September 22, 2019 / 4:03 AM / a month ago

No. 3 Georgia finishes strong to sink No. 7 Notre Dame

EditorsNote: Changes throughout

Sep 21, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Fans shown outside the stadium prior to the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Georgia used a strong second half to fend off No. 7 Notre Dame on Saturday night, winning 23-17 in Athens, Ga.

Georgia’s defense made the evening a miserable one for Notre Dame (2-1), which dropped its 10th straight game to a ranked foe. The Bulldogs, who had won their first three games by a margin of 148-23, improved to 4-0.

After completing just 11 of 12 passes for just 59 yards in the first half, quarterback Jake Fromm completed 9 of 14 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown after the break. Running back D’Andre Swift rushed 18 times for 98 yards and a score.

Trailing 10-7 at the half, Georgia used field goals of 40 and 31 yards by Rodrigo Blankenship to lead for the first time at 13-10 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs added on early in the fourth, with Fromm driving Georgia 82 yards on eight plays by completing 3 of 4 passes for 61 yards. All three completions went to Lawrence Cager, including the capping 15-yard score for a 20-10 lead with 13:19 to play.

Blankenship’s third field goal — a 43-yarder with 6:54 left — made it 23-10.

But the Irish weren’t done, responding on their next possession, with a 75-yard drive in 3:42, as Ian Book’s 4-yard pass to Chase Claypool made it 23-17 with 3:12 left.

After a Georgia three-and-out and Jake Camarda’s shanked punt following a quick three and out, the Irish had one more chance at their 48 with 2:00 to go. Facing a fourth-and-8, Book — who finished 29 of 47 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and two picks — was flushed from the pocket and forced to throw a lob that fell incomplete.

After a scoreless first quarter, Tyler Simmons’ fumbled punt set the Irish up at the Georgia 8-yard line. Book tossed to a wide-open tight end Cole Kmet — who finished with nine grabs for 108 yards — on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to make it 7-0.

Georgia answered with a 13-play, 75-yard drive capped by Swift’s 3-yard run, tying it with 2:27 until the break.

Book then led the Irish 66 yards for a 26-yard field goal by Jonathan Doerer as the first half expired.

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