Georgia’s offense has struggled to show up early so far this season against conference opponents and South Carolina’s defense forced this result yet again. The Bulldogs trailed at halftime for the second time this year, 17-10. However this time, Georgia’s offense was hushed for much longer than a half. Georgia’s defense was the only unit it had to rely on and the main reason the game was forced to overtime.
Jake Fromm was outplayed by South Carolina’s defense in all but one quarter. The Gamecocks did not allow any touchdown passes from the junior quarterback after three quarters. His first came in the fourth quarter with a six yard completion to Demetris Robertson. Fromm looked almost uncharacteristic behind the line in this noon SEC match-up.
Fromm was just 14 of 23 in the first half for a much lower completion percentage than the Georgia offense is used to. He finished the game 28 of 51.
“We were just not on the same page and it’s just kind of part of it,” Fromm said.
Fromm threw his first interception of the year in the second quarter. The South Carolina sophomore defensive back Israel Mukuamu read Fromm’s pass and returned his interception 53 yards for a touchdown that gave the Gamecocks the lead heading into halftime. Fromm threw a second interception with less than ten minutes left on the game clock in the fourth quarter. Mukuamu made the pick once again. As if it could not get any worse, Fromm threw a third pick on Georgia’s first overtime drive.
“[There was] a really big guy in my face, I tried to throw it out of bounds. I knew that George [Pickens] was in the area and I was trying to get it over his head,” Fromm said about the pick six. “I don’t know what happened, I was on the ground after that.”
Even with the return of left guard Solomon Kindley to Georgia’s offensive line, Fromm was sacked twice in the first half alone. Another sack met Fromm in the second half as Georgia could not take control of the pressure behind the line from South Carolina.
This pressure really caught up to Fromm at the beginning of the fourth quarter as he fumbled and turned over the ball. This turnover came right as Georgia was knocking on the door of the red zone at the South Carolina 29-yard line.
“That rarely happens with our guys, but it happened today and I can’t tell you exactly why it happened,” head coach Kirby Smart said.
Fromm had several pass options against South Carolina and connected with eight different receivers throughout the game. Freshman George Pickens was Fromm’s number one target with seven receptions for 98 yards.
Defensive penalties on South Carolina kept Georgia’s drive alive late in the fourth quarter on fourth down plays resulting in the touchdown that tied the game and sent it to overtime, but it was not enough.
“I believe in Jake Fromm. Jake Fromm is a leader of men, he gives tremendous effort week in and week out,” Smart said. “We were not efficient enough offensively.”