Once more, the stage proves to never be too big for Jake Fromm.
On Georgia’s opening drive, the freshman quarterback was sacked twice and it looked to be a repeat performance of a dominating performance by No. 2 Auburn’s defensive front, but he didn’t ponder on it and claims he had “no idea.”
Fromm started his day off with an incompletion, but then went on to complete nine consecutive passes throughout his next four drives. He didn’t know about that, either.
Whether it was good or bad for Georgia, Fromm carried a mindset of continuing to find his receivers.
“It was really about staying calm,” he said. “I had to help the guys around me really dial in to what we were doing.”
As Georgia took upon the championship opportunity at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Bulldogs’ coaching staff was persistent upon the importance of composure and physicality. Fromm said that he tries to be physical at times, but admittedly said that those opportunities don’t come too often as a quarterback.
So, his focus became composure. Georgia found itself on one of college football’s biggest stages in what was essentially a national quarterfinal game, with the opportunity for revenge while playing in front of 76,534 fans in attendance.
In what could have been a nerve-racking time, the circumstances didn’t faze Fromm. Aside from his opening incompletion, the Warner Robins product was rolling and finished 16-of-22 with 183 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia’s offensive surge led the way to a 28-7 victory over Auburn, claiming a conference title while avenging a Nov. 11 loss in which Fromm had a career-low completion percentage. Freshman running back D’Andre Swift -- who rattled off a 64-yard touchdown run -- said Georgia knew it had the game won based on its preparation and apparently the signal caller felt the same way.
“I was extremely confident in the guys around me, because they know what they're doing,” Fromm said. “They had my back, and I knew that God wouldn't put me in a situation too big for me. I took it in and wasn't nervous at all.”
Fromm carried the same demeanor as he did during any week of preparation. His teammates repeatedly praise how he was locked in during practices and film study. When Fromm was tasked with leading Georgia in its first conference championship for any player on this roster, he took the same approach.
His 16 completions went to six different play-makers, none of which went to Georgia’s leading receiver Javon Wims. Fromm saw man coverage from Auburn’s secondary on many different occasions and thought, “Who do I throw it to?”
Fromm joked that he would throw to them all simultaneously if possible, but Mecole Hardman (67 yards) and Terry Godwin (48 yards and a touchdown) led the way in the passing attack.
“He has the ability to sit in the pocket, keep his poise, deliver the ball and make the right changes,” Godwin said. “We had a lot of trust in him.”
Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has shown persistence on running the ball throughout the season but called upon Fromm when needed to set the Auburn defense off-balance.
Fromm’s 22 pass attempts tied for his fourth-highest mark of the season, and the 72 percent completion rate is his second-best mark. Georgia turned to Fromm to string together offensive traction, and he did so as three of his passes went for over 30 yards.
“Jake is kind of the mailman. He’s the deliverer of the package,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said.
Georgia’s offensive play-makers are “ready to ride” with Fromm -- who Hardman considers a “true warrior” -- behind center and the Bulldogs likely headed for a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Fromm is confident in his team’s direction, just as he is in his playmakers.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” Fromm said.