The Georgia Bulldogs are one step closer to playing in the College Football Playoff for the second time in the past three seasons.
Led by strong performances from D'Andre Swift and the defense, Georgia defeated Texas A&M 19-13, moving to 10-1 on the season while holding off a late push from the Aggies. The loss dropped Texas A&M to 7-4 on the year.
The Bulldogs are now just two wins away from earning a playoff berth, with matchups against Georgia Tech next week and an expected showdown with LSU in the SEC title game to follow. Win both of those games and Georgia will have one of the best resumes in college football in spite of its shocking loss to South Carolina in October.
It's inconceivable that the committee would leave out a one-loss SEC champion, especially one already ranked No. 4 in the nation. Georgia controls its destiny—two wins and the Bulldogs are in.
Jake Fromm, Georgia: 11-of-23 for 163 yards and a score.
D'Andre Swift, Georgia: 19 rushes for 103 yards; four receptions for 29 yards.
George Pickens, Georgia: Two receptions for 57 yards and a score.
Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia: 4-of-4 on field goals, 1-of-1 on extra points.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M: 25-of-42 for 275 yards and a touchdown.
Jhamon Ausbon, Texas A&M: Nine receptions for 96 yards and a score.
Quartney Davis, Texas A&M: Five receptions for 64 yards.
Georgia's Defense Dominates Yet Again
The Aggies came into Saturday averaging 34 points per game, ranked 31st in the nation. Georgia's defense came into Saturday giving up just 10.5 points per game, second in the nation.
Guess who won that battle?
Georgia, as usual. The Bulldogs held the Aggies to three points in a rain-soaked first half, giving up just 73 yards, including minus-nine yards on the ground. Georgia took a 13-3 lead into the half, an advantage that felt insurmountable given its talent on the defensive side of the ball and the wet conditions.
Sure enough, Georgia allowed just 10 points in the second half and held Texas A&M to just 274 yards of total offense for the game, a truly dominant performance.
That wasn't a shocker. Consider what the Bulldogs have done against the top competition they've faced this year:
- Notre Dame: 17 points and 321 yards allowed.
- Florida: 17 points and 278 yards allowed.
- Auburn: 14 points and 329 yards allowed.
Since giving up 20 points to South Carolina, Georgia has given up a total of 44 points in its next five games, just 8.8 points per contest.
The Bulldogs have some dangerous offensive weapons and an experienced quarterback in Jake Fromm. But it is the defense that carried the team to an SEC East title, and if they win the SEC title game and reach the College Football Playoff, it will be on the back of their defense as well.
Georgia Needs Jake Fromm to Step Up His Game
Georgia can ride its defense and Swift against most opponents. That's how good the Bulldogs are as an overall team. But against the top teams in the nation—like LSU in a potential SEC Championship Game showdown—Fromm needs to play far better than he offered Saturday.
Fromm had a rough game against Texas A&M. He missed several wide-open throws badly, including potential touchdowns.
The wet conditions early didn't help—and Texas A&M came into the game giving up just 195.2 passing yards per game, 27th in the nation—so Fromm deserves some benefit of the doubt.
And to be fair, he did find the end zone through the air:
He also made a few key throws late, icing the game. But settling for four field goals isn't a great recipe for success, even with the incredibly reliable Rodrigo Blankenship kicking them.
Fromm has offered a mixed bag in the team's biggest games this season:
- Notre Dame: 20-of-26 for 187 yards and a touchdown.
- Florida: 20-of-30 for 279 yards and two touchdowns.
- Auburn: 13-of-28 for 110 yards and three touchdowns.
Fromm does deserve credit for throwing seven touchdowns to zero interceptions in the team's four biggest wins this season. He's earned the designation as a solid game-manager for a reason. But if Georgia is going to win a national championship, being a game-manager might not be enough.
Georgia travels to Georgia Tech on Saturday, Nov. 30, at noon ET. Texas A&M's brutal schedule concludes with a matchup against LSU that same date at 7 p.m.