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College Football
Sam’s 7: 7 Takes on UGA vs Notre Dame
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Sam’s 7: 7 Takes on UGA vs Notre Dame

Sam’s 7: 7 Takes on UGA vs Notre Dame

Sam’s 7: 7 Takes on UGA vs Notre Dame

With neutral site games becoming all the rage in college football, the traditional “home-at-home” series between big time teams are becoming less and less frequent. It seems like some programs would much rather play in a big NFL stadium and not have to go to the other school’s campus. It’s unfortunate, because it takes away chances for fans to take these road trips to places they wouldn’t normally go. Luckily for some of us Georgia fans, we got to take one of these trips this last weekend. The Bulldog Nation definitely took over the Midwest, Chicago and South Bend in particular. It ended up being a great weekend for the Dawgs as they gutted out a win against Notre Dame, and here’s what I saw from the game and from an amazing weekend:

1. Dominant might be an understatement: Georgia won this game because of their defense. Period. Roquan Smith, Davin Bellamy, and Lorenzo Carter all played like animals and could not be stopped by what was supposed to be one of the best offensive lines in the country for the Fighting Irish. Three Notre Dame players ran for over 100 yards against Temple in their first game, but that definitely did not happen against Georgia. In fact, no Notre Dame player had a rush of over 8 yards against the Dawgs. Bellamy and Carter each forced fumbles on sacks, and Carter recovered both of them. Georgia’s defensive speed was a big problem for Notre Dame all night. On Carter’s sack/forced fumble, he ran straight at quarterback Brandon Wimbush basically untouched, and on the game clinching sack/forced fumble, Bellamy blew right past very highly rated left tackle Mike McGlinchey. Wimbush could not get comfortable at any point during this game, and it was because Georgia’s defense was the definition of dominant. 

2. Fromm the freshman: This game was Jake Fromm’s first career start, and he played like it. He had some good moments for sure, but he never really got into a rhythm. It didn’t help that he had some dropped passes (including the huge one by Mecole Hardman), and it also didn’t help that it seemed like the coaching staff was hesitant to let him test Notre Dame deep. One thing that is often overlooked is when a player can or cannot tell if the coaches are confident in him. This being Fromm’s first start, in combination with that possible lack of trust (at least in this game), that’s a lot to deal with for a freshman. Granted, Fromm made some big mistakes (like trying to force a pass to a well-covered Isaac Nauta that got intercepted or the fumble on the exchange with Nick Chubb), but I also feel like Jim Chaney could have done some things differently to help out his freshman quarterback. I’d look for Fromm to be on a much looser leash against Samford this weekend. 

3. Can’t shoot yourself in the foot: Georgia had a very big problem with penalties in this game. Any time you have 12 of them for 127 yards, that’s going to be very hard to overcome. The Dawgs should have had a kick return touchdown by Elijah Holyfield, but it was called back for a hold. There were also multiple times where Notre Dame had drives extended due to dumb penalties on Georgia’s defense. I’m not saying bad officiating isn’t partly to blame, because some of these calls were suspect, but both teams have to deal with the officials. Blaming them doesn’t make up for mistakes that a team makes. This is definitely something to pay attention to going forward, because if Georgia wants to get to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the SEC Championship, they’re going to have to cut out the penalties. 

4. D’Andre is making a Swift impact: We all remember D’Andre Swift’s awesome commitment video. It showed off his hometown of Philadelphia and ended with Swift committing to the G. With Georgia getting Sony Michel and Nick Chubb to come back for their senior seasons, nobody was sure what Swift’s role would be for the 2017 Bulldogs. Well, after the first two games, I think Swift has proven that he needs to get more touches. In fact, Coach Smart said exactly that after the game. With the Dawgs down 16-10 in the 3rd quarter, Swift busted out a 40-yard rush that set up a go ahead Sony Michel touchdown. The Dawgs don’t win this game without that play. Georgia was having trouble consistently moving on offense, which makes the big plays stand out even more. Swift has game-breaking ability, and he will definitely be a big part of Georgia’s success for the rest of the season. 

