ATHENS—On a raucous Saturday night between the hedges, No. 3 Georgia held on for a gutsy win that might have ramifications all the way to the College Football Playoff.For No. 7 Notre Dame, it was another big-game loss but a performance that should bring more respect.Jake Fromm threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager early in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs survived for a 23-17 victory that was much tougher than many expected.
”That’s what college football is all about, man,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. ”I hate that somebody had to lose that game. I’ve got a lot of respect for the way they played, and all the negative things they’ve heard, and to come out and play the way they did. They played really physical as a team, and so did we. We persevered.”
The Bulldogs (4-0) trailed 10-7 at halftime but turned the momentum when redshirt freshman Divaad Wilson snatched away a deflected pass by Ian Book for an interception deep in Notre Dame territory.The Fromm-to-Cager combination helped push Georgia to a 23-10 lead before the Fighting Irish (2-1) made a game of it at the end.Book’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool cut the deficit with 3:12 remaining, the Notre Dame defense held, and Book got the ball back at his own 48 after a poor punt with just under 2 minutes to go.The Irish got as far as the Georgia 38, but no farther. It ended with Book zig-zagging on a desperate scramble before hurling up a long pass that fell incomplete, denying Notre Dame the signature win over a top opponent it so desperately needs in its first visit ever to Sanford Stadium.