Fromm leads No. 3 Ge­or­gia past Mid­dle Ten­nessee 49-7

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By Charles Odum AP Sports Writer GE­OR­GIA 49, MID­DLE TEN­NESSEE 7

Kirby Smart be­lieves his Ge­or­gia play­ers won’t be lulled into com­pla­cency by three blowout wins.

The Bull­dogs won their coach’s trust with their hard work pre­par­ing for Mid­dle Ten­nessee.

Jake Fromm threw three touch­down passes and Eli­jah Holy­field ran for 100 yards, each play­ing only the first half, as No. 3 Ge­or­gia over­whelmed Mid­dle Ten­nessee 49-7 on Satur­day.

The Bull­dogs were im­pres­sive in their fi­nal prepa­ra­tion for a stretch of seven straight South­east­ern Con­fer­ence games.

“We know a fourth-quar­ter kind of game is com­ing,” Smart said, re­fer­ring to next week’s visit to Mis­souri.

So far, the fourth quar­ter has been re­served for back­ups.

Ge­or­gia opened its SEC schedule with a run­away 41-17 win at South Carolina last week af­ter open­ing with a 45-0 rout of Austin Peay. Ge­or­gia (3-0) has started strong af­ter win­ning its first SEC ti­tle since 2005 last year and los­ing to Alabama in the na­tional cham­pi­onship game.

Smart was im­pressed by the Bull­dogs’ hard work in prac­tice even though they were big fa­vorites against the Blue Raiders of Con­fer­ence USA.

“We’ve cre­ated a stan­dard the last cou­ple of years, and now we’re own­ing it with play­ers hold­ing other play­ers ac­count­able,” Smart said.

There were clouds but no rain in the game that was moved up to a noon kick­off due to Trop­i­cal Storm Florence. The game orig­i­nally was sched­uled to be played Satur­day night.

Ge­or­gia led 42-7 at half­time as the Bull­dogs turned it into a rout quickly.

Fresh­man Justin Fields ran 15 yards for a touch­down late in the first half and threw a touch­downs pass in re­lief of Fromm. Jeremiah Hol­lo­man caught three passes for 90 yards, in­clud­ing an 11-yard scor­ing pass from Fromm in the first quar­ter. Hol­lo­man was one of five Ge­or­gia wide re­ceivers to com­bine for six touch­downs.

Mecole Hard­man had a touch­down catch and a 70-yard punt re­turn for a score, and Tyler Sim­mons had a 56-yard touch­down run.

Holy­field had a 66-yard gain as he ran for 100 yards on eight car­ries. He be­came the first player to run for 100 yards this sea­son for Ge­or­gia, which con­tin­ued to use a com­mit­tee ap­proach to re­place the 2017 se­nior tan­dem of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.

“It’s like a sign of a pretty good day,” Holy­field said of his first ca­reer 100-yard game. “So I had a pretty good day.”

Pa­trick Smith scored on a 41-yard pass from Brent Stock­still for the Blue Raiders (1-2). Smith had nine catches for 77 yards.

Mid­dle Ten­nessee was held to 288 yards.

“They’re big­ger than us, faster than us,” said Mid­dle Ten­nessee coach Rick Stock­still. “We couldn’t cre­ate any sep­a­ra­tion at re­ceiver. There were no open­ings . ... That’s why they’re ranked where they’re ranked.”

Brent Stock­still, the coach’s son, said last week the Blue Raiders would need per­fec­tion to beat Ge­or­gia. That was ask­ing too much.

“Ob­vi­ously we hate to lose,” said Brent Stock­still. “We kind of knew we were out­matched com­ing into it.”

Fromm was sharp, com­plet­ing 10 of 12 passes for 128 yards. The sopho­more al­most com­mit­ted a costly mis­take on Ge­or­gia’s sec­ond pos­ses­sion when he held the ball too long, was al­most sacked for a safety and fum­bled near the Ge­or­gia goal line. Right guard Ben Cleve­land re­cov­ered the fum­ble at the 2, set­ting up a punt.

Mid­dle Ten­nessee: The Blue Raiders com­mit­ted far too many mis­takes to have a chance for their first win in 16 tries against a Top 25 team. Most frustrating was an in­abil­ity to score af­ter tak­ing pos­ses­sion at the Ge­or­gia 36 in the first quar­ter. Stock­still was sacked by De­an­dre Baker on third down be­fore his fourth-down pass was picked off by Baker.

Ge­or­gia: Ge­or­gia showed good fo­cus against an un­der­dog op­po­nent and again showed im­pres­sive depth, espe­cially at re­ceiver. Hol­lo­man, who had a 65-yard catch, and Sim­mons showed their big-play po­ten­tial and Hard­man had his third touch­down catch in three games.

Following a re­view, Mid­dle Ten­nessee line­backer Khalil Brooks was called for tar­get­ing and ejected af­ter lead­ing with his hel­met on a sec­ondquar­ter hit that knocked off Fields’ hel­met. The drive ended when Fields dropped back to pass be­fore keep­ing the ball on the 15-yard scor­ing run.

D’An­dre Swift started at tail­back but didn’t re­turn following the Bull­dogs’ first two pos­ses­sions. Swift stood on the side­line af­ter run­ning for 12 yards on four car­ries. Smart said he just wanted to look at other run­ning backs.

The Bull­dogs strength­ened their hold on their No. 3 spot in the Top 25. Ge­or­gia topped 40 points for the third straight game, again prov­ing it­self to be wor­thy of its high rank­ing.

Mid­dle Ten­nessee has a week off be­fore play­ing at home against Florida At­lantic in a Con­fer­ence USA game on Sept. 29.

Ge­or­gia goes to Mis­souri next week.

/ Athens Ban­ner-Her­ald, Joshua L Jones

Ge­or­gia wide re­ceiver Ri­ley Ri­d­ley brings in a pass for a touch­down while be­ing de­fended by Mid­dle Ten­nessee de­fen­sive back Chris Stamps dur­ing the first half of the game in Athens, Ga., on Satur­day.

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