UGA Sports Communications
ATHENS, Ga. — The 11th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs were impressive in nearly every phase of the game Saturday evening as they took down No. 17 Mississippi State, 31-3, in front of a capacity crowd of 92,746 at Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs from Athens improve to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference action this season, while Mississippi State picked up its first loss of 2017 to fall to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play.
In an all-around sound performance, Georgia out gained Mississippi State yardage wise by a 404 to 280 total. MSU came into Saturday’s contest averaging an SEC-best 47.7 points and 493 yards per game.
Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm hit 9-of-12 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, while a balanced rushing attack featured a quartet of Bulldogs that included Nick Chubb with 81 yards, D’Andre Swift with 69, Sony Michel with 32 and Brian Herrien with 21.
Definsively, redshirt-sophomore defensive back J.R. Reed led Georgia with 10 tackles, while both Deandre Baker and Dominick Sanders recorded interceptions — Georgia’s first of the year. On special teams, sophomore place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship continues his torrid pace on kickoffs with six touchbacks and added a 49-yard field goal.
“We came out and played with a lot of toughness,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “Our mantra all week was discipline, discipline, discipline. I thought we executed pretty well.”
It took just 10 seconds for Georgia to get on the board on its first offensive possession. On a flea-flicker play, Chubb tossed the ball back to Fromm, who found Terry Godwin open down the middle for a 59-yard score.
On the next offensive possession, Georgia put the ball in the end zone once again — this time Chubb ran it in from 7-yards out to cap off an 8-play, 78-yard drive. The Bulldogs from Starkville added a field goal in the second quarter and the two teams went to the half with Georgia leading 14-3.
The second half started much like the first for the SEC East Bulldogs. This time, Chubb took a direct snap 28 yards on UGA’s first possession to give the home team a 21-3 lead.
As was the case most all night, Georgia’s defense came up with a big play as Baker picked off a Nick Fitzgerald pass to set the Bulldogs up in Mississippi State territory. Georgia converted on a 3rd-and-1 as Fromm hit sophomore tight end Isaac Nauta across the middle on a play action pass.
Not to be outdone, Baker’s teammate Sanders picked off a pass on MSU’s next possession to set up a 49-yard field goal by Blankenship. The Marietta, Georgia native connected from that distance to give Georgia the final 31-3 advantage.
“We finally had a couple of turnovers,” Smart added. “It’s been a long time coming. I can’t say enough about our defensive staff. They have worked really hard with the defensive group.”
Next up, Georgia heads to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the Volunteers in a nationally-televised game on CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET this coming Saturday.