snaps and two on defense but did not have any stats.

 

    Chiefs 28, Raiders 10

    Mecole Hardman, WR: The Kansas City rookie made the most of his first career start as he caught four passes for 61 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown. Hardman also had a 20-yard punt return and an 18-yard kickoff return.

 

    Colts 19, Titans 17

    Justin Houston, DE: Houston racked up four tackles and one quarterback hit for the Colts.

    Ben Jones, OL: Jones logged all 60 offensive snaps at center and helped the Titans accumulate 242 total yards.

    D’Andre Walker, LB: Walker is on the Titans’ injured reserve list for the season.

 

    Texans 13, Jaguars 12

    Chris Conley, WR: Conley hauled in four passes for 73 yards for the Jaguars.

    Abry Jones, DL: Jones started at nose tackle but did not record any stats.

    Terry Godwin, WR: Godwin was added to the Jaguars’ practice squad on Sept. 10.

 

    49ers 41, Bengals 17

    Geno Atkins, DL: Atkins posted four tackles for the Bengals.

    Cordy Glenn, OL: Glenn was on Cincinnati’s inactive list as he remains in concussion protocol.

    A.J. Green, WR: Green was on the Bengals’ inactive list due to an ankle injury.

    Shawn Williams, DB: Williams rolled up nine tackles for Cincinnati.

 

    Bears 16, Broncos 14

    Leonard Floyd, LB: Floyd had two tackles and a quarterback hit for the Bears. Floyd ranks 10th in the NFL with two sacks.

    Riley Ridley, WR: The rookie was on the inactive list (coach’s decision) for Chicago.

    Roquan Smith, LB: Smith paced the Bears with 13 tackles.

    Javon Wims, WR: Wims got 18 snaps on offense and eight on special teams but did not register any stats.

 

    Buccaneers 20, Panthers 14

    Elijah Holyfield, RB: Holyfield is a member of the Panthers’ practice squad.

 

    Ravens 23, Cardinals 17

    Lamont Gaillard, OL: The Cardinals rookie was on the inactive list due to a knee injury.

 

    Week 3 Schedule Involving Bulldogs

    (Games are on Sunday unless otherwise noted)

​Titans at Jaguars, Thursday; Bengals at Bills; Lions at Eagles; Jets at Patriots; Ravens at Chiefs; Falcons at Colts; Dolphins at Cowboys; Giants at Buccaneers; Panthers at Cardinals; Texans at Chargers; Rams at Browns; and Bears at Redskins, Monday.

 

Smart, Bulldogs Preview Notre Dame Game

ATHENS, Ga. —  University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, previewed Saturday’s game against Notre Dame. The Bulldogs and Fighting Irish kick off at 8 p.m. ET on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. 

On Monday, Coach Smart and student-athletes offered the following comments. 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening statement … 

We’re on to Notre Dame. I’m excited for this opportunity. I think it’s a great game to have, non-conference game. You play at home and a school with such a tradition as Notre Dame. Looking forward to the opportunity. I know a lot of Georgia fans have had this one marked on the schedule for a long time. So have a lot of Notre Dame fans. We’re excited to get the opportunity. They’ve got a really good football team. Got a lot of respect for Coach (Brian) Kelly and the job he’s done and what he’s built there, and their staff actually is one of the best staffs in the country. So good football players, and it should be a great opportunity for both teams.”

On the 2017 game being a launching point to current status…

“Yeah. I think that helps the trajectory of things. I mean it was a big win for us. It was a big win for Jake (Fromm), you know, to go on the road and play in a place like that and play well enough to win certainly helped things. There have been a lot of games since then, too.”

On Rodrigo Blankenship…

“Really not doing anything different with Rod. I think Coach (Scott) Fountain and his staff do a tremendous job of keeping Rod fresh. He kicks certain days of the week. He’s got a really good routine that he feels comfortable with. And he’s been pretty consistent kicking them out of the end zone. And he’s been consistent making the field goals and I think that’s a big part of what Rod’s game is, it’s just consistency and performance. He gives you a great effort day in and day out, and he’s kind of the leader of that specialist group.”

