Each weekend, UGASports.com teams up with 11Alive.com to hand out grades to Georgia’s position groups. Here is our report card from the 42-7 win over Florida:
Although not called upon heavily in the win over the Gators, Jake Fromm did his part by leading a productive Georgia offense. He was 4-of-7 passing for 101 yards and touchdown, but Fromm was intercepted on one occasion. The freshman’s 17-yard touchdown pass was an NFL-caliber throw to wide receiver Javon Wims early in the game, setting the tone that Fromm was more than just a slant-throwing quarterback. The thing that made the throw even more impressive was the fact he apparently checked out of a run play which was called in from the sideline, taking advantage of a one-on-one matchup Wims had on the outside in coverage.
Running Backs: A+
This elite group certainly showed its prowess Saturday against an above-average Gator defense. Sony Michel led the way with 137 rushing yards on six carries, which equates to staggering 22.8 yards per rush. His two rushing touchdowns included one from 74 yards out—the team’s longest rush of the season. Nick Chubb rushed a team-high 13 times for 77 yards, and scored the first touchdown of the game. Freshman D’Andre Swift didn’t do much in terms of running the ball, but he was by far the game’s leading receiver with three receptions for 84 yards. Elijah Holyfield came in late to relieve the starters and ran for a nice 39-yard touchdown. This group continues to get better while displaying that it can carry the offense if needed.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B
Wims’ touchdown reception was the only catch by a true wide receiver. Terry Godwin had a bad drop resulting in Bulldogs’ second punt of the game. The receivers did a good job of blocking for the running game, but the offensive game plan was having so much success running the ball that Georgia did not need to throw it much.
Offensive Line: A+
This unit has transformed from an assumed weakness to a strength over the course of this season. Center Lamont Gaillard, who played a tremendous game, and true freshman right tackle Andrew Thomas each stepped up against a talented Florida front seven. Left guard Kendall Baker is really getting comfortable in between Gaillard and left tackle Isaiah Wynn, and it is showing in his run blocking. One thing offensive line coach Sam Pittman and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney did against the Gators was have Aulden Bynum and Dyshon Sims change into receiver-eligible numbers so that they could stack the line with seven true offensive linemen with no tight ends. That was a wrinkle Florida head coach Jim McElwain was not prepared for and, because of it, the Bulldogs broke off a couple of big runs. Georgia averaged 8.3 yards a carry and the line didn’t give up a sack.
Defensive Line: A-
The Georgia defensive front did a great job of contributing in stopping a couple of key fourth-down attempts, and were also constantly in the face of quarterback Feleipe Franks. Tyler Clark tallied four tackles and a half sack. Julian Rochester also had a sack and seemed to be in the opposing backfield quite often. Overall, the defensive line did a good job of containing Franks. Notably, this unit implemented fake movement which prompted the Florida offensive line to false start several times, helping stall a sputtering Gator offense. The defensive line accounted for 3.5 tackles for loss.
Lorenzo Carter had a career night against the Gators, tallying a team-high nine tackles and a sack. However, Carter and his counterpart Davin Bellamy could not figure out how to stop the cutback runs by the Florida backs who picked up a 183 yards rushing. Besides that, both outside linebackers were wreaking havoc on Franks, while making it impossible for him to get comfortable. Reggie Carter made his return to the field and had a solid game alongside fellow inside linebacker Roquan Smith. The Smith train rolled into Jacksonville on a headhunting mission, and later departed back to Athens with a few more dog tags. Smith made some jarring hits against a number of Gator players.
Defensive Backs: A+
After yielding a ton of yards to Missouri quarterback Drew Lock in its last game, the secondary came to Jacksonville with a purpose. Safety Dominick Sanders grabbed another interception and is now only one away from tying the school career record. J.R. Reed helped cause a fumble and then returned it for Georgia’s first non-offensive touchdown of the season. Cornerbacks Malkom Parrish and Deandre Baker both played well in man coverage, helping limit Franks to just 7-of-19 passing for 30 yards.
Special Teams: A
Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship did his job well once again, converting all six of his PAT attempts and had four of his seven kickoffs go for touchbacks. Of the three kicks that were returned, Florida managed an average of 23 yards so the Gators still had to deal with poor starting field position Punter Cameron Nizialek averaged a very solid 46.5 yards on four punts. The two kicking specialists continue to be bright spots for a good special teams unit. On kick coverage, freshman Nate McBride laid the wood on a returner for the best hit of the game.