Then, believe it or not, Chaney got even cuter. On Georgia’s next possession, he deployed Chubb and D’Andre Swift in a two-back set, and not the I-formation with fullback and tailback. This was a two-halfback thing, last seen in the days of Amos Alonzo Stagg. With State again flowing toward Chubb, Swift took the ball and went rumbling. Then Fromm threw to Javon Wims over the middle.
If you’re keeping score at home, that made three Georgia snaps for a total of 87 yards, the shortest gain going for 12. Except for the part where he flipped the ball to his quarterback, the great Chubb hadn’t touched it. Finally, with Grantham not knowing whether to spit or wind his watch, Chubb burst for 16. Five plays later, he was in the end zone. Great play-calling.
The quarterbacking wasn’t bad, either. Fromm’s first incompletion came in the third quarter. His first nine completions were were snagged by seven different receivers. This might be an unfair comparison – the Georgia QB wasn’t facing the Georgia defense – but Fromm, from Houston County High, was clearly more composed than State’s Nick Fitzgerald, from Richmond Hill, Ga. The latter is a junior, the former a freshman.
Indeed, it was Fromm who delivered the clincher. After Deandre Baker intercepted a Fitzgerald pass midway through the third quarter, Fromm waited for tight end Isaac Nauta to shake free deep, which took so long that you wondered if the quarterback had waited too long. Nope. He delivered, absorbed the hit and scurried downfield to congratulate Nauta for making a budding blowout into the thing itself.
Georgia was ahead 28-3, but there was no way this football team from Georgia was blowing a 28-3 lead. What we saw in Sanford Stadium was domination. What we saw was Georgia playing the way Smart has hoped it would play but hadn’t so far. State is a strong bunch. Georgia was stronger. Most everything Georgia tried worked. Almost nothing did for State.
Whenever Fitzgerald would complete a dinky pass, a defender was attached to the receiver’s sternum. Fitzgerald threw 18 times in the first half; only one of his 10 completions gained more than 12 yards. This was State on first-and-10 in the first quarter – minus-6 yards, 2 yards, incompletion, 5 yards, incompletion, no gain. Six snaps, 1 yard. Domination.
Of the Clarke County Bulldogs, State coach Dan Mullen said: "They've got a ridiculous amount of talent." But when haven't they? Saturday offered a case study: Here's what happens when talent and effort and coaching dovetail. Here was the comprehensive performance we haven't seen against a ranked opponent in this stadium since ... when? The Blackout night against Auburn in 2007?
Recent history teaches that there’s no time more perilous for Georgia than when it looks really good. Still, it has been a while since these Bulldogs have looked like this. The defense is great. The offense is more than holding up its end. We don’t know when Jacob Eason will be ready to return – he wore his uniform and pads this night and warmed up before the game – but it’s hard to imagine Smart demoting Fromm. This team is on to something.
Yes, we’ve said that many times and been wrong an awful lot. This team might be the exception. This team looks exceptional.