ATHENS, Ga. — If Georgia is going to do what many have predicted and win the SEC East, then a freshman quarterback could be the one to lead them.
Following the first-quarter loss of starting quarterback Jacob Eason, the 15th-ranked Bulldogs were forced to turn to freshman Jake Fromm, a former five-star standout who threw for nearly 13,000 yards during his high school career.
At least on this night, Fromm was up to the task after leading Georgia to three straight first-half touchdowns and a 31-10 victory over Appalachian State.
As for Eason, his status for next week’s game at Notre Dame and the season that lies beyond is unknown.
“He’s got a sprained knee but right now we don’t know the extent,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. “We’ll know a lot more tomorrow. I hate it for Jacob because he had a really good camp, he worked really hard, but we don’t know how long it will be.”
If Fromm was nervous about his first collegiate game, he didn’t show it. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown for Georgia (1-0), which moved to 2-0 all-time against the Mountaineers (0-1).
“Jake Fromm did exactly what I thought Jake Fromm would do,” Smart said. “There’s not been a moment that’s been too big for Jake Fromm since he was a little kid. He’s always been that way. He played in our scrimmages just like he played out there.”
Fromm, who was not made available for postgame interviews, had plenty of help.
Georgia also rushed for 223 yards, with seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel nearly topping the 100-yard mark. Chubb rushed 15 times for 96 yards and two scores, with Michel putting up 87 yards on 16 carries — all coming in the first three quarters.
Defensively, the Bulldogs allowed only 284 yards, with Appalachian State‘s only touchdown coming on a 20-yard scramble by Taylor Lamb against Georgia’s second unit with 5:41 remaining. A 43-yard field goal by Michael Rubino capped the scoring with 26 seconds left.
“The confidence is the game plan,” Bulldogs defensive tackle Trenton Thompson said when asked about his defense. “Our coach (defensive coordinator Mel Tucker) has for us and how we practice Monday through Thursday. … As long as we stay together in practice, understand what we have to do as a unit and as a defense, our offense is gonna hold our back.”
Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield was impressed.
“They have such great length throughout their front seven,” Satterfield said. “Coming into the game, if there’s a weak spot, maybe it’s the seconday, but I thought they played well there as well.”
Lamb said his team’s inability to find an offensive rhythm ultimately took its toll.
“The biggest challenge of the game was just getting into an offensive groove,” Lamb said. “But you have to give a testament to that defense. They’re extremely good.”
Fromm’s entrance sparked some life into a stagnant offensive start for Georgia, which went two-and-out on its first two possessions.
Fromm led the Bulldogs to touchdown drives on his first three possessions, sparking Georgia’s first touchdown drive with a 25-yarder to Javon Wims.
Chubb tallied the first touchdown for the Bulldogs when he scored from one yard out, before a 34-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to Wims pushed Georgia’s lead to 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs and Fromm weren’t done, scoring again on their third straight possession when Michel capped a four-play, 57-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.
NOTES: As expected, Georgia was without starting cornerback Malkom Parrish, who suffered a broken bone in his foot just over two weeks ago. … Senior Dyshon Sims was the surprise starter for the Bulldogs at right guard after redshirt freshman Solomon Kindley practiced there during fall camp. … This season is the 10-year anniversary of Appalachian State‘s 34-32 victory at Michigan, but the Mountaineers are 0-9 versus Power Five teams since.