On non-conference games…

“It’s exciting for the fans. The fans enjoy these games. They want you to play high-caliber opponents. They want to see these kind of games and this kind of atmosphere. So it’s a Catch 22 between playing the lower division teams and giving an opportunity to fund their program versus giving fans what they want and playing a big-time non-conference matchup. I like the idea of both. I like having a mixture there, and I’m excited about this game because it’s the next game.”

On reflection of improvement after the 2017 Notre Dame game…

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I mean it was giving our kids an opportunity to perform at a high level, and that was a really good football team. We didn’t play perfect. They didn’t play perfect. It was a hard-fought game. Both teams got better by playing that game, and that was two good football teams. We were a good football team last year. They were a good football team last year. And we both have good football programs. We recruit at a high level. We both have really good academics, and I think both programs are here to stay.”

On Isaiah Wilson’s availability…

“Jamaree and Cade have done a good job. Cade repped there all camp. Jamaree repped there all camp. As far as Isaiah’s availability, I won’t know much until today. I’ll be able to watch him a little bit today. I think he’s come along well and we’ll find out more today.”

On playing in other big games…

“Well, the same way it helped them. They played in big games. They play a lot of big games annually. They had a playoff game last year against Clemson. They’ve got a lot of players who have played a lot of big games. So have ours.

The guys who haven’t for them and us that’ll be the biggest new experience for each one of them. And most of these kids nowadays are coming out of high school programs where they get to play in a lot of big games. But we have, especially at some positions, some guys who have played in a lot of big-time football games. You hope that helps them. But you look across their roster, there’s guys that have played there for quite a while as well.”

On running into Notre Dame players from Atlanta…

“Yeah. We cross paths with Notre Dame probably on two or three kids a year. But they do a great job recruiting. They’ve got a great opportunity and product to sell just like we do. And both those two kids we recruited really hard, and got a lot of respect for both of them. They come from great academic backgrounds, great families. Tremble’s dad played here right before I got here, was a great player; and he’s a really good player. So both those guys I have a lot of respect for them.”

On Notre Dame’s speed…

“They are getting a lot of turnovers and they’re not turning it over much. That’s one of the key critical factors of winning football games. And they’re beating everybody in the country at that. That probably tops out very low — not very penalized team. They’ve got a lot of discipline. They get turnovers, and they got good players and they execute at a high level. Their system on offense is very tough to defend because they’re very multiple in what they do, and they’re aggressive on defense, and their special teams is one of the best we’ve faced.”

On Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes working well as a pair on stopping Ian Book…

“I’m excited about what Eric and Tyson are both doing, but I’m also excited about Tyrique Stevenson and D.J. (Daniel), who continue to get better each day with their execution.

As far as Ian Book, he’s very talented. The guy is fast, explosive. He’s a dual-threat guy that doesn’t have to be a dual-threat guy. He is exactly what is hard to prepare for because when a play breaks down, a lot of times you think as a coach or defensive coach you got it right, you finally got it right, and then all of a sudden he gets a ten-yard gain on a play that you got it right on. You had him for a sack or you had him for a no gain, he turns it into a ten-yard game. He has a lot of explosive plays where he scrambles to throw and scrambles to run. He’s not a guy that just does one. He does both. And it’s frustrating. You have to be really patient because you want to get him as a rusher and then when you don’t get him, you get frustrated, and it goes from being a lost yardage play to being second and five. He’s really talented. Very impressed with him as a kind of commander and also as a scramble.”

On receivers’ injuries and Tyson Campbell’s injury…

“I don’t know much on any of those guys because, again, I haven’t been able to see them. So we’ll see how they go today. I think Tyler Simmons is going to be fine, like I talked about. I think D. Rob (Demetris Robertson) is going to be fine. We’ll find out today. Kearis (Jackson) is still injured and don’t know if we’ll be able to use him or not. And then Tyson Campbell we hope will be okay as well, but we’ll know a lot after today.”

On Tyson Campbell being more confident at cornerback position…

“Yeah. I’d say he’s more confident. You can’t help but be more confident when you go through a rookie season, you’re playing in the SEC and you’re playing opposite of D. Baker (Deandre Baker). So he got a lot of throws last year. He and Stokes both did. He’s a year older, a year stronger and a year more mature. He understands the system better and it allows him to play with a little more confidence.”

