ATLANTA — Georgia football beat Georgia Tech 52-7 on Saturday despite not having George Pickens in the first half. Can the Bulldogs do it again against LSU in the 2019 SEC Championship Game?
Pickens, a freshman receiver from Hoover, Alabama, didn't play in the first half against Georgia Tech because he was suspended for a violation of team rules, head coach Kirby Smart said after the game.
He will also sit out the first half next week after he was ejected for a fight with Georgia Tech defensive back Tre Swilling in the third quarter.
"When you make undisciplined decisions, regardless of what guy started it first, you pay a penalty for that," Smart said. "He will sit out the first half of next week. When you make emotional decisions, that's what happens."
Smart's message to his players regarding situations like Pickens' is simple: Don't be stupid. Georgia, which finished the regular season 11-1, has a lot to lose when one of its star players goes down. Especially with the absence of Lawrence Cager, who Smart said is "doubtful" to return for a bowl game.
Pickens leads the Bulldogs with six receiving touchdowns this season, including a 41-yard touchdown catch against Georgia Tech.
"Was it worth it? It's not worth it to me when it hurts the team," Smart said. "You live, you learn and try to grow him up. And you love him. Look, I love George Pickens. He went to [Children's Healthcare of Atlanta] with us on Friday and did an unbelievable job. He had a as much charisma as and as much care for those kids as anybody out there. George is a great kid. [But] he's a freshman."