Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (7) carries the ball to gain yards for the Bulldogs. At the end of the first half, Georgia trailed Notre Dame by a score of 10-7 on Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (Photo/ Gabriella Audi https://gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

No. 3 Georgia defeated No. 7 Notre Dame 23-17 on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. Here are some observations from the Red & Black:

Second half havoc

On 4th-and-9 with under a minute left, Georgia’s defense showed up – again. 

The crew stopped the Irish and sealed the win for the Bulldogs. 

Georgia’s came to life in the second half. Ian Book controlled the first half for Notre Dame offensively, but Georgia’s veteran presence emerged late in the game. Defensive back Divaad Wilson hauled in a juggling interception, which led to a game-tying field goal in the third quarter. 

Senior safety J.R. Reed picked off Book in the fourth quarter and created an audio eruption within Sanford Stadium. 

The raucous crowd didn't hurt, either. Notre Dame was jumpy on offense, and the Irish had six false starts. Notre Dame miscommunicated offensively and was forced to call four early timeouts as a result of the record-breaking crowd at Sanford Stadium. 

Lawrence Cager’s arrival  

If Georgia fans didn’t know who Lawrence Cager is, they do now. The graduate transfer from Miami hauled in a pair of critical receptions for the Bulldogs late in the game. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jake Fromm connected with Cager down the sideline for 36 yards. Then, Fromm found Cager again for a 10-yard gain. 

Cager hauled in his first touchdown as a Bulldog three plays later with an impressive, toe-tapping catch on a 15-yard reception. He finished with a team-high five receptions for 82 yards.

No late-game gamble

On 4th-and-1 in the fourth quarter, Kirby Smart sent the field goal unit onto the field. After gaining 41 yards, the Bulldogs’ drive stalled. Fromm initially rushed 10 yards for a first down, but was marked short and brought up fourth down after the play was reviewed. 

With a talent-laden roster, Smart elected to kick. Rodrigo Blankenship nailed his third field goal of the night, this time from 46 yards. However, it could have cost Georgia the game. The Irish stormed back and scored to bring the game within one touchdown late in the game. 

Injuries pile up 

Georgia was already dealing with a depleted staff entering Saturday. The roster was roughed up again against Notre Dame. 

Starting cornerback Eric Stokes recorded a tackle on the second play of the game, but was shaken up on the play and exited the contest. Both the CBS and Georgia radio broadcasts reported that Stokes was dealing with a right knee injury. Stokes returned to the sideline later in the first half, but did not re-enter the game. 

Offensive lineman Solomon Kindley was hurt on a screen pass in the second quarter. Junior Justin Shaffer subbed in for Kindley.

In the second half, David Marshall injured his leg and exited the game. CBS reported a left leg injury for the Bulldogs’ senior defensive end. 

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