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No. 3 Georgia holds off No. 7 Notre Dame 23-17
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No. 3 Georgia holds off No. 7 Notre Dame 23-17

No. 3 Georgia holds off No. 7 Notre Dame 23-17
Photo Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Georgia running back D'Andre Swift (7) scores a touchdown in the first half of an NCAA football game against Notre Dame in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

Notre Dame wide receiver Lawrence Keys III (13) makes the catch against Georgia defensive back DJ Daniel (14) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Notre Dame wide receiver Lawrence Keys III (13) is hit by Georgia defensive back Eric Stokes (27) and Georgia defensive back J.R. Reed (20) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Georgia wide receiver Dominick Blaylock (8) runs near Notre Dame cornerback Shaun Crawford (20) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder (30) moves near Notre Dame offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer (78) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly speaks to an offical during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Georgia wide receiver Dominick Blaylock (8) runs up the sidelines against Notre Dame during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Notre Dame cornerback Shaun Crawford (20) tackles Georgia wide receiver Dominick Blaylock (8) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble (24) celebrates the touchdown of Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet (84) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Georgia running back D'Andre Swift (7) drags Notre Dame safety Jalen Elliott (21) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Georgia tight end Charlie Woerner (89) recovers ahis own fumble after a catch against Notre Dame during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

No. 3 Georgia holds off No. 7 Notre Dame 23-17

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - On a raucous Saturday night between the hedges, No. 3 Georgia held on for a gutsy win that might have ramifications all the way to the College Football Playoff.

For No. 7 Notre Dame, it was another big-game loss but a performance that should bring more respect.

Jake Fromm threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager early in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs survived for a 23-17 victory that was much tougher than many expected.

"That's what college football is all about, man," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "I hate that somebody had to lose that game. I've got a lot of respect for the way they played, and all the negative things they've heard, and to come out and play the way they did. They played really physical as a team, and so did we. We persevered."

The Bulldogs (4-0) trailed 10-7 at halftime but turned the momentum when redshirt freshman Divaad Wilson snatched away a deflected pass by Ian Book for an interception deep in Notre Dame territory.

The Fromm-to-Cager combination helped push Georgia to a 23-10 lead before the Fighting Irish (2-1) made a game of it at the end.

Book's 4-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool cut the deficit with 3:12 remaining, the Notre Dame defense held, and Book got the ball back at his own 48 after a poor punt with just under 2 minutes to go.

The Irish got as far as the Georgia 38, but no farther. It ended with Book zig-zagging on a desperate scramble before hurling up a long pass that fell incomplete, denying Notre Dame the signature win over a top opponent it so desperately needs in its first visit ever to Sanford Stadium.

"This stings a little bit," defensive lineman Khalid Kareem said. "But our morale is still high. The season's not over."

With Georgia up 13-10 after a pair of field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship, Cager hauled in a 36-yard pass along the sideline to push the Bulldogs into the red zone. Then, on third-and-7 from the 15, Notre Dame brought a blitz and Fromm coolly lofted one toward Cager along the left side of the end zone.

A half-foot taller than cornerback Troy Pride Jr., the 6-foot-5 graduate transfer leaped high to make the catch and tapped down his right foot before tumbling out of the bounds to put Georgia in command, 20-10 with 13:19 remaining.

Desperate to cut into the deficit, Notre Dame called a flea-flicker play. But when Book was pressured out of the pocket and let go of a pass on the run, J.R. Reed dove in front of the intended receiver to make a brilliant interception as he slid into the Irish bench.

Reed sprinted all the way across the field, hopped atop the Georgia bench and bounced for the record crowd of more than 93,000 while wearing shiny, Road Warrior-style shoulder pads that go to the latest Bulldog defender to get a turnover. It led to Blankenship's third field goal.

In a most efficient performance, Fromm was 20 of 26 for 187 yards. Cager was his favorite target, hauling in five passes for 82 yards.

D'Andre Swift led Georgia on the ground with 98 yards and a touchdown, including a dazzling play when he hurdled completely over a would-be tackler who went at his legs.

"We just kept hitting them, hitting them and hitting them, and it finally just started wearing on them," Fromm said. "We started running the ball more and started making plays throwing the ball."