Thoughts on Notre Dame’s defensive line…

“Well, I don’t know anybody we’ve played recently that is like them on the defensive line. They have superior size and speed combination. They’ve got really good edge players. Their guys can get off the edge and rush really well. They do a tremendous job. Their guys can move around, just athletic. They’re very multiple in what they do and they’re disruptive. So I can’t really compare them to anybody that we’ve played thus far up front. Maybe some individuals that we’ve played up front, but not as a whole as a group. They do a great job, and they create a lot of issues for you with their movement and their pressure package. They’re really aggressive. We know they’re going to score points offensively.”

On J. R. Reed’s development…

“Since he’s been here since day one he’s been high character, working. You get the best of J. R. every day at practice. J. R. doesn’t take a day off. And that was when he was not even eligible to play. I mean he was a really hard worker, and that jumped out at you. He performed well, played well, I don’t even know what year he was at the time, I guess a sophomore when he had to play in this game and some other games that year. So he’s grown into a very confident, good leader. He helps the other guys on secondary and the other guys on defense know how to prepare for a game. I think in games like this he gives them some comfort in a guy that’s played in a lot of football games for us.”

On recruiting based on the Notre Dame game and having a strong schedule…

“I think having a strong schedule is a huge selling point, but in the SEC I think we all got that, because I really believe that the SEC schedule gives you the opportunity to play in the greatest venues in all of college football. You play in front of the largest fan bases, the largest attendance records. You’re going to get that in the SEC. This is just in addition to. This is a way to differentiate yourself from maybe the other SEC schools you’re recruiting against, because you’ve got the opportunity to play at Notre Dame and Notre Dame at home, so those things help.”

On his memory of big-game atmospheres…

“I don’t know. There’s been a lot of them. Since I’ve been here as a coach. When I was an assistant here as a coach and as a player, I mean there’s been a lot of big games and I think that’s what is great for the kids. You don’t have a ton of Top 10 matchups maybe the caliber of this one, but there’s a lot of Top 25 matches we’ve played in this stadium. So a great opportunity for our program to be on the national stage. It’s a great opportunity.”

On the Rodrigo scholarship and his popularity…

“I think they love him because he’s a Dawg through and through. He’s got a great personality. He loves Georgia. He sells Georgia. He’s a tremendous asset for us, but I love the kid as a person because of everything he’s persevered and been through. But the scholarship, we told him he was getting a scholarship, or I told him he was getting a scholarship before the game ever happened. Because he had earned it, and I thought it would be a tight ballgame and thought it might help his confidence knowing that he wasn’t having the pressure of a scholarship out there kicking. He already had it, and he had won the job and ended up coming out and making big field goals in the game. And we let everybody know afterwards, but he knew before.

On the impact of the magnitude of the Notre Dame game…

“We don’t really get into the exterior forces. I mean what’s going on outside, I mean you can think it’s going to affect our guys, but it’s really not supposed to. I mean we’re really playing the opponent that lines up across from us, and we even talk about playing ourselves more than anything. So I know our guys will be excited to play. I know it will be an awesome atmosphere. Our fans never fail when it comes to support and being there. It’ll be a record crowd with the additional seats. But after that it’s going to come down to football, and that’s what it always boils down to, who can block and tackle, and we’re going to go out there today and practice blocking and tackling.”

On the Notre Dame offense…

“There’s some similarities in what they’ve got. The quarterback’s got more experience and he’s really playing well, at a high level. Their system has some similarities. But they have different players at different spots. They’re a very talented offense and got a lot of weapons they can use. He does the best job of using the best players regardless of what personnel grouping that is.”

On the touchdown drive before the half in the Arkansas State game…

“Well, it’s something we work hard on. We want to take every opportunity that we can to score and be aggressive and try to do that with the quarterback we have and the offense system we have. He functions well when he gets an opportunity to do that. So any opportunity we get, whether it’s a defensive opportunity before the half to stop it and get it back to the offense or offense to go out and execute, it’s big, and I thought they handled that well Saturday.”

