EditorsNote: Rewords lead for clarity; adds missing “yards” in graf 3; edits in grafs 4-6 on how game ended; rewrites last graf for clarity/detail
Despite its No. 4 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings, not much has come easy for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Take Saturday’s game against Texas A&M, which pushed coach Kirby Smart’s team to its limit before the Bulldogs held on for a 19-13 SEC win in Athens, Ga.
Leading 19-6, Georgia (10-1, 7-1) appeared to have the game in control until the Aggies (7-4, 4-3) drove 75 yards in 10 plays, drawing within six on a 19-yard pass from Kellen Mond to Jhamon Ausbon with 11:16 left in the game.
Following a Bulldogs punt, the Aggies took the ball and looked poised to take the lead. But the drive stalled at the Georgia 43, after seven plays and 47 yards, and Texas A&M punted with 4:26 to play rather than go for it on fourth-and-11.
In hindsight, perhaps the Aggies should have gone for it, as Georgia held onto the ball the rest of the game, getting a trio of first-down runs by D’Andre Swift to run out the clock.
Swift led all rushers with 19 carries for 103 yards.
Jake Fromm completed 11 of 23 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown for Georgia.
Rodrigo Blankenship accounted for the rest of Georgia’s points with four field goals and an extra point.
Mond completed 25 of 42 passes for 275 yards and the one touchdown for Texas A&M.
The Bulldogs led 13-3 at the half, but it should have been more.
Georgia had a chance to add its lead late in the second quarter after a 23-yard run by Swift to the Texas A&M 39, but the Bulldogs stalled out and punted.
Fromm started the game just 1 of 7, including an incompletion to a wide-open George Pickens on a flea-flicker attempt.
Ultimately, the Fromm-Pickens connection would find its rhythm, hooking up for a 16-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter following field goals of 41 and 49 yards by Blankenship.
The story, however, was the play of the Georgia defense.
Texas A&M was limited to minus-9 rushing yards and 73 total yards for the entire first half. The Aggies scored their only points on a 37-yard field goal by Seth Small to briefly tie the game at 3-3 a minute-and-a-half into the second quarter.
Both teams conclude their regular seasons next Saturday, Georgia playing at Georgia Tech and Texas A&M traveling to No. 1 LSU.
—Field Level Media