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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Another game, another statement made by the Georgia defense. This time at the expense of Tennessee.
What a statement it was.
The Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0) pitched the first shutout against the Volunteers, marking the first time Tennessee has failed to score in a game since 1994, a string of 289 consecutive contest. For those wondering, the mark equaled the fourth-longest in the country.
“It was pretty big,” cornerback Tyrique McGhee said. “We didn’t talk much about it, but we know if you carry out your game plan and play to the ability of your team then a shutout can happen.”
Sophomore J.R. Reed agreed.
“A shutout, a goose egg … that’s something you dream of,” he said.
The Bulldogs have come close before.
In five games, Georgia has allowed just four touchdowns and combined with last week’s win over Mississippi State, have allowed just three points in conference play heading into this Saturday’s contest at Vanderbilt.
Against Tennessee, Georgia allowed just 142 total yards – 62 rushing and 80 passing.
“I feel like we’re on the path to domination but the path doesn’t stop now. We know we’ve got to keep working. It’s easy to listen to the media and everybody around Athens because they see what’s going on, and they love it and that makes it not easy for us to keep focus,” linebacker Lorenzo Carter said. “It’s the job of the leaders and coaches to keep us focused to keep us on the same path that we’re on.”
The Bulldogs lost defensive tackle Trenton Thompson to a right knee injury in the second quarter.
Smart did not have an update after the game.
“All I know is it’s a right knee injury and we will know more tomorrow,” Smart said. “We don’t know a whole lot.”
Linebacker Reggie Carter also left in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury.
“Reggie was just out for the game,” Smart said. “How long it will be, I’m not sure.”
The Bulldogs also momentarily lost outside linebacker Davin Bellamy but he returned later with a club on his hand.
Smart on Fromm; Eason gets in
Jake Fromm wasn’t as efficient as he’s been in his previous three starts.
The freshman completed 7 of 15 passes for 84 yards, although he did tally a pair of rushing scores, running in from 9 and 4 yards out.
He did throw his sixth touchdown pass in three games, but was intercepted once and fortunate not to have a couple of other balls picked off throughout the course of the game.
“Fromm did some good things. He made some poor decisions, he made some plays where he didn’t make the right decision and we evaluate the play of our quarterbacks on decisions,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “Did he make the decision to pull it down and run it a couple of times? Absolutely. He did a good job with it. Jim (offensive coordinator Jim Chaney) called a good game on some zone reads where he was able to get a first down or a touchdown. Those were good calls and good decisions by him, but we have to be more consistent with that and there were some throws I don’t know what he’s thinking or what he’s doing. He knows better than that and he knows he can correct those.”
Fromm didn’t play the entire game.
That’s because Jacob Eason entered in the fourth quarter. Although his only pass attempt was incomplete, the sophomore was able to lead the Bulldogs on a short 37-yard drive capped by a 19-yard field goal by David Marvin.
“It was great to get Jacob in because we were able to get the rust off of the kid,” Smart said. “We wanted to get him back out there, get him comfortable, get him functioning and he’ll continue to do that in practice.”
“It doesn’t make a difference. Like Coach says, they’ll smile to your face but they’re backstabbers at the end of the day, so you’ve got to take everything with a grain of salt and just keep working.” – Lorenzo Carter on any praise the team may receive by the media.
This and that
• Although he didn’t start, right guard Solomon Kindley was able to play, coming in on Georgia’s third offensive series.
• Georgia went 6-for-6 inside the Red Zone to remain perfect on the year, scoring four TDs and two field goals. Georgia is now 19-for-19 including 14 TDs and that leads the SEC. Also, Georgia’s scored a TD today from just outside the red zone as senior TB Sony Michel raced in from 21 yards to make it 31-0.
• Sophomore wideout Riley Ridley made his first career start. Senior Dyshon Sims got the start at right guard (6th of his career) after Solomon Kindley injured an ankle in the second half of last week’s win over Mississippi State. Kindley had started the last two games at RG.
• Georgia traveled 13 freshmen to Saturday’s game, including Fromm, Trey Blount, D’Andre Swift, Deangelo Gibbs, Jeremiah Holloman, Ameer Speed, Malik Herring, Richard LeCounte, Nate McBride, Monty Rice, Justin Shaffer, Andrew Thomas and Walter Grant.