VIDEO: Georgia routed Arkansas State and hosts Notre Dame next Saturday night. Video by Chip Towers.
And it wasn’t just the fans. UGA’s facilities and event staff wore pink golf shirts with the official Georgia “G” affixed on the front. School officials said they actually already had the shirts from a previous Breast Cancer awareness initiative.
“Publicly, I would like to say thank you for all who showed up today wearing pink or thinking pink,” Anderson said afterward. “Those people didn't know my wife and they didn’t know me. They didn’t have to do it and I’m very grateful, honored and honestly overwhelmed. I just wish the game would’ve gone differently.”
But the Bulldogs were all business after the opening whistle. They scored on their first five possessions of the day before punting for the first time with just over four minutes remaining left until halftime. And they managed to record several explosive plays before the starters retired for the day, including a 48-yard touchdown reception by running back D’Andre Swift and a 60-yard TD catch by freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock.
That led to an efficiently short day for Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who finished with 279 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-22 passing. Blaylock had a big day in his third game with the Bulldogs, with 112 yards on four catches. Fellow freshman George Pickens added 84 yards on five catches, including a couple of more to add to his growing highlight reel.
Swift left the game with 76 yards on nine rushes and added two catches for 64 yards. James Cook had a 37-yard TD run. The Bulldogs rolled up a season-best 656 yards offense, the fifth most in a game in school history.
“We really thought they were a really good football team,” Fromm said. “I thought they played hard. I just thought our guys stepped up to the challenge today.”
The real story was Georgia’s defense, which recorded its first shutout since the first game of last season (45-0 over Austin Peay). In the first half against ASU, the Bulldogs were relentless in adding to their havoc-rate numbers, recording two sacks and four tackles for loss in the first quarter alone.
It didn’t get any better for the Red Wolves, who Smart warned might be the best offensive team Georgia has faced so far this season. They never sniffed the red zone until facing the defensive backups late in the fourth quarter. And then, freshman Lewis Cine picked off Arkansas State’s fourth-down pass in the end zone to preserve the shutout.
“I feel like we had something to prove and make sure people knew what our identity was,” said senior linebacker Tae Crowder, who had three tackles, including one for a 4-yard loss. “We wanted to come out and play fast and play physical, and I think we did that.”
In their two games against FBS competition, the Bulldogs have allowed red-zone possessions only three times in 23 opposing-team possessions, with one of those resulting in a score, which was a field goal to Vanderbilt.
“We played more physical up front and were able to play some looser coverages and do some things to help guys out after that,” Smart said. “I thought we played well up front and the linebackers added in.”