A two-touchdown underdog, Notre Dame took advantage of a huge turnover by Georgia punt returner Tyler Simmons to grab the lead. Attempting to make a fair catch, he fumbled the ball away and Claypool recovered for the Irish at the Georgia 8 to set up Book's 1-yard touchdown pass to Cole Kmet on fourth down.

Book appeared to be trying to hit Tony Jones Jr. in the back of the end zone, but Kmet reached up with one hand to pull it down.

Swift scored on a 3-yard run to cap a 75-yard drive, but Jonathan Doerer booted a 27-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

Book finished 29 of 47 for 275 yards, giving Notre Dame a chance right to the end even though the Irish were outgained 152-46 in rushing yards.

"I left the field thinking we beat ourselves," Claypool said.

INJURY REPORT

The Bulldogs lost left guard Solomon Kindley in the first half with what appeared to be a left ankle injury.

Justin Shaffer took over and did a solid job, though Smart wasn't pleased with him getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Georgia's offensive line also was bolstered by the return of right tackle Isaiah Wilson, who had missed the last two games with an ankle injury. Without much practice time, he was able to take some meaningful snaps in the second half.

LET'S GET PHYSICAL

Notre Dame's Brian Kelly said it was "probably one of the most physical games I've coached."

"You could hear out there," he said. "The physicality was real."

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame: Dropping to 8-29 against Top 10 teams since Lou Holtz left after the 1996 season, this still seemed like a step in the right direction for the Fighting Irish. Instead of getting blown out against a leading opponent, as they were by Alabama in the 2013 BCS championship game and Clemson in last year's playoff semifinals, Notre Dame was in this game all the way.

But Book's two interceptions were a killer, and the Irish also seemed to struggle with the noise judging by five false-start penalties and a botched snap on a fourth-down play. "We practice in a loud environment," Kelly said. "I'm disappointed we didn't handle it better."

Georgia: After three straight blowout victories, the Bulldogs finally got the test they so desperately needed. Maybe it wasn't as dominating as some were expecting, but this was the sort of win that should look good on the resume if they're in the mix for a playoff spot.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Returns home next Saturday to host No. 21 Virginia.

Georgia: The Bulldogs are off next weekend before traveling to Tennessee for a Southeastern Conference game on Oct. 5.

