Bulldog fans in Sanford Stadium and across America turned out in pink this afternoon to honor Wendy Anderson, late wife of Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson.
And while Coach Anderson, his family, and his team certainly remain in our thoughts, it’s safe to say that the Georgia Bulldogs did not enter this matchup with any intention of taking it easy on the Red Wolves. They left having asserted their claim to a place atop the college football polls, blanking the Sun Belt visitors 55-0.
With rare exception, everything worked for Georgia on this day. The ‘Dawgs churned out 656 yards of offense while also giving up only 220, and a mere 43 yards on the ground. The humongous UGA offensive line pushed the Red Wolves around to the tune of 268 yards rushing on 33 carries, a nifty 8.1 yard per carry average. That’s to say nothing of the 388 yards of passing offense between Fromm and Stetson Bennett. That was the most passing yards by Georgia in a game since the Red and Black and Aaron Murray threw for 415 against Auburn on November 16, 2013.
The UGA defense sacked Arkansas State quarterbacks four times and hit starter Logan Bonner in particular early and often. The Red Wolves thought their veteran receiving unit would be a good matchup against a young Georgia secondary, but never really had a chance to find out because the Athenians’ front seven was active from the first snap to the last. Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and his staff gave Notre Dame a variety of blitz schemes to consider for next week. It’s safe to say young Bonner was not a fan of this plan.
It was utter domination on the part of the Red and Black, who looked as much like a top 3 team as they have so far in 2019. Jake Fromm finished the day a crisp 17 of 22 passing for 279 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Go ahead, call Jake Fromm a “game manager.” He’s a game manager whose management toolbox includes a flame thrower and a set of well-worn dental implements. The Bryan Mills of game managers. He will find your weaknesses. And he will exploit them.
D’Andre Swift led all Bulldog rushers with 9 carries for 76 yards and also added 64 yards and a touchdown receiving. You get the feeling that at some point this season Georgia is going to need Swift to put up video game numbers against a solid opponent. You also get the impression he’ll be up to the task. Kenny McIntosh added 5 yards on 3 carries. He added 62 yards on his fourth carry, however, to finish second on the team with 67 yards. As we discussed back on Signing Day McIntosh somehow was a sleeper recruit despite being one of the top dozen or so tailback recruits in the 2019 class. He’s going to be a key contributor before very long.
13 different Bulldogs caught passes on the day, but none more than freshmen Dominick Blaylock (4 REC, 112 YD, 1 TD) and George Pickens (5 REC, 84 YD), who seem to be transitioning further into the heart of the receiver rotation every week. We’re awaiting word on the status of Tyler Simmons, who injured his right shoulder while being slammed out of bounds in the first quarter. If he can’t go against Notre Dame Georgia will be fine, but it would be better if the veteran receiver were able to go next week.
Also a question mark will be sophomore cornerback Tyson Campbell, who had a couple of solid pass breakups before leaving with an undisclosed foot injury. Hopefully Coach Smart will provide some additional info on those guys in his postgame remarks.
All in all, it was a great day to be a Georgia Bulldog and a great effort from the Georgia Bulldogs. The Red and Black will now turn their focus to a matchup with a top ten Notre Dame squad looking to avenge a close loss in South Bend two years ago that helped propel Georgia into the national title discussion. We’re a quarter of the way through the regular season, and only a week away from one of the most anticipated football games in Sanford Stadium history.
We don’t yet know exactly how good this Bulldog team will be, but today they didn’t do anything to disabuse anyone of the notion that the answer could be “very, very good.” Until later . . .