Bull­dogs shut down Game­cocks 24-10

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By Charles Odum

ATHENS — Ge­or­gia coach Kirby Smart didn’t want to talk about his team clinch­ing a spot in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game.

Smart wants his No. 2 Bull­dogs, who this week de­buted at No. 1 in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off poll, to main­tain the fo­cus they showed in pro­tect­ing their un­de­feated record.

Jake Fromm proved he can throw — and block a lit­tle, too — as his two touch­down passes led Ge­or­gia to a 24- 10 win over South Carolina and the SEC East ti­tle on Satur­day.

The Bull­dogs clinched the divi­sion ti­tle and a spot in the SEC cham­pi­onship game when Mis­sis­sippi beat Ken­tucky 37-34 in a game that ended when Smart was com­plet­ing his postgame news con­fer­ence.

“There won’t be any cel­e­brat­ing,” Smart said. “We’ve got a game to play against Auburn next week. That’s where our fo­cus is.”

Ge­or­gia ( 9- 0, 6- 0 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence, No. 1 CFP) has won its first nine games for the first time since 1982. The spot in the SEC cham­pi­onship game, pos­si­bly against No. 1 Alabama, is se­cure, but Ge­or­gia will be look­ing to pro­tect its lofty CFP sta­tus when it plays at No. 16 Auburn.

Fromm, the fresh­man best known for hand­ing off to a deep group of Ge­or­gia tail­backs, earned re­spect from South Carolina a few days af­ter Game­cocks de­fen­sive back Chris Lam­mons said the Bull­dogs “can’t pass.”

Fromm was ac­cu­rate and ef­fi­cient, com­plet­ing 16 of 22 passes for 196 yards with scor­ing passes of 10 yards to Javon Wims and 20 yards to Mecole Hard­man. He did not throw an in­ter­cep­tion.

Fromm came through for the Bull­dogs when the Game­cocks’ de­fense put its em­pha­sis on stop­ping the run.

“We made Jake Fromm play quar­ter­back,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said. “And I com­pli­ment Jake: He played ex­tremely well tonight. He was very ac­cu­rate with the foot­ball.”

Fromm also had the fi­nal block to clear the way for Sony Michel to score on a di­rect-snap, 8-yard run in the first quar­ter.

“That was a key block right there,” Michel said. “I needed that block. As soon as he made that block, I knew I was gonna score. He does that all the time. If he doesn’t have the ball in his hands, he’s run­ning down­field try­ing to make plays.”

South Carolina ( 6- 3, 4- 3) had its three- game win­ning streak snapped.

“We com­peted hard and you didn’t see any­one give up or back­ing down,” South Carolina quar­ter­back Jake Bent­ley said.

Nick Chubb ran for 102 yards on 20 car­ries for Ge­or­gia. Michel added 81 yards rush­ing.

Ge­or­gia, ac­cus­tomed to lop­sided SEC wins, led only 14-7 at half­time.

The Bull­dogs opened the sec­ond half with a 75-yard touch­down drive capped by Fromm’s touch­down pass to Hard­man, who made a leap­ing catch over Jamyest Wil­liams.

Bent­ley com­pleted 21 of 35 passes for 227 yards with one touch­down and two in­ter­cep­tions.

The take­away

South Carolina: The Game­cocks gave the Bull­dogs their tough­est game since a 20-19 win at then-No. 24 Notre Dame on Sept. 9. South Carolina stacked the de­fen­sive front but still gave up 242 yards rush­ing.

The Game­cocks were held to 43 yards rush­ing.

Ge­or­gia: The test from the Game­cocks should help the Bull­dogs in tougher matchups ahead, in­clud­ing the visit to Auburn. Ge­or­gia showed poise when tested early. The win should boost Fromm’s con­fi­dence, es­pe­cially when fu­ture op­po­nents load up their de­fenses against the run.

Joshua L. Jones / AP

Ge­or­gia’s Nick Chubb drives the ball down­field dur­ing Satur­day’s game.

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