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Read More

Georgia Sports News

  • ATHENS D'Andre Swift heard the boos and criticism over Georgia's run-heavy game plan in the rain and wind at Sanford Stadium. 'We're going to do what we need to do to win games,' Swift said. 'And if people don't like what we're doing, they shouldn't come to the games.' These Bulldogs needed an edge, a catalyst, and Swift is comfortable saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done. RELATED: Kirby Smart very pleased' with OC James Coley vs. Kentucky ' He brings energy without making plays, he's heart and soul, a leader,' Smart said. 'He's inspirational Swift gets the team involved by all the things he does and says. He cares.' Swift spoke up last week about the offense because he said he 'felt like something needed to be said.' The mood struck him again after Swift and his No. 10-ranked Georgia teammates slugged it out for four quarters of a 21-0 SEC victory over Kentucky. Swift had 21 carries for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns, most very inch earned against a stacked line of scrimmage with defenders outnumbering blockers. But Swift was asked once again about the UGA offense and James Coley's play calling. WATCH: Jake Fromm says UK win no beauty contest' 'Wet ball, couldn't really throw the ball how we wanted to,' said Swift, who earlier in the week said Georgia should be taking more shots down field to open up the run game. 'It was rough, because you can't really throw the ball like we wanted to, couldn't call plays we needed to call, real wet out there, ball was real slick, it is what it is.' But some Bulldogs' fans didn't see it that way. Boos rained down on Swift and his teammates, onlookers frustrated with the play calling and Kirby Smart's strategy on the cold, windy and wet night in Sanford Stadium. 'They could boo us, we're playing for each other, whoever's on that team, 11 on the field, 11 guys on the other side of the field,' Swift said. 'If they boo us, they boo us. I'm fine. As long as we're winning the games.' Winning football games is what Swift is all about. The junior from Philadelphia has been transparent about the this likely being his last season in Athens, and he aims to go out with a title. Swift leads SEC running backs with 752 yards rushing and 6.84 yards per carry, likely part of the reason Smart kept the ball on the ground. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who passed for a career-low 35 yards on 9-of-12 passing, said he didn't have a problem with Swift speaking up about the offense last week. 'He's big-time player for us in our offense, and for him to say that it's perfectly fine, we want to get better any way we can in practice,' Fromm said. 'Some things we could do tonight, and some things we couldn't.' As Smart said, 'h anding the ball to a guy is a helluva easier in those conditions.' Especially when it's Swift. 'D'Andre, he's always been the guy, he's a great playmaker for us in our offense and he did a great great job of showing that,' Fromm said. 'Many times tonight he put the team on his back and he ran with it.' Georgia RB D'Andre Swift Bulldogs hold at No. 10 in AP Top 25 poll Georgia football stock report, lock-down defense gets shutout D'Andre Swift gets game ball, carries Bulldogs to victory Georgia game recap, how the Bulldogs beat Kentucky WATCH: Kirby Smart proud Bulldogs able to chop wood' The post Georgia RB D'Andre Swift stands up for team, puts critics in their place appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Dan Quinn's job security keeps taking hits, and this week was no exception. Quinn, in his fifth year as the Atlanta Falcons' coach, watched what might have been his team's worst performance of the season Sunday, a 37-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He came across as a sympathetic figure while speaking with reporters after the game. Quarterback Matt Ryan had been hounded all day and knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with ankle and foot injuries. His defense, already the NFL's worst in most statistical categories, was torched again. And special teams utterly fell apart - missing a field goal, allowing a fake punt, giving up a long punt return, botching an onside kick and fumbling away a punt for a touchdown. Yet despite the latest evidence, Quinn said he didn't think the season, at 1-6, is entirely lost. His teams have dropped 11 of their past 15 games and have almost no hope of turning this season around. 'I never think you're out of the fight,' he said. 'You shouldn't think that way as a team member, and I certainly don't think that way as a coach. I recognize that when you don't play well, those are fair questions, but I don't think we're ever out of the fight.' Quinn, who led Atlanta to the 2016 NFC title, insisted he's still the right choice for the job and added he has no plans to step aside as defensive coordinator, a role he assumed after last season. But he looked like a man out of answers as he stepped down from the podium and over a few steps where Falcons owner Arthur Blank waited to give him a big hug. Blank said after huddling briefly with Quinn that he has no immediate plans to make a change and fire the coach. 