by Jason Howard Kelly
Do you like defense, punting, and running? Then this game between the #15 Georgia Bulldogs and #24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish was right up your alley. For the first time in 52 years the Georgia Bulldogs played a game north of the Mason-Dixon line, and through gritty defense and power running they were victorious.
One of the largest question marks heading into this game for Georgia was how freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, would perform in place of regular starter, Jacob Eason. Luckily for Fromm he did not have to do a whole lot, as Georgia dominated this game with their defense against the Fighting Irish.
The star of this game throughout was, undoubtedly, junior linebacker Raquon Smith. Smith made his presence known on almost every play from scrimmage, plunging his way into the Notre Dame backfield and blowing up numerous plays. Smith made life a living hell for any Notre Dame back that attempted to move laterally out of the backfield, because he was able to get there before any of them could even turn their head around to see him.
The Georgia secondary also had an extremely impressive game, limiting the Irish through the air throughout the entire game. The Bulldogs were deflecting and breaking up pass plays left and right. In fact, had it not been for a few drops by the Bulldogs’ corners, they could have had at least three or four interceptions in this game. Notre Dame looked completely lost and defeated on offense. Georgia utterly stifled the Irish in their own backyard.
As for the offense it was essentially ‘Chubby & Michel’s South Bend Reunion’ (cheesy, I know). Jake Fromm, who is apt to slinging the ball all over the field, dialed himself back and allowed his two premier backs to handle the brunt of the offense. Chubb and Michel did a great job dictating the pace of this game, forcing Notre Dame’s defense to run around and wear themselves out attempting to stop the dynamic duo.
However, that is not to say that Fromm did absolutely nothing. Fromm completed a beautiful fade pass in the end zone to Terry Godwin, who made the highlight play of the night by snagging the ball with one hand to secure the touchdown.
This was an absolutely massive win for the Bulldogs. Not only did they defeat a top 25 ranked opponent but they did it in South Bend, one of the toughest venues for visiting teams. More importantly, they proved that their defense is legitimate and is ready to take on some of the top contenders in the SEC. Of course, the health of Jacob Eason will be a major factor in the coming weeks, but Georgia’s stout defense will keep them in every single game this year if they play the way they did tonight. It is not hyperbolic to say that this is, quite possibly, the biggest win of the Kirby Smart era in Georgia.