Fromm, Eason and the Notre Dame moment that awaits UGA

The moment of impact. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This was Kirby Smart after Jake Fromm, freshman backup, steadied and steered Georgia to a 31-10 victory over Appalachian State: “There’s not been a moment that’s too big for Jake Fromm since he was a little kid … He handled the game the way he handled our scrimmages.”

Fromm was pressed into early service because Jacob Eason, last year’s ballyhooed freshman, sprained his left knee while being shoved out of bounds and then shoved again on the Bulldogs’ third series. The first two yielded three-and-outs. The late-hit personal foul against Eason marked Georgia’s initial first down.

The first drive under Fromm moved the Bulldogs across midfield. The next three: Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown. The game – which might have become a teeth-gnashing thing, given App State’s history – was settled with 6:56 remaining in the first half. No moment too big for Jake Fromm, who once led Warner Robins to the Little League World Series.

Playing in Williamsport, Pa., when you’re not yet a teenager? That’s a big deal. Taking the field for your home state’s flagship program in Quarter 1 of Game 1 of your Year 1? Bigger still. Up next: Notre Dame in South Bend. No moment too big for Jake Fromm – at least not yet.

Smart’s postgame prognosis regarding Eason wasn’t terribly revealing: “Sprained knee. We don’t know the extent past that. We’ll know more (Sunday) … We don’t know how long it’ll be.”

There are varying strains of knee sprains. Even the least dire can render an athlete inoperative from two to four weeks. I’m no orthopedist, but it would be remarkable if Eason plays at Notre Dame. That’s the ostensibly bad news, which some Georgia fans – let’s be honest – would take as glad tidings.

Eason arrived from Washington (the state) hailed as the Bulldogs’ next great quarterback. On cue, he played serious minutes in the 2016 opener against North Carolina, started the next week against Nicholls State and delivered the game-winning touchdown at Missouri the week after that. He very nearly beat Tennessee before Joshua Dobbs and Jauan Jennings intervened. The self-described skinny QB appeared on the fastest of tracks.

Then the track got muddy. The more you saw – again, let’s be honest – the more you wondered. Eason was demonstrably talented. (Big arm!) But if he was all that, why were his stats underwhelming? These were his passing yards in the games after Tennessee – 29 at South Carolina, 346 in a home loss to Vanderbilt (!), 146 in the annual loss to Florida, 245 in a narrow victory at Kentucky, 208 in the upset of Auburn, 165 against Louisiana, 139 in the come-from-ahead loss to Georgia Tech, 164 in the Liberty Bowl versus TCU.

Yes, he had Nick Chubb and Sony Michel behind him. Yes, Georgia’s offensive line was awful. Yes, Jim Chaney’s game plans, such as they were, careened from pillar to post. Still, Eason’s numbers – he finished 10th among SEC quarterbacks in completion percentage, 13th (of 15) in passer rating and 14th in yards per attempt. The best you could say was that he’d been pretty good for a freshman.

By season’s end, a gentle backlash had ensued. It was said that Eason had the arm but not the legs and maybe not the moxie. It was posited that his lofty recruiting status was due, at least in part, to the lack of competition in Washington. (Matthew Stafford hailed from Texas, Aaron Murray from Florida. Different stories there.)

When Fromm rushed out to replace the escorted-off Eason on Saturday, there were no groans from the Sanford Stadium gathering. There was, if these ears can be trusted, a veritable buzz. The newest new guy rose to the occasion. (No moment too big.) He completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards. Some weren’t the prettiest of throws, but they mostly got where they intended to go. He wasn’t sacked. He wasn’t intercepted. He didn’t fumble.

Granted, Appalachian State is not Notre Dame. A relief appearance in Athens isn’t to be confused with a starting assignment in South Bend. But Saturday night, Smart listed all the things his Bulldogs need to do, and this was included: “We’ve got to be able to throw the ball. Fromm can do that.”

The first half of the season’s first game wasn’t done before all manner of speculation had broken out in the press box, always a hothouse for all manner of speculation. Did Georgia have a Quarterback Controversy? Had Eason started his last game as a Bulldog? Would he transfer to Miami (where Mark Richt, who lured him to Athens, now coaches) at season’s end? Was he, to invoke the name of the luckless Yankee first baseman who took a day off and saw Lou Gehrig make every start for the next 14 years, a latter-day Wally Pipp?

It’s too soon to answer any of the above. On the first Saturday of September, all we knew for sure was that Jake Fromm of Houston County had met an unscheduled moment. As ever, it wasn’t too big.

From last night: Eason got hurt. Fromm looked good. Is UGA headed for a QB controversy?

Also from last night: Eason out. Fromm in. UGA looked pretty good anyway.

Reader Comments 0

133 comments
FamilyDivided
FamilyDivided

OK Dawg fans. I've been to the last couple of GT games in South Bend. A very nice bunch of fans. Don't be surprised as you are walking to the stadium or inside the stadium if you are greeted with "welcome to Notre Dame". The proper response would be "happy to be here".

Remember, you represent the State of Georgia and UGA. It's the first visit to South Bend by Georgia. Please try to leave the same favorable opinion of Dawg fans that they have of Jacket fans.

STAY CLASSY!!!!!

Spinoza
Spinoza

@FamilyDivided It would be better if their team was more classy and the public relations were less skilled at covering up sexual assaults at Notre Dame.

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

App State usual non intentional/intentional late hit's. Oh yes I know them well

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

Fromm is a Georgia boy, that's the difference in East Coast/West Coast Football.....We play real Football in the South

TideDawg
TideDawg

QB controversy........Ga. has one QB injured and a backup playing.....what's the controversy? If Ga. beats ND with Fromm....then you may have a controversy. If Bradley was injured and Schultz had to write Bradley's articles for him......would there be a controversy over who is the worst writer?