'It's very disappointing for everybody,' Blank said. 'We understand that it is.' During the team's stay in Arizona two weeks ago, Quinn made some adjustments in defensive play-calling, appointing some of his assistants to help out during games and allow him to concentrate more on the big picture. Nothing has worked. The Falcons have lost five straight and have another tough assignment next week against contending Seattle. Players have said throughout the season that they are to blame for not executing the game plan, and defensive end Vic Beasley said that was the case again this time. 'It's very tough,' Beasley said. 'We definitely feel like we put a lot of time in each and every week and we definitely feel like we have the players to go out there and win, but it just ain't happening for us right now.' The Falcons allowed five sacks, as many as their defense has registered all year. They trailed by double digits at halftime for the fifth time and have been outscored by an aggregate 120-50 in the first half. Devonta Freeman finally snapped in frustration early in the third quarter and was ejected for throwing a punch at Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Freeman's departure left Atlanta with third-stringer Brian Hill and return specialist Kenjon Barner at running back. Top reserve Ito Smith was carted off the field at the end of the first quarter with head and neck injuries. Quinn will take the only course of action he knows, getting everyone back together Monday at team headquarters to dissect the latest loss. 'At the end of the day, it still counts on the performance,' he said. 'That's what you look to and when you're not meeting it, there's lots of reasons. That's why I try to spend most of my time saying, 'OK, how do we make sure all three phases can get connected to do it?' But you don't hit in one area, two areas or all three, you want to keep digging for the answers. It's definitely frustrating.' ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Jalen Ramsey's entrance boosted the Los Angeles Rams' hopes they can return to the postseason. Matt Ryan's exit with an ankle injury provided a painful reminder the Atlanta Falcons have little hope remaining to avoid another losing season. Jared Goff threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Rams returned to the site of last season's Super Bowl loss to beat the reeling Falcons 37-10 on Sunday. The Rams (4-3) snapped a three-game losing streak in the debut of Ramsey, the former All-Pro cornerback acquired from Jacksonville earlier in the week. With Ramsey's addition to the secondary, the Los Angeles defense enjoyed a productive day with five sacks, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown. 'We're back on track,' said linebacker Dante Fowler, who had three sacks and a forced fumble. Coach Sean McVay was impressed by Ramsey's ability to prepare for the game following Tuesday's trade from Jacksonville. 'I can't say enough about his ability to digest the game plan,' McVay said. 'I think it's just a real credit to our defensive coaches and then Jalen's ability ... to come in on short notice with such short practice time and do what he did. It was a good boost to our team, to be sure.' The Falcons (1-6) suffered their fifth straight loss. Ryan's right leg bent awkwardly as he was sacked by Aaron Donald in the fourth quarter, causing a fumble that Donald recovered. Ryan limped off the field and was escorted to the medical tent on the sideline. He walked to the locker room, still favoring the ankle, with 7:36 remaining in the game. Coach Dan Quinn said he did not know the severity of Ryan's injury. Ryan wore a walking boot in the locker room and was not made available for his usual postgame news conference. Donald was credited with a sack, forced fumble and recovery on the play. It was the Rams' fifth sack of Ryan, matching the five sacks by Atlanta's defense this season - none in the last four games. 'That amount of quarterback hits and sacks for sure was a real factor in this game,' Quinn said. Matt Schaub replaced Ryan and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper with 2:36 remaining. The final insult for Atlanta came with only 11 seconds left, when Kenjon Barner fumbled a punt return when hit by Troy Reeder and Darious Williams recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Ryan's injury was the latest and perhaps most damaging dose of bad news for the woeful Falcons. Quinn's job security appears shaky at best as he quickly runs out of time to avoid a second straight losing season. Quinn, who took on the added role of defensive coordinator following a 7-9 finish in 2018, revealed after the game that he began assigning some defensive play-calling duties to assistants in last week's loss at Arizona and continued to share that role on Sunday. 'I'm always looking to do anything that's best for the team,' Quinn said. 'My ego is never bigger than the team.' Quinn said he doesn't believe he has lost the team or the season. 'I never think you're out of the fight,' Quinn said. 