ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — There was no panic on the Georgia sideline when starting quarterback Jacob Eason limped off the field.
Though he’s a freshman, backup Jake Fromm already has convinced his coach and teammates he’s not easily intimidated.
Fromm led three first-half touchdown drives after Eason sprained his left knee, helping No. 15 Georgia beat Appalachian State 31-10 on Saturday night.
Eason was injured on a late hit in the first quarter and needed help leaving the field. Coach Kirby Smart said more will be known about the severity of the injury on Sunday.
Eason said Fromm “did exactly what I thought Jake Fromm would do” in moving the offense.
“There has not been a moment that’s been too big for Jake Fromm since he’s been a little kid,” Smart said. “He’s always been that way.”
Fromm completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown after entering the game in the first quarter.
“He showed tremendous poise for a freshman,” said wide receiver Javon Wims. “The situation wasn’t too big for him.”
Nick Chubb ran for 96 yards, including scoring runs of 1 and 7 yards. Sony Michel added 87 yards rushing and a touchdown for Georgia in the opener for both teams.
Fromm threw a 34-yard scoring pass to Wims for his second of three straight touchdown drives in the first half. Chubb and Michel gained momentum as an undersized defense for Appalachian State appeared to wear down.
Fromm wasn’t assured of playing time in the game or even the season before Eason’s injury. Smart said this week he had no plan to create time for Fromm, adding “Jacob Eason is our quarterback.”
That plan changed before all the fans could find their seats at Sanford Stadium.
With 6:30 remaining in the first quarter, Mountaineers defensive tackle Myquon Stout drew a personal foul penalty when he hit Eason late out of bounds. Eason limped back onto the field before collapsing behind the line of scrimmage.
Eason was helped to the sideline and then taken to the locker room. He did not return to the sideline.
Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb played on the Georgia practice fields when his grandfather, Ray Lamb, was Georgia’s coordinator of high school relations. Lamb, the son of Mercer coach Bobby Lamb, completed 18 of 27 passes for 128 yards and ran for 66 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a cool experience,” Lamb said. “I came to games as a kid and I know a lot of guys on that football team there, a lot of alumni from the school. So it was cool to see those guys and play in Sanford Stadium.”
Fromm was out of the game when Mountaineers safety Desmond Franklin intercepted a pass from Brice Ramsey. The turnover set up Lamb’s 20-yard scoring run with less than 6 minutes remaining.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers’ small defensive line was strong early but appeared to wear down on a warm night, allowing touchdowns on three consecutive drives. Appalachian State, the preseason pick to win the SunBelt Conference, couldn’t dent the Georgia defense until late in the game.
Georgia: The Bulldogs, held without a first down on two drives with Eason, found their momentum while running their up-tempo attack with Fromm. The Bulldogs built a 21-0 halftime lead. Smart’s trust in Fromm showed in the third quarter when the freshman completed a 21-yard pass to Wims on a fourth-and-3 play. It was Fromm’s night, but Georgia’s defense also excelled by allowing only 284 yards, helping the Bulldogs play up to their No. 15 preseason ranking.
Appalachian State started three freshmen on offense, center Noah Hannon and wide receivers Thomas Hennigan and Malik Williams. Alex Acey in 2011 was the last true freshman to start at center for the Mountaineers. Jaylan Barbour (2014) was the last freshman receiver to start.
“They just got here in July, so to come in here in this environment, I thought they played well,” said Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield.
Georgia started freshman Andrew Thomas at right tackle. The Bulldogs’ last true freshman starter on the offensive line was John Theus in 2012. First-year receiver Mecole Hardman and tailback D’Andre Swift had their first catches.
Appalachian State: Returns home to Boone, North Carolina, to face Savannah State on Saturday.
Georgia: Visits Notre Dame on Saturday night.
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