On the players playing the standard, not the opponent…

“You know, that team was very mature. I mean that was a new team to me starting the second year, but you look across that tape, offense and defensively, there are a lot of players who had played a lot of football. So I feel like that team understood how to play to the standard, and they kind of created the standard that is the standard. And this team is following in those footsteps from the standpoint of we’ve gotta have a standard of excellence every day at practice, and we gotta do that today, tomorrow and the next day to have the best opportunity Saturday.”

On his impressions of Notre Dame starters…

“A lot of returning starters. You look across the board, they’ve got 27-game starter, 27-game starter, 14-game starter, 19-game starter. I mean that’s very similar to us when it comes to guys that have played in big games. You look at their film last year, they’ve got basically the same offensive line with the exception of maybe one guy playing now. I know I’m comfortable with guys with experience. They’ve got really good experience on the front line. They have a good offensive line, and they’re really big and they’ll be the best group we’ve played because they have size. They got athleticism and they do a good job.”

#20 J.R. Reed | Sr. | DB

On how much impact Georgia’s 2017 win in South Bend had in establishing where Georgia is today…

“It just showed that everyone started buying into the program. We saw what we can do if we buy in and all work together, and all work for a common goal. It showed everybody a new era, and that’s Kirby Smart’s era.”

On what he remembers about Jake Fromm playing at Notre Dame…

“I don’t really remember much leading up to Jake. I was myself for that game. I remember he was very calm and very poised even then, like he always is.”

On what it was like in the locker room after the Notre Dame victory when Rodrigo Blankenship announced his scholarship…

“Man, with the win and then Rod announcing his scholarship— the locker room was nothing but joy. We were all just so excited. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.”

#77 Cade Mays | So. | OL

On the anticipation for this Saturday’s game…

“Yea this is definitely a huge game on Saturday. There’s going to be a huge crowd, huge venue; it’s going to be awesome. … I came here to play in a huge game in a huge atmosphere, to be put on the big stage and preform.”

 

On his dad playing for Tennessee in 1991 against Notre Dame…

“He did play on that team. I think he was a freshman or sophomore. He told me he played four snaps in that game. … It was definitely something he told me about growing up.”

 

On what stands out about Notre Dame’s defense…

“Speed. They have an older defense, too. They’ve got a bunch of older guys on the defense with a lot of experience and they’re fast. … The defensive line has a really good edge rusher, he’s really fast and uses his hands well and does a really good job of getting off blocks; the interior guys as well.”

#17 Eli Wolf | Sr. | TE

On controlling the emotions around a game like this…

“I just stay laser focused in my preparation. You won’t get nervous if you’re prepared for a game, and I think that’s the biggest point of the week going into it is preparation. If you’re prepared, you won’t be as nervous.” 

 

On the atmosphere in his first night game at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium…

“It’s going to be a wild one. I think everyone knows that and Coach Smart’s made it very clear that there’s going to be a lot of hype around this game but don’t get caught up in it. We’re here to do one thing.”

 

On the role he can play as an older teammate…

“Have maturity and remain constant. Don’t let [the younger guys] get caught up in the moment. I’ve played in games like this and I know a lot of guys here have played in games like this so remaining constant for those guys and keeping a level head.”

#51 David Marshall | Sr. | DE

On his memory of the 2017 Notre Dame game…

“It was just a great experience. It was my first time ever playing Notre Dame my sophomore year. Seeing all the friends traveling with us was really great to see. It just made the whole experience great.”

On reflecting back on how Georgia has developed from that game and beyond…

“I just see a lot of improvement. We just started to buy in to the type of program Coach Smart wanted, and once we did that we started becoming a great team. We’ve all become pretty close, so now our team is a brotherhood.” 

 

Dominick Blaylock, George Pickens Shine in Georgia 55-0 win

By Dan Mathews

ATHENS- No one could have blamed Georgia, if they did not show up like they did in a 55-0 win over Arkansas State. The real game is next week in Athens.

All week leading up to this game, Kirby Smart talked about the Red Wolves as a team that could cause problems for the Bulldogs. If they could, then the players did not let many of their positive attributes show.