'You shouldn't think that way as a team member and I certainly don't think that way as a coach.' Atlanta's frustrations showed in a third-quarter fight between running back Devonta Freeman and Donald that led to Freeman's ejection. The two locked up after Ryan's pass off Mohamed Sanu's hands was intercepted by Cory Littleton deep in Atlanta territory with the Rams leading 20-3. Freeman had his hands on Donald's facemask before throwing a punch at the much bigger defensive tackle, which appeared to make little if any contact. Umpire Terry Killens finally pulled Freeman away from Donald, taking Freeman to the ground in an apparent unintentional body slam before quickly helping Freeman to his feet. Each player drew unnecessary roughness penalties, and Freeman was tossed for throwing the punch. The turnover left the Rams at the Atlanta 16 for a short drive capped by Goff's 1-yard scoring run. With running back Ito Smith already out with an injury, Freeman's ejection left Brian Hill and return specialist Kenjon Barner as the options at running back. Goff completed 22 of 37 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Blake Bortles took over on the Rams' final possession. Atlanta's offense struggled even before Freeman's exit and Ryan's injury. The Falcons were limited to 224 yards. As expected, Ramsey shadowed Falcons standout Julio Jones much of the game. Jones had six catches for 93 yards in his first matchup with Ramsey. Goff threw a perfectly placed 13-yard touchdown pass to Todd Gurley early in the second quarter. He added an 8-yard scoring pass to Gerald Everett in the third quarter. INJURY REPORT Smith was carted off the field late in the first quarter with head and neck injuries following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Rams linebacker Cory Littleton. There was no flag. Smith did not return. TRADE RUMORS Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley Jr. said he has heard reports he could be traded. 'I'm aware of it,' he said. 'I'm just going to continue to try to help this team win games as long as I'm here. If a trade does happen, I'll just take it as it is.' NEW-LOOK SECONDARY Ramsey moved into a revamped secondary. The Rams placed cornerback Aqib Talib and safety John Johnson on injured reserve this week and traded cornerback Marcus Peters to Baltimore. That left safety Eric Weddle as the only holdover starter. The new mix held up well. Ryan completed 16 of 27 passes for only 159 yards with an interception. DIRTY BIRD, RAMS STYLE Everett, an Atlanta native, celebrated by doing the 'Dirty Bird' dance made famous in the Falcons' 1998 Super Bowl season. UP NEXT The Rams will remain in Atlanta to practice at Georgia Tech for a few days before flying to London for next Sunday's game against Cincinnati. The Falcons will play the Seahawks in another home game next Sunday. Seattle leads the series 10-8, including two playoff games won by Atlanta. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • Georgia picked up a 21-0 win over the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night. But it was far from a ho-hum game, as the Georgia offense had plenty of people talking after the game. And very little of it was positive. Despite playing in a constant downpour many were upset with the offensive performance that saw Georgia attempt just 12 passes. Jake Fromm statistically had his worse performance as Georgia's quarterback, as he threw for just 35 yards and no touchdowns. Following a game against South Carolina where Georgia turned the ball over four times, many were fed up with the offense once again. And the scorn wasn't directed at just one entity. Playcalling, James Coley, the wide receivers and Kirby Smart all received heavy criticism for the offensive output. In the stadium, fans booed the Georgia offense. The reaction on social media was not much different. Georgia has national championship talent with a JV offensive game plan. Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) October 19, 2019 Kirby Smart should've used his smarts kept Eason or Justin cause obviously they both better than Fromm I just don't get how u can watch players at practice and not see that Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) October 19, 2019 Me after watching UGA offense run down the middle for the 300000th time pic.twitter.com/4lkLmo7Yq4 Tori (@RiaBlaze) October 20, 2019 Live look at UGA's offense during the first half. pic.twitter.com/rVEHiJNBUU Adam Mims (@amims33) October 19, 2019 James Coley and Kirby Smart looked at a week's worth of film, articles and analytics that showed the obvious issues with their offense and have a giant middle finger to all of it. This is bordering on gross negligence. Graham Coffey (@ProfessorSEC) October 19, 2019 me yelling at coley and kirby through my tv #UKvsUGA pic.twitter.com/serSbjVnCm Ansley Weeks (@ansley_w01) October 19, 2019 Georgia & Kirby Smart are slowly becoming old #LSU/Les Miles Finding ways to play close games with much less talented teams and lose to much less talented programs Georgia's Offense looks outdated at times. Justin Fields didn't fit because Georgia wouldn't fit to him. Josh Lemoine (@LsuFBallTruth) October 19, 2019 Mark Richt has lost control of the UGA Offense. pic.twitter.com/D3dNmCwMeK John Powell (@PowellJohnT) October 20, 2019 Kirby Smart and Mark Stoops right now pic.twitter.com/qsagEUJWTt Ryan (@ryanmcc09) October 19, 2019 I will say the rain and wind was bound to get someone tonight, and it got Kentucky. That said, the offense did wake up in the second half regardless of not having to go far to score the first 2. That drive right there was an old-fashioned UGA knock you out drive. #GoDawgs #BeatUK UGA Supporters (@Support_UGA) October 20, 2019 The lone bright spot for the offense was D'Andre Swift. He finished the game with a season-high 179 rushing yards and scored twice for the Bulldogs. Swift is now leading the SEC in rushing, as he's got 752 rushing yards. Among running backs with at least 100 carries, Swift ranks third nationally in yards per attempt, as Swift is averaging 6.84 yards per carry. In his last two games against Kentucky, Swift has rushed for 335 yards and four touchdowns. TOUCHDOWN!!!! D'Andre Swift @DAndreSwift !!!! #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/JS1PTlbZwp Hiro Katsuki (@KatsukiFB) October 20, 2019 No one in America will be more happy to see D'Andre Swift in the NFL than Mark Stoops. That dude was the biggest reason for UGA's two wins over UK the last two seasons. Turned two close games into blowouts in the blink of an eye. Adam Luckett (@AdamLuckettKSR) October 20, 2019 If Swift ain't the best Damn Good Dawg we got on the team. Dude literally runs hard every damn play, carries the offense, and plays his out for the 'G' Evil Glenn Schumann (@EvilMelTucker) October 20, 2019 Deandre Swift carrying the UGA offense by himself. pic.twitter.com/1ZlB5b6GW5 Fire Dan Quinn Stan Acct. (@KognacWithaK) October 20, 2019 DeAndre swifts back must hurt really bad from carrying georgia so much RJ Belflower57 (@RjBelflower) October 20, 2019 'He's a heart and soul leader. He's inspirational,' Smart said. 'The runs kind of get the fans involved. Swift gets the team involved by all the things he does and says. He cares. This team has a lot of character, a lot of grit and I love the way they play.' Related: Kentucky coach encourages D'Andre Swift to declare early for NFL Draft As good as Swift was, the Georgia defense also earned solid praise after shutting out the Wildcats. The Georgia defense has given up just 3 points in the second half of all four SEC games this year and has given up just a single second-half touchdown against Power Five opponents. Kentucky did not complete a pass until there was left then five minutes to play in the game. Georgia also forced a key turnover to set-up the offense's second scoring drive of the game. Post game conclusion: -Defense is ELITE -D'Andre Swift is THAT DUDE End of conclusion #GoDawgs UGA Spike Squad (@UGASPIKESQUAD) October 20, 2019 Regardless of how the rest of the season goes we should recognize that this is an all time UGA defense. Also keep giving it #7. He is good at football FreePulpwood (@FreePulpwood) October 20, 2019 Georgia's Defense- SEC Rank PPG: 10.6- 1st Total YPG: 266- 1st Rushing YPG: 85- 1st Passing YPG: 181- 2nd 3rd Down Conversion: 30%- 2nd 4th Down Conversion: 27%- 2nd Red Zone Conversion: 58%- 2nd Touchdown Conversion: 25%- 1st Sacks: 16- 9th TFL: 39- 10th Dawgsontop (@dawgsontop2017) October 20, 2019 UGA's defense is elite parker (@Parkerr404) October 20, 2019 Dawgnation: If you booed yesterday, shame on you. Hopefully you saw what the players said about it. Totally embarrassing. I'm moving on from it and the 21-0 shutout win over UK. On to Florida. I believe we WIN this game! Setting up very well for the Dawgs! #ATD #BeatFlorida NATEDAWG (@NateDawgUga) October 20, 2019 'They're resilient and physically tough. It was a ground-and-pound game and we knew it would be that way. Look, their offensive staff did a great job to take a kid who's not really a quarterback and try to make him into a quarterback. At the end of the day you have to defend him differently, so it created a lot of issues for us,' Smart said. 'They did a good job of managing their quarterback because it's tough on our guys and tough on theirs. Our guys continued to rise up in the red area, which has been big.' A number of players took to Twitter after the game and shared some of their thoughts on the game. One of the main takeaways from the offensive players was to stay, likely asking for patience after a tough performance against the Wildcats. Stay over there SWIFT7 (@DAndreSwift) October 20, 2019 Stay Isaiah Wilson (@_LayZay_) October 20, 2019 Stay right there. Cade Mays (@cade_mays) October 20, 2019 Keep chopping . JR Reed (@Jr_Reed1) October 20, 2019 I love this team with all my heart Isaiah Wilson (@_LayZay_) October 20, 2019 https://t.co/yWK4ZJa14i The Freak 7 (@dreamchaserTy10) October 20, 2019 This man @LilEasy_35 https://t.co/kX9PjMK4Xk Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) October 20, 2019 Georgia has the next week off, as the Bulldogs will have an extra week to prepare for the No. 7 Florida Gators. