Sunday, September 10, 2017 12:00 am
Georgia 20, Notre Dame 19
Irish sacked by late Georgia rush
CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette
* In the third quarter, Brandon Wimbush was sacked by Georgia's Lorenzo Carter, an unblocked rusher, and the ball came loose. Carter recovered the fumble on Notre Dame's first giveaway of the game.
* The Bulldogs played without Malkom Parrish, perhaps their top cornerback, because of a foot injury.
* The Irish gave up a long kickoff return by Elijah Holyfield that would have set up Georgia's opening drive inside their 10-yard line, but a holding penalty against Jarvis Wilson wiped out the return. It was one of four penalties the Bulldogs committed in the initial five minutes.
SOUTH BEND – What a disappointment it was for Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame's preseason All-American at left tackle.
With under two minutes remaining Saturday night, Georgia's Davin Bellamy blew by McGlinchey to sack Brandon Wimbush and strip the ball free, and Lorenzo Carter recovered the fumble to preserve the Bulldogs' 20-19 victory at Notre Dame Stadium.
Cheers erupted immediately from Georgia's large contingent of fans, knowing their team could simply kneel three times after the turnover to drain the remaining 1:27 off the clock. It was the final example of how the 15th-ranked Bulldogs took over Notre Dame Stadium.
"Certainly disappointed for my guys," Irish coach Brian Kelly said. "I am proud of their effort. They battled. They played hard. The credit should go to Georgia. In a one-point game, there's going to be a play or two that decides the game."
A 30-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship with 3:34 remaining provided the 20-19 lead, and Georgia's defense, which forced Notre Dame to be a one-dimensional offense, held twice.
The 24th-ranked Irish (1-1) lacked any semblance of a running game after averaging 9.6 yards per carry in their season opener, a 49-16 win over Temple that felt like a scrimmage compared to the rough-and-tumble affair with Georgia.
Josh Adams, who had 161 yards rushing last week, finished with just 53 on 19 carries and had to make his biggest contribution in the passing game with six catches for 60 yards.
Georgia (2-0) trailed 13-10 at halftime before taking its first lead, 17-16, on Sony Michel's 6-yard touchdown run with 4:34 left in the third quarter. The Irish would go ahead once more, 19-17 on Justin Yoon's 28-yard field goal, before breaking down completely.
Notre Dame's final three drives resulted in two punts and the turnover with Bellamy and Carter on the pass rush.
The key play in the first half, resulting in a 10-10 score, was Terry Godwin running a fade on Notre Dame's Julian Love in the end zone and making a brilliant one-handed catch. The ball never even touched his other hand. Love immediately signaled incomplete, and so did the nearest official, but that call was overturned on replay. It was a 5-yard touchdown pass for Jake Fromm.
Filling in for sophomore Jacob Eason, the freshman Fromm completed 16 of 29 passes for 141 yards with the one score and an interception when Drue Tranquill undercut tight end Isaac Nauta in the first half.
Georgia's vaunted running game came through in key moments. Michel had 13 carries for 73 yards, and Nick Chubb had 13 runs for 63 yards.
Wimbush, who had a 1-yard TD run for a 10-3 second-quarter lead, completed just 20 of 40 throws for 210 yards.
The Irish, who play on the road next week against Boston College, have now lost 11 of their past 16 games against ranked teams.
"When it all comes together, these press conferences will be better," Kelly said. "We didn't get off a block here or there, but we played well enough defensively. We can go and play with anyone."