In the biggest game of his life, Lawrence Cager had the game of his life.
In No. 3 Georgia’s Saturday night showdown with No. 7 Notre Dame, the graduate transfer from Miami hauled in five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
“Big game, you’ve got to make big plays,” Cager said after the game. “Big time players make big time plays in big time games. That’s all I’ve been saying to myself.”
Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley knows Cager dating back to the two’s time together at Miami. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said Cager was a “great match” for a team that had many questions at receiver heading into 2019.
Cager fared well in his first three games in Athens, with five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. But against the Irish, and particularly on the first drive of the fourth quarter, he took things to another level.
Before the drive, Cager preached that the series was all about the offense’s mindset. As long as they stayed strong mentally, things would work out just fine.
The Bulldogs started the drive leading 13-10. On the first play of the final stanza, Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm connected with Cager for 36 yards to the Notre Dame 18-yard line on a play where Cager soared above his defender to make the catch.
“He went up, he made a play,” Fromm said. “I trust him a lot.”
Later in the drive, Georgia faced third-and-7 from the Irish 15. Fromm fired left on a back shoulder fade to Cager, who found a way to tap a foot in the end zone for Georgia’s second touchdown of the night, extending the lead to 20-10.
“As a football player you’ve got to have some awareness,” Cager said. “Coach Smart always stresses field awareness, where you are, (wide receivers) Coach (Cortez Hankton) and Coach Coley as well. As soon as I caught it, I knew I had to get my foot down somehow, someway, and I got it down.”
Even before that fateful drive, Cager helped the Bulldogs tremendously in their biggest game of the year. He played against Notre Dame two years ago with Miami, and receiver Demetris Robertson said Cager had been coaching the receivers up all week on different looks and personnel the Irish would present.
As for the soaring catch and the toe tap on that fourth quarter drive? Well, that’s not a new sight for Robertson or any of the other Bulldogs.
“I see it at practice every day,” Robertson said. “Lawrence is a great, tremendous talent, a big-bodied receiver, fast, quick. He catches those balls all the time, so it’s not surprising to me.”
Cager still has at least eight games left in his collegiate career, maybe more should Georgia reach the postseason. But for now, this game stands as the crown jewel of his college football journey.
“Just came out and attacked with the mindset, and just making plays I normally make every day,” Cager said. “It’s a great feeling.”