Rapid Reaction: Georgia blasts Georgia Tech in final tune-up for rematch with Alabama in SEC title game
The best way to stop Georgia Tech’s quirky offense is to keep it on the sideline, and that’s exactly what Georgia did Saturday in beating the Yellow Jackets 45-21 in Athens.
The Bulldogs dominated from the start, going on two long first-quarter drives that took a combined 20 plays and more than 11 minutes to set the tone. It continued throughout the game, as the Bulldogs scored on their first seven possessions to finish the regular season with an 11-1 record.
It was nice to get over the hump against Tech, which had won in Athens in 2014 and 2016. As with any rivalry, holding the upper hand does matter. The Bulldogs seem to have that edge back. Georgia now leads the series 67-41-5 and the Bulldogs have won 15 of the past 18 meetings.
The Bulldogs were perfect on both sides of the ball in the first half. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm was 12-for-15 passing for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half, and the Bulldogs also ran for 172 yards. He threw first-half touchdown passes to Riley Ridley (5 yards), Jeremiah Holloman (12 yards) and Mecole Hardman (44 yards).
He connected with Ridley again on the first drive of the third quarter, drilling a pass into double coverage that Ridley hauled in for a 4-yard score to make it 45-7. Fromm finished his day at the end of the third quarter. He was 13-for-16 for 175 yards and the 4 scores.
The defense was just as impressive in the first half, pitching a shutout themselves. (Georgia Tech’s only first-half touchdown came on a 100-yard kickoff return after Georgia’s second score. Their only offensive TD came late in the fourth quarter.)
Georgia Tech gained only 66 yards on 26 plays, and never threatened the end zone on offense. Georgia Tech converted only 1 of 6 third-down plays and was just 1 of 3 on fourth-down conversions in the first half, as well. Georgia Tech came into the game averaging 353.7 yards a game on the ground, best in the country.
They finally topped 100 yards rushing in the fourth quarter and scored their first offensive touchdown on Qua Searcy’s 3-yard run to make it 45-14. Tech’s TD throw in the final minute accounted for the final score.
The two schools are separated by just 70 miles, but there is a huge talent gap right now. For the second consecutive year, Georgia Tech simply had no answer for the Bulldogs’ offensive attack all day.
Georgia didn’t punt until its eighth possession, when many of the reserves, including freshman quarterback Justin Fields, came in.
Up next is the game of the year in college football, when No. 5 Georgia takes on No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game next Saturday in Atlanta. It’s a rematch of last year’s National Championship Game, won by Alabama. The game starts at 4 p.m. ET (TV: CBS).