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.