No. 15 Georgia Comes Back To Beat No. 24 Notre Dame
Georgia crossed the Mason-Dixon Line for the first time in 52 years and led by a dominate defense, out-slugged Notre Dame 20-19 in South Bend on Saturday night.
Dawg Nation turned out in full force, as nearly 40% of Notre Dame Stadium was filled with Red & Black clad fans. For only the second time, the two storied programs faced off on the gridiron. In an intense, hard-hitting defensive battle, Georgia came back twice in the second half to claim the victory.
On a beautiful late summer night, Georgia kicked off and the Fighting Irish promptly moved downfield on a seven-play, 53-yard drive, ending on a 39-yard field goal by Justin Yoon.
On the ensuing kickoff, Georgia sophomore Elijah Holyfield, electrified the Bulldog faithful with a spectacular 90-yard return to Norte Dame’s five yard line. However, the play was nullified on a questionable holding call.
On the Dawgs’ second possession, true freshman Jake Fromm, starting his first collegiate game, led the Dawgs on a six-play, 71-yard scoring drive as Rodrigo Blankenship tied the game with a 27-yard field goal.
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush scored the game’s first touchdown on a one-yard scamper early in the second quarter. Georgia answered on a sensational one-handed catch in the end zone by Terry Godwin. The 12-play, 62-yard touchdown drive tied the game at 10 midway through the quarter.
Notre Dame came back with a 40-yard drive that ended with Yoon’s 42-yard field goal. Georgia tried to answer but Fromm threw his first career interception. The Georgia defense held and the first half ended with Notre Dame holding a 13-10 advantage.
The Dawgs opened the second half with an eight-play, 49 yard drive. However, Blankenship sent a 44-yard field goal attempt wide right.
The teams traded possessions before Notre Dame ended a 33-yard drive with a 37-yard field goal by Yoon. Yoon’s third field goal made the score 16-10 midway through the third quarter.
Two minutes later, Georgia answered with a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive ending in Sony Michel’s six-yard sweep. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard run by freshman D’Andre Swift
The Fighting Irish began the fourth quarter down 17-16, but a 73-yard drive put the home team back in the lead. Yoon connected again, on a 33-yard field goal, giving Notre Dame a 19-17 lead.
After each team traded a three and out, Georgia moved 63 yards on nine plays. The drive stalled and Blankenship nailed a 30-yard field goal, giving the Bulldogs a 20-19 lead, with 3:39 remaining.
Georgia’s defense rose to the occasion once again, as they forced their seventh three and out of the game. The Irish punted but the Dawgs weren’t able to make a first down. Cameron Nizialek booted an impressive 47-yard punt to the Notre Dame 20 and the Irish began their final drive with just under two minutes remaining.
Notre Dame (1-1) managed a first down before senior linebacker Davin Bellamy had the defenses play of the game. Bellamy streaked around the left side, sacked Wimbush and caused a fumble. Lorenzo Carter, barreling in from the other side, fell on the ball for his second recovery of the game.
The Dawgs went into the victory formation and Fromm cradled the ball as the Dawgs went to 2-0 on the season.
Fromm went 16 for 29 for 141 yards with a touchdown pass in his first start.
”Good poise,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said of Fromm. ”He never faltered.”
Georgia had 189 rushing yards to Notre Dame’s 55. Michel had 73 yards and Nick Chubb rushed for 63 yards. The Dawgs were hurt by 12 penalties for 127 yards, several of which extended Notre Dame drives.
Georgia returns to Athens next Saturday for its third consecutive night game. Samford visits for the 7:30 pm kickoff.