ATHENS, Ga. — It was all about firepower being on display and the depth being explored as Georgia opened its SEC Championship defense season in style with a 45-0 win over Austin Peay.
The scoring began for the Bulldogs when Rodrigo Blankenship booted a 32-yard field goal to cap off UGA’s opening drive, giving the Dawgs a 3-0 lead at the 10:42 mark of the first quarter.
The Bulldogs’ defense, sporting several fresh new faces, stymied Austin Peay offensively on the Governors’ first possession, and when Georgia took over, it was Jake Fromm Finding Riley Ridley on a curl route inside the 15 yard line.
Riley turned it up field and dove into the end zone to complete the 10-yard pass play which became Georgia’s first touchdown of the season which stretched Georgia’s lead to 10-0.
Austin Peay inserted quarterback JaVaughn Craig for its next series, but the results didn’t get much better. Running back Jeremiah Oatsvall took a pitch from Craig, but before he could get to the corner, Georgia linebacker Natriz Patrick bullied his way in to separate Oatsvall from the ball with a big hit.
D’Andre Walker would scoop the ball up at the 8 yard line, giving Georgia a 1st and goal. That’s when running back DeAndre Swift would scoot in from eight yards out to put Georgia up 17-0 with just five seconds left in the opening quarter.
At this point, the only thing in doubt was how much Georgia would score and how soon would fans get to see true freshman quarterback Justin Fields. The latter question was answered before halftime, as fields came into the game after Austin Peay missed wide on a 37-yard field goal attempt.
And on the third play of Fields’ first drive, Demetris Robinson, the speedster who transferred from Cal in the offseason, took an end-around and darted 72 yards for a score, making it 24-0, Georgia with 10:29 left in the first half.
Elijah Holyfield would add a 17-yard scoring scamper where he danced and juked his way to the edge before prancing into the end zone to make it a 31-0 halftime advantage.
The second half was much of the same, albeit at a slower scoring pace as Sanford Stadium began to empty along with the Georgia bench. Starters would get one more chance to shine though, particularly offensively when Fromm would find Mecole Hardeman running wide open over the middle. Hardman would proceed to turn a routine pass-and-catch into a 59-yard touchdown as he turned on the speed around the 30 and outran everybody in an Austin Peay uniform.
Georgia would get one more score in the third quarter when Fields hooked up with Isaac Nauta for a 12-yard touchdown pass, providing the final score.
Check back at covnews.com for more coverage on the Bulldogs’ season opener.