Ge­or­gia routs Tech

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By Paul New­berry AP Sports Writer

ATHENS, Ga. — Bring on Al­abama.

Jake Fromm threw a ca­reerbest four touch­down passes, D’An­dre Swift ran for 105 yards and No. 5 Ge­or­gia romped into the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game with a 45-21 rout of Ge­or­gia Tech last Satur­day.

The Bull­dogs (11-1, No. 5 CFP) couldn’t af­ford a slip-up, not with a re­match against the top-ranked Crim­son Tide loom­ing next week in At­lanta.

No wor­ries.

“I was hop­ing we’d have an­other chance to play them,” said line­backer D’An­dre Walker, quickly turn­ing his at­ten­tion to the team that de­feated Ge­or­gia in last sea­son’s na­tional cham­pi­onship game. “I knew we had a good team to get back to this point and play them again. Now we’ve got to pre­pare like no other and take on the chal­lenge.”

The ri­valry game known as “Clean, Old-Fash­ioned Hate” was over by half­time.

Ge­or­gia went to the locker room with a 38-7 lead — which, in an in­ter­est­ing twist, was the score of last year’s dom­i­nat­ing vic­tory over the Yel­low Jack­ets. The Bull­dogs held a 343-66 edge in to­tal yards, pil­ing up 18 first downs to just four by Ge­or­gia Tech (7-5).

Fromm threw a 5-yard touch­down pass to Ri­ley Ri­d­ley, a 12-yarder to Jeremiah Hol­lo­man and a 44-yarder to Mer­cole Hard­man. Swift chipped in with a 1-yard scor­ing run, Eli­jah Holy­field had an 8-yard TD and Ro­drigo Blanken­ship com­pleted the on­slaught with a 25-yard field goal on the fi­nal play of the half.

Fromm wasn’t done yet. On Ge­or­gia’s first se­ries of the sec­ond half, he hooked up with Ri­d­ley again on a 4-yard scor­ing pass that prompted many in the crowd of more than 92,000 to head for the ex­its on a cold, damp day in Athens.

“We liked our matchups,” said Fromm, who went 13 of 16 for 175 yards be­fore giv­ing way to Justin Fields late in the third quar­ter. “When they were kind of play­ing the off cov­er­age, we hit some un­der­neath stuff and let guys break tack­les. Our ath­letes, our guys, are re­ally good with the ball in their hands, so let’s get it to them quick and let those guys make plays.”

Ge­or­gia came into the game de­ter­mined to avoid a re­peat of Ge­or­gia Tech’s last two vis­its to San­ford Sta­dium. In 2014, the Yel­low Jack­ets pre­vailed 30-24 in over­time. Two years ago, they scored with less than a minute re­main­ing for a 28-27 upset.

Both times, they shred­ded the famed hedges sur­round­ing the field dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion.

The green­ery looked just fine af­ter Satur­day’s fi­nal home game of the year.

Now, it’s on to At­lanta to face Al­abama for the SEC ti­tle and an ex­pected spot in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off.

Juanyeh Thomas pro­vided Ge­or­gia Tech’s only points of the first half on a 100-yard kick­off re­turn. The tripleop­tion of­fense, which came into the game lead­ing the na­tion in rush­ing yards, fi­nally reached the end zone on Qua Searcy’s 3-yard touch­down run mid­way through the fourth quar­ter.

Ge­or­gia Tech fin­ished with 128 yards rush­ing — not even close to its 354-yard sea­son av­er­age.

“Noth­ing was re­ally con­sis­tent, so we couldn’t re­ally get any­thing go­ing” said quar­ter­back TaQuon Mar­shall, who was held to 39 yards on 20 car­ries.

/ Joshua L. Jones-Athens Ban­ner-Her­ald

Ge­or­gia run­ning back D’An­dre Swift (7) car­ries the ball against Ge­or­gia Tech dur­ing Satur­day’s game in Athens, Ga.

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