5. Goggles on scholarship: Despite missing a field goal in this game, Rodrigo Blankenship did hit two, including the game winner. The drama surrounding Georgia’s kicker is well documented, but it seems to finally be over now. After the game, Coach Smart told Rodrigo to tell the team what he found out the day before: that he had been put on scholarship. It was a great moment seeing the team’s reaction and how happy they were for their teammate. I wish his Dad had gone about the whole scholarship situation a little differently, but all’s well that ends well. It always felt like Georgia was going to take care of Blankenship, and this situation just proves that good things come to those who wait. 

6. A neutral site game in South Bend: Notre Dame fans… What were you doing? I never thought in a million years that there would be as many Georgia fans inside of Notre Dame Stadium as there were on Saturday night. So many Notre Dame fans selling their tickets to Georgia fans was a big reason that the Dawgs were able to win this game. If I’m a player or coach for the Fighting Irish, I would feel betrayed by my fan base. I get it that Georgia fans were offering A LOT of money for the tickets, but this should have been a special game for Notre Dame fans too. An SEC team that won the only previous meeting between the two teams should have (and did) made for an attractive game. Instead, Notre Dame fans allowed Georgia fans to take that stadium over and provide the Dawgs a ton of support. As good as Georgia’s fan base looks for how many fans showed up, Notre Dame’s fan base looks the exact opposite for letting this happen. 

7. A sports trip like no other: Outside of seeing the Dawgs win a National Championship or the Falcons win a Super Bowl in person, this weekend was easily the best sports road trip of my life. I got to see Vince Dooley throw out the first pitch AND Georgia fans call the Dawgs at Wrigley Field, UGA win at Notre Dame Stadium, and the Falcons beat the Bears at Soldier Field. Chicago was already one of my favorite cities in the country, but it will forever have a soft spot in my heart for providing me with a temporary home for all of these awesome events. I mentioned this earlier, but college football needs more of these home-at-home series with big time programs facing each other. Not every one would work out like this with two in state teams playing so close together on consecutive days, but the opportunity to see a place like South Bend or the Rose Bowl (which UGA will get to do in 2025) is something that every fan base should get. I know it’s a trip that I will never, ever forget. 

