NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs used a prolific ground attack and a limiting defense to sink the Vanderbilt Commodores 45-14 Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium.
The Bulldogs improved to 6-0 on the season for the first time since 2005 and moved to 3-0 in the conference. Vanderbilt dropped to 3-3 on the season and remains winless in the conference at 0-3.
“Physicality on the front, I was really proud of the offensive line today,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “They had a little bit of a chip on their shoulders from last year, because they didn’t feel like they played their best game against that team. Obviously, they don’t have some of the same guys back, but they have some of them – it was the same defensive lineman. We think our offensive line played physical and our backs ran hard. Jim (Chaney) called a good game and the offense did a nice job today.”
Georgia amassed a season-high 423 rushing yards as senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel led the way with 138 and 150 yards, respectively. The 100-yard rushing game marked Chubb’s 21st of his career and his two touchdowns moved him ahead of Todd Gurley and Lars Tate for career rushing touchdowns with 37.
“Sony (Michel) and Nick (Chubb) are a dynamic duo,” Smart added. “What a blessing to have them back. They run with great pad level. They are tough kids and the proudest thing I’m of them is that they protected the ball.”
Through the air, freshman quarterback Jake Fromm went 7-for-11 for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Fromm also gained 36 yards with his feet on four carries. Leading the receiving group, wide out Terry Godwin had 70 yards on two catches including one touchdown. Freshman tailback D’Andre Swift also added a receiving score.
Defensively, junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith was the team’s leading tackler for the fourth time this season as he collected seven total stops and added a pass breakup. The Bulldogs held the Commodores to 6-of-15 on third downs and yielded only 64 rushing yards.
On Georgia’s opening possession, the Bulldogs marched 83 yards on seven plays – all on the ground – concluding with a 33-yard touchdown run by Chubb who tallied 69 yards on five carries in the drive.
The Bulldogs’ second scoring drive started after the Commodores shanked a punt, leaving Georgia a short field to work with. On a 3rd-and-goal, Fromm connected with Swift out of the backfield for a 5-yard touchdown pass to put UGA up 14-0 early in the second quarter. Michel notched 46 yards on the ground on five carries in the eight-play drive.
Georgia’s longest drive of the first half lasted 8:12 and ended with a 14-yard scamper by Chubb that made it 21-0. Earlier in the drive on a 3rd-and-14, Fromm found Godwin for a 23-yard gain that put Georgia on Vandy’s side of the field. The last two plays of the drive consisted of a read-option keep by Fromm for 16-yards and Chubb’s untouched score.
Vanderbilt broke Georgia’s defensive streak of scoreless quarters at seven when the Commodores punched in a rushing touchdown in the final minute of the first half to make it 21-7.
At the half, Georgia had 224 total yards with 173 yards coming from the rushing attack on 24 carries and 51 yards through the air. Fromm was an efficient 5-for-7, while Chubb already eclipsed the 100-yard mark at 106.
It took all of one minute and 46 seconds and four plays for Georgia to strike in the opening possession of the second half. After a 20-yard gain by Michel, Fromm threw a dart to Godwin for a 47-yard touchdown, giving Georgia a 28-7 lead.
The Georgia defense forced a three-and-out of the Commodores on the next possession, giving the offense the ball again. The Bulldogs bested their last scoring drive by scoring on the third play this time. Michel busted through the middle and bolted 50 yards for a touchdown, which put him over the 100-yard rushing mark. The drive was all Michel as he carried it three times for 64 yards.
Redshirt sophomore place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship booted five touchbacks and added a 27-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter.
Georgia finished its scoring display in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard run by sophomore back Elijah Holyfield. Holyfield finished with 51 yards on seven carries.
Georgia completed the game with a season-high 549 total yards and was 4-for-4 in the red zone to stay perfect in that area at 23-for-23 on the season. The Bulldogs also collected a season-best 27 first downs.
The Bulldogs continue conference play against the Missouri Tigers at Sanford Stadium Saturday, October 14th. SEC Nation set is tabbed to be on the Athens campus prior to the scheduled 7:30 p.m. kickoff on SEC Network.