Georgia’s victory at Notre Dame last week may end up being a signature win for the 13th-ranked Bulldogs, but that depends on what they accomplish starting with Saturday’s home game against Samford. While Georgia showed a national television audience what it is capable of doing, especially the impressive play of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm and an inspired defense, it will not matter if the Bulldogs stumble in their final game before SEC play starts.
Fromm, in his first collegiate start for the injured Jacob Eason, completed 16-of-29 passes as the Bulldogs knocked off Notre Dame last week as the true freshman continues adjusting to running the Georgia offense. “You have to earn every yard,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters Tuesday. “The good thing is, we’ve got a good stable of backs to try and accomplish that.” Senior running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb combined for 136 yards and a touchdown against the Fighting Irish. Samford has opened its season with victories over Kennesaw State and West Alabama, averaging 38.5 points but allowing 32 points per contest.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network Alternative. LINE: None
ABOUT SAMFORD (2-0): Quarterback Devlin Hodges passed for 327 yards against Division II foe West Alabama last week, hitting Kelvin McKnight for 136 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs saw a 28-point lead midway through the third quarter dwindle to 42-35 midway through the fourth quarter before holding on for a 49-41 triumph. On the downside, Samford allowed 401 yards passing last week.
ABOUT GEORGIA (2-0): Fromm passed for 141 yards and a touchdown while effectively running the Bulldogs offense against a Top 25 team on the road, despite throwing an interception. Both Michel (73 yards, one touchdown) and Chubb (63 yards) carried 13 times against Notre Dame, and freshman D’Andre Swift added 42 yards on the ground. The Georgia defense was outstanding last week, and linebacker Lorenzo Carter won SEC defensive player of the week honors after forcing two fumbles and recovering a fumble.
1. The Bulldogs held Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush – who rushed for more than 100 yards the previous week – to one yard on 16 carries in last week’s victory.
2. Georgia K Rodrigo Blankenship, who hit the go-ahead field goal with 3:34 left Saturday and is 3-for-4 on field goals through two games, was awarded a scholarship earlier last week.
3. Samford coach Chris Hatcher hired Smart to his first full-time college coaching job in 2000, employing Smart as defensive backs coach at Valdosta State.
PREDICTION: Georgia 47, Samford 13