Georgia Bulldogs Beat Notre Dame Irish, 20-19, At South Bend

Monday, September 11, 2017
We had been hearing for months of how fans were going to invade South Bend. They would start Friday night with the Chicago Cubs game, then they’d make the drive from Chi-Town to South bend to watch the Dawgs. Then they’d go back to Chicago to watch the Falcons play the Bears.

But how many would actually have the chance to go? Well early indicators on Friday night showed that the Bulldog Nation would make their presence felt.
They were loud at the Cubs game when Vince Dooley threw out the first pitch. It was an amazing site to see and hear and one I wish I could have witnessed live.

But even more spectacular than that was the Georgia game itself when the fans turned Notre Dame Stadium from the home of the Irish to a neutral site game.  

A stifling defensive effort and an established ground attack by the 15th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs paved the path for a 20-19 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame Saturday night in front of a crowd of 77,622 at Notre Dame Stadium. With less than two minutes remaining, the Fighting Irish had an opportunity to put together a potential game-wining drive, however the Bulldogs forced its second turnover to put the game away. 

On 1st-and-10 from the ND 36 yard line, senior outside linebacker Davin Bellamy caused a sack-fumble on Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush and fellow senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter recovered the fumble. With no timeouts remaining for Notre Dame, a few kneel downs sealed the Georgia victory.

Defensively, the Bulldogs held the Fighting Irish to 266 total yards (211 passing, 55 rushing) and limited ND to 3-for-17 on third down conversions. 

In his first career start, true freshman Jake Fromm, a native of Warner Robins, Ga., went 16-for-29 for 144 yards and one touchdown. Georgia amassed 326 total yards of offense with 141 coming through the air and 185 yards on the ground

"I didn't say nothing to them (defense), Coach Tucker handled that," Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. "He had those guys playing hard. They played hard for him. They love him, and they played relentless. We've got to clean things up. We've got a good football team, but you talk about sloppy. Penalties, penalties, turnovers, turnovers. Can't do that. I'm just so happy for these fans. We brought 40,000-some fans down here, and these guys are awesome." 

Senior running back Nick Chubb tallied 13 carries for 63 yards, while fellow senior back Sony Michel finished with 13 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. In the receiving group, sophomore wide receiver Mecole Hardman had a team-high four catches for 26 yards, while junior wide receiver Terry Godwin collected a team-high 36 yards on two catches.

Statistically, redshirt sophomore defensive back J.R. Reed led the Bulldogs with nine tackles. Carter tallied seven tackles, two forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and one sack. Junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith added seven tackles and one sack. 

At the half, Notre Dame held the 13-10 advantage with each defense limiting the respective offense. Georgia held the Fighting Irish to 27 rushing yards and 114 yards passing. The Bulldogs tallied 86 yards on the ground. Fromm was 8-for-15 for 69 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 

The Fighting Irish notched the first touchdown in the second quarter to go ahead 10-3, however Georgia fought right back on the subsequent possession. From five yards out, Fromm floated the ball up to the back-corner pylon for Godwin who reeled in a spectacular one-handed catch. 

The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game, 17-16, at the 4:34 mark in the third quarter when Michel punched it in from 6 yards out on the ground. The drive featured a 40-yard dash from freshman D'Andre Swift and two personal foul penalties by Notre Dame. 

The seesaw battle continued as the Fighting Irish went up 19-17 at 11:08 in the fourth quarter, but Blankenship booted a 30- yard field goal to regain the lead with 3:34 left to play in the contest. Blankenship's second made field goal decided the game. 

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel did not get their carries Saturday night. The duo should be combining for around 40 carries, and 50 in close ball games. Instead, they combined for only 26, 13 each.
We should appreciate what Chubb and Michel accomplished in those 26 carries. Michel rushed for 73 yards with one touchdowns while Chubb gained 63.
 
The two played exactly how we have come to expect them to and they were needed to win the game. On Georgia’s two touchdown drives, they were nearly unstoppable. But on only one carry, freshman D’Andre Swift showed that he’s the future of Georgia’s run game.

The true freshman had a 40-yard run late in the game to get the Bulldogs deep in Notre Dame territory. The three backs combined for 178 yards on just 28 carries. Considering our offensive line still isn’t the unit we need them to be, those numbers are pretty impressive.
 
What can be said about that defense? The offense only put up 20 points, probably should have scored more. But the defense kept pounding. Dominick Sanders said that Georgia was going to punish Notre Dame and they did just that.
 
The Fighting Irish only gained 266 yards on offense, 55 of those yards came on the ground. Notre Dame’s offensive line was hyped up all week-long, but Georgia’s front seven was better in every way.

Trenton Thompson and the rest of the lineman did not allow Notre Dame to get any kind of push for the whole game. They dominated the line of scrimmage with what seemed like relative ease. That led to amazing games by the linebackers.

Roquan Smith played all over the field. He was never not around the ball. There was one Notre Dame possession where he made every tackle. A stop of quarterback Brandon Wimbush on the left side of their field, followed by a sack of Wimbush and ending with a stop on the right side.

It became obvious Saturday night that Smith is one of the best inside linebackers in the nation. But it was a little sad coming to the realization that he will likely be playing in the NFL next year.

Then the outside backers had the best game of their careers. Lorenzo Carterand Davin Bellamy combined for 13 tackles with two sacks. They terrorized Wimbush all night long and were even great in stopping the run. It was a fitting end to the game when Bellamy sacked Wimbush from his blind side, causing a fumble that Carter recovered.

 

The Georgia Bulldogs will take on Samford's Bulldogs in Athens on Saturday.



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