All eyes in the college football world are on Athens. And if they aren’t yet, they will be by the end of the night.
On Saturday, No. 3 Georgia drubbed Arkansas State 55-0. Now the attention shifts forward. In one week, the Bulldogs welcome No. 7 Notre Dame to Sanford Stadium for a heavyweight clash, and Kirby Smart’s squad can officially prepare for the challenge.
“As far as the stage, the biggest thing you can do is let your players relax and play,” Smart said.
Georgia did a lot of things well in its win against Arkansas State that can springboard the team’s momentum going into the top-10 matchup. Jake Fromm put up his third-best passing day as a Bulldog. He finished 17-for-22 passing for 279 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came on chunk plays.
On the first play of the second quarter, Fromm hit freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock on a short passing pattern. Blaylock then turned and sprinted upfield for a 60-yard touchdown. Two minutes later, D’Andre Swift took a pass out of the backfield 48 yards into the end zone.
“We were being physical up front,” Fromm said. “The guys up front were making plays. It’s really easy when you’re clicking on offense. You just go out there and make plays.”
Fromm said that he won’t really be able to assess his efficient day until he gets in the film room early in the week. Fromm now is a seasoned SEC veteran with no major competition for his job. It didn’t start that way, though.
Fromm made his first-career start in South Bend, Indiana, at Notre Dame in 2017. He finished 16-for-29 passing that game for 141 yards and threw just one touchdown, relying heavily on the run game to bail out the offense. Over the two-year span since, Fromm has developed into a reliable asset within Georgia’s system.
“It’s been a world of difference,” Smart said. “He was a young, nervous, composed freshman. Now he’s a confident, experienced junior and he continues to get better and make good decisions.”
Fromm’s confidence is aided by the deep pool of talent surrounding him and the Bulldogs aren’t backing down from the looming challenge because they played on that big stage in 2017.
“[The 2017 game] let us know that we could play with anybody,” senior running back Brian Herrien said. “We know we had a lot of things to fix, but we got them done and had a pretty great season.”
Smart, however, stuck to business as usual. He said that he doesn’t know what to expect out of Notre Dame, but he knows that the Irish have a talent-laden roster.
“They recruit the same players that we do,” Smart said. “When we go knocking on doors, we’re all going after the same guys. So, they have a pretty good football team.”
Georgia and Notre Dame will be the preeminent game in college football next week. For the Bulldogs, they say it’s just another game.
“We’re just trying to have the same turnout as last time,” Herrien said. “We’re going to go hard, play the best ball, not make too many mistakes and try to get a W.”