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Georgia Sports News

  • OXFORD, Miss. — Georgia Lady Bulldog junior forward Caliya Robinson scored a season-high 28 points to lead her team to a 66-52 victory Monday evening at The Pavilion on the Ole Miss campus.  The Lady Bulldogs, now 22-5 overall and 10-4 in the SEC, saw their 17-point halftime lead trimmed down to a one-point margin in the third quarter, before outscoring the Rebels 18-8 in the fourth.  Robinson’s 28 points were just two shy of her career-high 30 that she scored last season against Minnesota. In addition to Robinson’s performance, freshman Que Morrison finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.  “We never gave up the lead, but I thought we just came out sluggish in that third quarter,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “Ole Miss was aggressive after the half and we started fouling and giving up offensive boards. In the fourth, we went back to what we do best. It’s always tough to win on the road and we have another tough one Thursday at Alabama.' Robinson scored Georgia’s first 10 points as she outscored the whole Ole Miss team, 10-5 out of the gate. Haley Clark and Mackenzie Engram were the only other Lady Bulldogs to score in the first period as Georgia finished just 7-of-18 from the field. Still, the Lady Bulldogs led 15-12.  Simone Costa nailed a 3-point basket to begin the second quarter, before the Lady Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run later in the frame to take a commanding 26-13 lead.  Georgia allowed the Rebels to score just six points in the second quarter, outscoring Ole Miss 20-6. Georgia finished the first 20 minutes with a 48-percent mark from the field en route to a 35-18 halftime lead.  Robinson started the second half much like the first, scoring her team’s first four points. Following two free-throws by Morrison, Georgia missed eight of its next nine shots to allow the Rebels to cut the 17-point margin to just one — 45-44. The Lady Bulldogs finished the third with nine team fouls, compared to just two from Ole Miss.  Engram saved Georgia late in the period with a big 3-pointer to extend it to 48-44 going into the fourth. The Lady Bulldogs built on Engram’s late basket and held the Rebels to just 22 percent shooting over the final 10 minutes to pick up the win,  Georgia now hits the road to face Alabama on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. 
  • The Atlanta Hawks are tied for the worst record in the NBA. Predictably, the team’s local TV ratings have dropped dramatically. The decline is the largest by any NBA team in its home market this season. > More:  How many Atlantans are watching Hawks games? All 82 Hawks games this season are being televised on Fox Sports Southeast. The Hawks’ next game is Friday at Indiana.  > Also:  Seating changes coming to SunTrust Park
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a good birds-eye view of a few trends that are emerging already for the class of 2019.  The eyes are on the horizon today for UGA recruiting regarding the class of 2019. The Bulldogs have seven commitments and still hold a 167.13-151.64 edge on Miami for the nation’s top But that race still has a lot of track left to go. The better topic for today is to try and pick up any hints as to what the class will look like in 2019. We can look at the level of offers that the Bulldogs are sending out a recruiting trail and follow those data points. They show where the staff feels its needs are in the class of 2019. But before we probe forward, it also helps to see just exactly what the Bulldogs have done so far under Kirby Smart. Check out these position-by-position recaps of what the positions the Bulldogs have recruited since Smart’s first class in 2016. We will also trim the players from those signing classes that are no longer with the team from our findings. The class recaps maintained by 247Sports allow us to bring this research forward very clearly for this exercise, but we are going to dial in a few elements here. For example, Charlie Woerner was rated as the nation’s No. 25 receiver back in 2016, but he’s always been a tight end at UGA. The example set by 5-star Mecole Hardman, Jr. also refines our thinking. Hardman was recruited as an athlete, spent his freshman season at cornerback but then moved to receiver in 2017. He’s classified as a receiver in the following data tables. The same goes for players at other positions as well. Position 2016 2017 2018 Offense QB 1 1 1 RB 2 1 2 WR 3 4 2 TE 2 0 2 OT 0 3 2 OG 2 2 2 OC 1 0 1 K 0 0 0 Totals 11 11 12 Defense  2016  2017   2018 DT 3 0 3 DE 1 1 0 OLB 1 2 4 ILB 1 3 1 CB 0 4 4 S 0 4 1 P 1 0 1 Totals 7 14 14 Overall class total 18 25 26 Why just the last three classes, you say? It is interesting to note that there will still be holdovers from Mark Richt’s last two singing class in Athens this fall. There look to be two potential starters from 2014 (Lamont Galliard, Kendall Baker) that remain on the 2018 roster. That number only expands to five likely starters or heavy contributors (Terry Godwin, Jonathan Ledbetter, Natrez Patrick, D’Andre Walker and Deandre Baker) among the approximate 16 holdovers from the class of 2015. Smart’s first three classes are by and large the ones that will still have viable eligibility in 2019. What does the recruiting picture look like for 2019 then?  