Fromm key to hopes of con­tend­ing again

The Standard Journal - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL -

By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer

AT­LANTA (AP) — Jake Fromm won over his coach yet again even af­ter he couldn’t win Ge­or­gia’s big­gest game in al­most four decades.

Fromm was the big­gest sur­prise of Ge­or­gia’s break­out sea­son. Af­ter fin­ish­ing 2016 un­ranked and with five losses, Ge­or­gia won 13 games be­fore suf­fer­ing a 26-23 over­time loss to Alabama in Mon­day night’s na­tional cham­pi­onship game.

Ge­or­gia (13-2) is No. 2 in the fi­nal AP Top 25 , and Fromm con­tin­ued to re­ceive praise from coach Kirby Smart even af­ter a mixed show­ing in the cham­pi­onship game loss. The Bull­dogs fell short in their at­tempt for their first na­tional cham­pi­onship since 1980.

Smart said Fromm, who threw an 80yard touch­down pass with two in­ter­cep­tions, “cer­tainly kept us in the game with his de­ci­sion mak­ing.”

“Jake’s a spe­cial kid,” Smart said. “He’s a gamer. He un­der­stands the game of foot­ball.”

Fromm took the start­ing job as Ge­or­gia’s quar­ter­back as a fresh­man and led the Bull­dogs to mem­o­rable wins at Notre Dame, over Auburn in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game and over Ok­la­homa in the Rose Bowl play­off semi­fi­nal.

Af­ter Mon­day night’s game, Fromm and others paid trib­ute to a se­nior class led by tail­backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

De­spite the loss , he said the sea­son was “su­per-pos­i­tive for Ge­or­gia foot­ball.”

“It has def­i­nitely set the stan­dard,” Fromm said. “I def­i­nitely take all the hard work and use that as a new stan­dard. You see what hard work does for you.”

Chubb and Michel had more yards rush­ing than any tan­dem in FBS his­tory.

“We try to set the stan­dard high so the younger guys know where to take it from here,” Michel said af­ter the game. “We fell short to­day, and I think guys that are com­ing back un­der­stand what it’s go­ing to take plus more to get back here.”

Smart said Chubb and Michel “meant more to Ge­or­gia than yards. A lot of heart and soul. A lot of fire.”

Among other key se­niors were lineback­ers Lorenzo Carter, Reg­gie Carter and Davin Bel­lamy and de­fen­sive backs Malkom Par­rish, Aaron Davis and Do­minick San­ders.

The losses at tail­back and on de­fense will be heavy, but strong back-to-back re­cruit­ing classes will help fill the void.

Ge­or­gia quar­ter­back Jake Fromm throws dur­ing the first half of the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off na­tional cham­pi­onship game against Alabama. David Gold­man / AP

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