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Opinion: Kirby Smart says he didn't hear boos; that's not all he's ignored Georgia football moves up in Coaches Polls, stays in top 10 of AP Poll even after ugly win over Kentucky WATCH Georgia QB Jake Fromm: 21-0 win over Kentucky no beauty contest' Georgia football stock report: Defense locks down Kentucky 21-0 Georgia football game ball: D'Andre Swift carries Bulldogs to 21-0 win Cover 4 on Georgia football: What will this team's record look like after 12 games? Georgia football report card: Bulldogs pass Kentucky wet weather test WATCH: Kirby Smart proud Bulldogs able to chop wood' in win over Kentucky Kentucky coach encourages D'Andre Swift to declare early for NFL Draft The post Social media critical of Georgia offense as players take to Twitter to preach patience appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The last time Georgia celebrated a win this drenched in water, the fire hoses at Auburn were to blame for the wetness. However, Saturday night vs. Kentucky was the work of a higher power. If only the act of God that brought forth the downpour could also be summoned to restore the thunder and lightning to UGA's offense. Rain or shine, things are not currently great for the Bulldogs in that regard, and some fans are getting restless. There were some boos Saturday night when the Bulldogs went into halftime no better off than when the game started, tied at zero with lowly Kentucky. UGA coach Kirby Smart was asked postgame about fan frustrations, deftly dodging the question in the process. 'No effect for me, I've got headphones on,' Smart said when asked about the impact of the jeers. 'That's what they pay their money for, to give their opinion. They're entitled to that. I respect that.' It's probably wise for Smart to pretend not to notice the booing. However, some of the other things he seems content to ignore are potentially problematic. For instance, Smart's telling of Saturday's affair is that weather conditions prevented UGA from running any offensive sequence that didn't resemble a rugby scrum. 'There's not a lot you can do in those conditions,' Smart said. 'It's tough to throw the ball in those elements.' The stats certainly back up Smart's assessment. UGA quarterback Jake Fromm was just 9/12 for 35 yards. However, it seems fair to point out, Georgia isn't the first team to play in the rain, nor is it the only team that faced those conditions Saturday. Florida played at South Carolina earlier in the day in what was described as a ' driving rain.' Gators quarterback Kyle Trask still managed to complete 21 of his 33 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns. Gamecocks quarterback Ryan Hilinski threw it plenty as well going 17/35 for 170 yards and a touchdown. Furthermore, Smart stepping to a podium to attempt to explain away a stymied UGA offense is becoming a bit of a troublesome trend. There was the weather on Saturday. However last week, we were told everything was fine with the offense despite losing to South Carolina and only scoring 17 points because there were four uncharacteristic turnovers. And when UGA got off to a slow start against Notre Dame? That was fine too because it was all about wearing down the Fighting Irish for the fourth quarter. All of this might be true, but it will be hard for some not to think Smart is stacking up reasons while his chief competitors for the national championship are stockpiling results. Oklahoma, LSU and Ohio State are averaging 50 points per game, and Alabama isn't far behind. UGA is tied for 24th at 36 points per game. The advanced stats paint a slightly rosier picture. Coming into the weekend, Bill Connelly's SP+ had UGA as the No. 12 offense and Football Outsiders' FEI ranked the Bulldogs offense 13th. That's not too bad, but it is a regression from last year when the Bulldogs finished third in both of those ratings systems. It's reasonable to assume, no matter what Smart says publicly, he's aware his offense in its current form isn't keeping pace with the nation's top teams, nor is it as effective as the units he's previously led at UGA. What remains a mystery is what he or offensive coordinator James Coley will do about it. The one thing that's certain is that Smart doesn't have any plans of consulting a suggestion box anytime soon. When asked about responding to the boos Saturday night, Smart said, 'Our job is to put our kids in the most successful situations. I don't think you make decisions on that.' Smart's comment seemingly echoes what former NFL coach Buddy Ryan supposedly told Bill Belichick when Belichick was coaching the Cleveland Browns. 'if you listen to the fans, you'll be sitting up there with them,' Ryan is credited with saying. Honestly, most of the booing fans are probably fine with being ignored at least for now. It was an instinctive reaction to a lousy stretch of a miserable night Between the Hedges. Their outburst doesn't mean they love their Dawgs any less, nor do they have any less affection for Smart. They just want to see him build an offense sturdy enough that it can't be washed away by the rain. The post Opinion: Kirby Smart says he didn't hear boos; that's not all he's ignored appeared first on DawgNation.