ZAZ
ZAZ

Jacket fan here, but looks like UGA is on a championship run again after total domination of App State. Good for them. Now, get ready. 8PM tonight.......run left, run right, run up the middle, punt!

TideDawg
TideDawg

@ZAZ  Hey! I don't like PJ or his offense, but he won 9 games last year, so I have to applaud the results. The Ws are on the board.

Big Wally
Big Wally

So cute when TO responds back to himself in his alternative self Ohio.  I realize no one else would ever agree with TO, but creating a false alternative to yourself to just like your own comments is really the actions of a very sick mind.

GT71
GT71

I remember Fromm from the LLWS.  The Mossy Creek Boys were terrific.  Hope the kid plays well in the NFL.   Those four slight injuries in mid-November which kept him fro playing the last regular-season game for UGA 4 years in a row, are a mystery.  But didn't keep him down for long.


almmanduane75
almmanduane75

I'm just glad MB didn't pick us to win at ND.


He hasn't gotten anything right in predictions remotely associated with UGA in years.


Hopefully, he'll refrain from a score Saturday. 

_Aileen_
_Aileen_

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TOJacket
TOJacket

Man I love a good UGA QB controversy!!

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket Controversy? Whether to draw your husband's bath or clean his shower? After, iron some shirts or call one of your girlfriends if you're that desperate for attention and someone to talk to.

If Eason is hurt, Fromm will start.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@JKToole @TOJacket No sheet Knute...gee thanks for the inside info and do you dawgs ever tire of talking the homophobic rhetoric?...explore that on your own time.

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket Homophobia connotes fear. Your inability to discern between homophobia and chauvinism is as unremarkable as your understanding of controversy.

Check and see if someone is on the party-line.

cmac22
cmac22

Dude, even the Clemson band mocks the Buckeyes!!! Maybe you should just sit this out for a while!!! #31-0

TOJacket
TOJacket

@JKToole @TOJacket No...that is the dawg fans throwing out disparaging remarks about opposing fans...normal dawg drool.

JKToole
JKToole

@OH:IO @JKToole @TOJacket "Phobisims"? What are they? Identity Politics? Comprehension isn't your strong suit is it? Wrong comment section.

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket @JKToole "Throwing out disparaging remarks about opposing fans"? Are you freakin' kidding?

Snowflake, you're melting.

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

@TOJacket You hired a Controversy in Paul Johnson, Take it from a Georgia Southern Fan he is very Narcissistic. 

JKToole
JKToole

@SouthGeorgiaStrong @TOJacket You think? Tough call. Johnson cares so much what others think, say about his coaching and offense. A true narcissist doesn't care. He does refuse to accept blame for anything. Throw self esteem and paranoia issues in the mix.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@JKToole @TOJacket I was in the 60's....you calling folks some silly a$$ sheet like snowflake and wondering if I'm 12...yep, you;re a mutt.

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket @JKToole And you are a and will always be, a loser. Look at your immature invective you spew on a yearly basis.

I know it hurts, 1-2 wins a decade - if you're lucky (down from your 2-3 wins a decade when you were 12, lol) - against your in-state rival. It would drive anyone mad and misanthropic and arrest personal development.

What I don't understand is your masochism, though. Say one thing, you're predictable. You always come back for the beat down.

Not being a sadist, I do feel sorry for you.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@JKToole @TOJacket Last Nov. 26th is just to much for you to bear...you dawg fans want to run that mouth until you lose...you take this stuff way to serious...clean old fashioned hate JK...been going on for decades...you should feel sorry for the folks in TX...or maybe the Aggies but please don't worry about me. I'm having the time of my life...keep posting...very entertaining...you should be worried about about that OL you got.

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket @JKToole I'm funning with you snowflake. But what's been going on for decades is UGA dominance over your program. I don't take it seriously at all. Why should I, your team isn't.

I do like your hoops hire. Pastner is a fine coach.

Your worries haven't even begun yet. I'd worry about a QB that has only thrown 9 division one passes - one for an interception.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@JKToole @TOJacket Yea sport...i'm dying...did you wiki Joe Montana yet...you're putting some of that "fake" news out here.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@JKToole @TOJacket He was a sophomore in 75 and Dan Devine only played him in 7 games..yep...you are definitely a mutt.

JKToole
JKToole

@TOJacket @JKToole Pardon me - first year behind the offense. But at that rate, please avoid the obvious: Eason's freshman stats compare to Montana's senior stats.

Your point?


Yep, you are definitely a basement-dwelling troll.


Scroach
Scroach

"Eason has the better arm.   Fromm is the better quarterback."

CrackerBox
CrackerBox

The kid played well but he had a few throws that would of been picks in SEC country.  

Big Wally
Big Wally

@CrackerBox True, he didn't have a lot of steam on the deep passes.  However, on the short and intermediate passes he is much more accurate than Eason is.

JKToole
JKToole

@Big Wally @CrackerBox Oh stop. Fromm's thrown 15 collegiate passes. Our quarterback needs to be able to hand the ball off, present a deep threat and hit the tight ends - in that order.

I'm glad Jake Fromm is there, however, I'd rather have Eason starting in S. Bend.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@JKToole @Big Wally @CrackerBox Eason has the better arm, but he is not accurate.  If he doesn't get hurt in that game, then it is a nail biter just like the Nichols State game last year. 

JKToole
JKToole

@Big Wally And you know that from what, 12 plays? C'mon. I believe if Eason had stayed in we'd have hung 50 on them.