Georgia use big 2nd half to take down another SEC East foe
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes, including a 75-yarder to Terry Godwin, and No. 2 Georgia beat Vanderbilt 41-13 on Saturday night to gain momentum for a crucial stretch of four Southeastern Conference games.
Georgia (6-0, 4-0) trailed for the first time this season following the first of two first-half field goals by Vanderbilt's Ryle Guay less than five minutes into the game.
Fromm threw for a season-high 276 yards while sitting out the final quarter. After Vanderbilt took the 3-0 lead, Fromm needed only 15 seconds to respond with the long scoring pass to Godwin, who fought off cornerback Joejuan Williams' tackle attempt.
The Bulldogs gained momentum for next week's visit to No. 5 Louisiana State. Georgia then plays Florida, Kentucky and Auburn. The four-game stretch will determine the Bulldogs' hopes of defending their SEC championship and making another run at the national title.
Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2) trailed only 7-3 after the first period. Kept out of the end zone until the final seconds, the Commodores couldn't spoil Georgia's homecoming as they did with a 17-16 win in 2016.
Georgia's defense contained senior quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who threw for only 169 yards while completing 14 of 28 passes. Shurmur's backup, Mo Hassan, led the Commodores to a touchdown drive capped by Josh Crawford's 2-yard run with 2 seconds remaining.
Fromm threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Riley Ridley late in the first half for a 21-6 halftime lead. Fromm capped a 75-yard drive to open the second half with a screen pass to tailback D'Andre Swift, who ran 35 yards for the touchdown.
Rodrigo Blankenship kicked field goals of 53 and 28 yards for Georgia. Guay was good from 25 and 42 yards.
Freshman Justin Fields passed for 53 yards and had four carries for 18 yards while playing behind Fields.
Georgia left guard Solomon Kindley was carted off the field in the first quarter with a right knee injury. Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney left the game early in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Vanderbilt's defense was missing defensive lineman Louis Vecchio (illness), who had been listed as a co-starter, and starting outside linebacker Charles Wright.
Vanderbilt: Kalija Lipscomb, who began the day leading the SEC with 43 catches, an average of 8.6 per game, was held to two catches for 16 yards. Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who had 146 yards rushing in last week's win over Tennessee State, started and had a 43-yard run to launch the Commodores' second drive. Vanderbilt settled for Guay's 25-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead which lasted only seconds.
Georgia: Despite the slow start, the Bulldogs topped 40 points for the fifth time in six games; they beat Tennessee 38-12 last week. Georgia had been outrushed 80-7 before their first possession of the second quarter, when Elijah Holyfield had back-to-back carries to launch an 86-yard drive capped by his 24-yard run. The drive helped the offense gain momentum. Three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties could make the Bulldogs' composure a focus for coach Kirby Smart this week.
The strong defensive showing and turnover-free game should be enough to protect the Bulldogs' No. 2 spot in the Top 25.
Vanderbilt: Following an off week, plays host to Florida on Oct. 13.
Georgia: Plays at No. 5 Louisiana State on Saturday.