ATLANTA — It took eight weeks and a meeting with Georgia Tech, an ACC opponent with a losing record, but the Bulldogs scored more than 27 points for the first time since their 43-14 win against Tennessee on Oct. 5 in their 52-7 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia underwent an SEC-heavy slate at the end of its season, playing seven conference opponents consecutively from the Oct. 5 matchup with Tennessee to the Nov. 23 game against Texas A&M.
Chalk it up to unimaginative play calling from first-year offensive coordinator James Coley, quarterback Jake Fromm’s shaky chemistry with his receivers or a matter of unfortunate weather conditions, but the Bulldogs entered Saturday seeking an offensive boost in its final regular season game — and they got it.
Fromm hadn’t passed for over 200 yards since the Florida game on Nov. 2. He finished his performance against the Yellow Jackets before the end of the third quarter, going 14-of-29 for 254 yards and four touchdowns. Fromm’s four touchdown passes against Georgia Tech were the most he’d thrown in a single game all season.
The junior quarterback did all of this without his favorite target: wide receiver Lawrence Cager. Cager had been sidelined intermittently throughout the season with a recurring shoulder injury but hurt his ankle in practice the week leading up to the Georgia Tech game. The graduate transfer from Miami led Georgia receivers with 476 yards on 33 receptions going into Saturday, but a group of receivers stepped up in his absence.
Tyler Simmons, Dominick Blaylock, Charlie Woerner and George Pickens each picked up a touchdown reception against Georgia Tech. Simmons’ catch was his first touchdown reception of the season, Blaylock’s served as redemption for a muffed punt in the first half, Woerner’s was the first of his career and Pickens’ was his sixth touchdown, giving him the most of any Georgia receiver this season.
But Pickens, who didn’t play in the first half, was ejected in the third quarter after fighting with Georgia Tech’s Tre Swilling.
A balanced Georgia offense finished with 500 offensive yards, accumulating 281 in the air and 219 on the ground. A total of 10 pass catchers and eight rushers contributed to Georgia’s best offensive performance since totaling 526 yards against Tennessee.
D’Andre Swift was the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 73 yards on 10 attempts, but he also fumbled twice and left the game in the third quarter with an injury. Swift entered Saturday as Georgia’s leading rusher with 1,130 yards on 183 carries and seven touchdowns.
As much as the offense answered questions about its production against Georgia Tech, Cager’s absence, Swift’s injury and Pickens’ ejection raise more uncertainty as Georgia turns its attention to a meeting with No. 2 LSU in the SEC championship next week.