Sunday, September 10, 2017

No. 15 Georgia 20, No. 24 Notre Dame 19: Bulldogs defense comes up with a late stop

                                               Photo Credit: Getty Images/Icon Sportswire

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

NOTRE DAME— A back and forth battle between the No. 15 Georgia Bulldogs (2-0) and the No. 24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1) came down to the final minute of play. A game sealing fumble recovery from Lorenzo Carter sealed the Bulldogs’ 20-19 win over the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium.

Georgia fans traveled well for the team’s first game north of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1965 as South Bend looked more like a neutral site or a home game for Georgia for Saturday night’s top 25 matchup.

“This atmosphere tonight was incredible. I thought with college football— you think our players; our fan base— This will be a game they talk about for a long time. This was a special trip,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said.  “We’d like to say thanks to the fans because they were really behind us and backed us in a momentum swinging game.”

Despite the win, penalties almost became the downfall for Georgia with 12 for 127 yards.

The two teams combined for 137 yards in the first quarter of play. Justin Yoon and Rodrigo Blankenship both split the uprights in the first quarter for the only scoring of the quarter.

Notre Dame forced a fumble on Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm at the Georgia 32-yard line.  Brandon Wimbush put the Irish ahead 10-3 on a quarterback keeper to the pylon for a 1-yard touchdown run.

Georgia put the ball in the hands of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to pound the ball down the field.  Fromm found Terry Godwin in the back corner of the end zone for a phenomenal one-handed grab while falling out of bounds for a five-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 10-10. Godwin also caught another pass for 31 yards to finish with two catches on 36 yards and a TD.

Notre Dame’s Justin Yoon tacked on another 42-yard field goal with 4:14 remaining in the second quarter to give the Irish a 13-10 lead which they would take into halftime.

Georgia marched 75 yards in 1:48 before Michel capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 17-16 lead in the third quarter.  The Bulldog offense was propelled on the drive by a 40-yard rush by Lorenzo Carter.

Yoon and Blankenship traded fourth quarter field goals; each of which gave their team the lead.  Ultimately, Blankenship’s 30-yard field goal with 3:34 remaining in the fourth quarter was the difference maker.

“It’s one of the greatest stadiums for college football in the country.  It’s a really special place.  Coach Smart told us at the beginning of the week, you know, there’s a lot of history, a lot of tradition in this place.  It was just an amazing experience,” Blankenship said. “So to be able to put the game winning points up on the board for my team, it’s just one of the greatest honors I could think of.”

The Irish forced a Georgia three-and-out and took over at their own 19-yard line with 1:57 left on the clock.  After a 17-yard completion from Brandon Wimbush to Chris Finke, Wimbush was sacked and fumbled, giving possession back to Georgia with 1:27 left to play.

Looking Ahead:

Notre Dame heads to rival Boston College as it looks to improve to 2-1 on the season for a Noon ET kick, while Georgia looks to go 3-0 when it hosts Samford at 7:30 p.m. ET.