We can then check to see an early read on 2019 by how many offers the Bulldogs have extended for 2019. UGA fired off 295 scholarship offers over the last cycle along the way to the nation’s top-rated recruiting class for 2018. The staff sent out offers to 49 receivers among that lot, including another 38 to cornerbacks, 35 to defensive ends (strong-side and weak-side) and another 31 offers to defensive tackles. Just by looking at the tables, we can see what the needs look like for 2019. QB: 1 RB: 0 WR: 3 TE: 2 OT: 2 OG: 2 OC: 0 K: 0 DE: 3 DT: 3 OLB: 2 ILB: 3 CB: 2 S: 2 P: 0 Total: 25 (of a possible 25) Those seem like the likely totals for 2019 and there would be room for another player at RB, OLB or CB in terms of the best player available for the class. Of course, these are not the actual numbers but rather the best guess for what the class will look like in 2019 given everything we’ve shared so far along this specific blog. Does this hold up so far in real life? Here’s a look at what the offer totals look like across those varied positions so far for 2019. QB: 10 (5 Dual-threats, 5 Pro-Style) RB: 9 WR: 28 (Already with a pair of 5-star commits) TE: 5 (Already with a 4-star commit) OT: 22 (Already with a 4-star commit) OG: 2 OC: 7 K: 3 DE: 33 (Both strong-side and weak-side DEs) DT: 31 OLB: 14 (Already with a 5-star commit) ILB: 2 (Already with a 4-star commit) CB: 38 (Already with a 4-star commit) S: 19 ATH: 9 P: 1 Total: 192 It is interesting to immediately note how heavy the Bulldogs are going at the CB and DT positions so far prior to March of this cycle. The numbers at wide receiver and tackle on the offensive side of the ball are also indicative of a clear trend. The fact that the Bulldogs are only 110 offers away from surpassing last year’s offer total is also telling. It seems clear that the Bulldogs are casting a wider net across the nation for its 2019 class.   Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap. The post UGA recruiting: A sneak peek into how the next recruiting class at UGA will shape up appeared first on DawgNation.
  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Chipper Jones says this spring will be wide open for the Atlanta Braves. 'Guys need to know that this team and this organization are tired of the last few years,' the former Braves star after Monday's first full-squad workout. 'We're a very proud organization. We went through a rough offseason with the changing of the (front office), but ... there's definitely a change in attitude. You see it in the way the coaching staff is putting together spring training.' The 45-year-old Jones was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility this winter. His 19-year career, all with Atlanta, ended in 2012 and nearly coincided with the Braves' run of 14 straight division titles. They come into 2018 on a streak of four straight losing seasons, including last year's 72-90 mark. In his role as a special assistant, the star third baseman is hoping that competition for positions might spark a revival. 'It's a free-for-all,' Jones said. 'There are a few people who had big league jobs last year who need to come in here and play for their spot.' Jones' assessment might apply to almost any player except first baseman Freddie Freeman and Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte. There is also competition for two spots in the rotation after the Braves traded for right-hander Brandon McCarthy. 'It's a little bit about change,' manager Brian Snitker said. 'It's a different camp, a young camp.' Snitker's immediate concern is getting ready for exhibition games this weekend after just a handful of workouts. 'We probably did more than we normally would (on the first day),' he said. 'I don't care how good a shape they're in, it still takes a lot to get used to and you're going to get sore. That's just part of the process. We started live (batting practice) already today, which we have to do to prepare for the games. We're kind of amping things up a bit quicker than normal.' Much of the spring focus will be on prospects, starting with 20-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuna. 'He's as good a prospect as I've seen,' Jones said. 'You've got your cornerstone guy in Freddie, and it's going to be interesting to see if (Acuna) can continue to develop as the second guy.' In camp as a non-roster player, Acuna is a long-shot to make the opening day roster. But after trading Matt Kemp to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that brought in McCarthy, the Braves have only four roster outfielders - Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Lane Adams and Preston Tucker. 'The first day of spring training is like the first day of school,' Jones said. 'You get to see all the guys again and the guys out here have something to prove. But there's really only a couple spots where you can say the team is cemented. Everywhere else is a free-for-all and I think that makes for a competitive camp. We'll see how the young guys respond to it.' NOTES: Veteran relief Peter Moylan was set to rejoin the Braves, according to reports. The 38-year-old right-hander, who pitched 79 times for Kansas City, will join Atlanta for a third time pending a physical. Moylan pitched for the Braves from 2006 through 2012 and again in 2015.