The brightest part of the Georgia win, was the coming out party for freshman wide receivers Dominick Blaylock and George Pickens. Both led the team in catches with five for Pickens and and four to Blaylock.

Blaylock’s performance today, comes just two weeks after he registered a ‘did not play’ against Vanderbilt to open the season. He showed UGA fans exactly how explosive he can be as a wide receiver, when he broke off a 60 yard catch and run touchdown in the second quarter.

Pickens was targeted by quarterback Jake Fromm with two deep passes early in the game. Both fell incomplete.

The freshman wide receiver from Hoover (Ala.) High was soon able to dazzles Georgia fans with his skillset. This included a 12 yard catch against the Bulldogs sideline, where he need to “tightrope” his way to pulling in the reception.

The two freshmen were not the only ones who were stars in this win. Graduate transfer Lawrence Cager also showed that he can be relied upon in the passing game.

Cager was able to pull in his first touchdown catch of the season, when Fromm found him from five yards out at the end of the first half.

The Miami transfer also helped Blaylock spring for that long touchdown, with a block on the perimeter. He also appeared to drive his defender into the end zone, when running back James Cook scored on a 37 yard run in the third quarter.

As an offense, Georgia was able to post 656 yards of total offense on 66 plays. They would have an even split of plays in 33 runs and 33 passes.

This game also came at a price for Georgia on the offensive side of the ball. Senior wide receiver Tyler Simmons left with an apparent shoulder injury.

The shoulder issue was enough to remove Simmons from the game in the first half. Kirby Smart did not seem to be overly concerned about it’s severity in his post game press conference.

Defensively, Georgia held the Red Wolves to just 220 yards of total offense. They also were able to cause “havoc” on the Arkansas State offense.

The Bulldogs were able to sack quarterbacks Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher four times. They also defended eight passes in this game.

Georgia’s defense posted seven tackles for a loss. defensive tackle Tyler Clark had the most, with one and a half.

Kirby Smart was able to accomplish most of what he’d hope to see out of his team on a Saturday afternoon. They won, looked focused and was able to keep his team relatively injury free.

Now, the attention can turn to Notre Dame. If the Bulldogs intensity is anywhere near where it was against Arkansas State, then it should be another satisfactory Saturday in Athens.

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No. 3 Georgia Defeats Arkansas State, 55-0

ATHENS, Ga. – The No. 3-ranked Georgia Bulldogs totaled nearly 700 yards of offense and held Arkansas State scoreless in a 55-0 win Saturday at a sold-out Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. 

Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) finished with 656 total yards, while the Bulldogs’ defense helped the team record its largest margin of victory under head coach Kirby Smart. Arkansas State finished with 220 total yards, including just 43 on the ground. 

Junior quarterback Jake Fromm completed 17-of-22 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns, while junior tailback D’Andre Swift led all rushers with 76 yards on the ground. 

“We played really hard and we were focused,” Smart said. “Our Saturday scrimmages leading up the season helped us toward that. We started fast and really played hard. … We did some good things. At the end of the day, it’s all about execution. You can’t have a lack of focus or discipline, and our kids did that.”

Swift did most of the heavy lifting on Georgia’s first offensive possession with two rushes for 17 yards. Brian Herrien capped off the six-play, 60-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 7-0. 

Following an Arkansas State three-and-out, Georgia’s drive stalled at the Red Wolves’ 12-yard line. Senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship knocked in a field goal from 29 yards and followed with a  41-yarder to send the Bulldogs to the second quarter with a 13-0 advantage.

Georgia scored quick with 60-yard TD strike from Fromm to freshman Dominick Blaylock on the first play of the second quarter. Swift added a 48-yard TD dash and Lawrence Cager caught a five-yard TD score to give the Bulldogs a 34-0 halftime advantage. 

Georgia’s defense held the Red Wolves to just 81 yards in the first half, including 11 total yards in the opening quarter. 

It was much of the same in the final 30 minutes. The Bulldogs added a 37-yard touchdown from James Cook, a one-yard score from Zamir White and a 62-yard scamper from Kenny McIntosh to put the final score at 55-0. 

The Bulldogs return home next Saturday, Sept. 21 to take on Notre Dame at 8 p.m. ET.