Georgia football: The top 10 plays of 2017

Georgia fooball-Terry Godwin catch-vs. Notre Dame 2017

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UGA’s top 10 plays of 2017

Although the New Year will bring the College Football Playoff and a shot to win the national title, 2017 is in the books for Georgia football. So while we count down the days until the Rose Bowl, let’s also count down the best plays of 2017. Considering this was UGA football’s best year in three decades, there are plenty to choose from. Here are the top 10.

10. Tyrique McGhee’s interception vs. Tennessee — If there’s a better way to start a game against the Vols than jumping the route and intercepting a pass on the first play from scrimmage, I haven’t seen it. It was all downhill from there, and Georgia won 41-0. Watch

9. Javon Wims’ 17-yard touchdown catch vs. Florida — The rout of Florida was jump started by this jump ball touchdown from Wims. It was the second of three consecutive touchdowns on the first three drives of the 42-7 win. Watch

8. Nick Chubb’s 55-yard run against Kentucky — You knew we weren’t going to make it through this list without a touchdown from Chubb. This 55-yard dash on senior day gave Chubb 1,000 yards for the season, making him only the second player in UGA history with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Watch

7. Davin Bellamy’s strip-sack in the SEC Championship Game — Auburn was threatening to go up 14-0 before Bellamy beat his man to knock the ball loose. This play gave Georgia life and turned around the SEC Championship Game. Watch

6. Jake Fromm’s 59-yard flea-flicker TD to Terry Godwin vs. Mississippi State — A play that was designed perfectly by the coaches and excited perfectly by the players. This was the moment I knew we were in for a special season. Watch

5. Bellamy’s strip-sack vs. Notre DameDeja vu? Nope, Davin Bellamy. This forced fumble late in the fourth quarter put the Notre Dame game on ice, giving Georgia its first signature win of the Kirby Smart era. Watch

4. DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle’s blocked field goal in the SEC Championship Game — Bellamy’s forced fumble got UGA back in the game, but Hawkins-Muckle’s block tipped the momentum fully in Georgia’s favor. Watch

3. D’Andre Swift’s 64-yard TD run in the SEC Championship Game — With most of the fourth quarter to play, Georgia was up 13 but not out of the water. Swift’s 64-yard sprint sent Auburn fans to exits and started the celebration 10 minutes before the final whistle. Watch

2. Sony Michel’s 74-yard TD run vs. Florida — Here’s the second entry from the first quarter of the Florida game. Michel’s long touchdown gave Georgia a 21-0 lead and capped off one of the most entertaining eight-minute spans in Georgia football history. Watch

1. Godwin’s one-handed TD catch vs. Notre Dame — Take away the magnitude of the moment — on the road in a close game against a good Notre Dame team — and this would still be the best play of the year. It was simply a phenomenal snag by Godwin, the kind we’ll remember from years to come. Watch

So how do you think I did? Let me know which plays you think should be higher or lower and which plays I omitted that you think should be included. There were a ton of great plays this year, so I’m sure I missed some. And if Georgia makes it to the CFP final, I’m sure there will be some more plays worthy of a look. We’ll do a revised list encompassing the entire 2017-18 season when all the games are wrapped in January, and I’ll make sure to include any glaring omissions you guys note then.

‘Strength against strength’

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was asked Wednesday for his thoughts on the Georgia team he’ll face in the Rose Bowl, and he had nothing but good things to say about the Dawgs. From Seth Emerson of DawgNation:

“Physical team,” Mayfield said of Georgia, who he hasn’t studied on film yet but has watched on television. “I’ve seen how Jake Fromm and those running backs play offense. They play well. I know just from the receivers – we tried to get (Javon) Wims to come to Oklahoma so I know what type of player he is. They have a bunch of talented guys.

“That’s not even getting into their front seven. They’ve got a bunch of physical guys. That’s the type of match-up we’re looking forward to. When you look at it is strength against strength.”

Mayfield also had kind words for Georgia’s star linebacker, Roquan Smith.

“Unbelievable player,” Mayfield said according to Emerson. “A guy who’s always around the ball. His stats show that but then you watch the film and you really see just how much of an impact he makes on the field. Teams have tried to game plan to make sure he’s not a factor. But he always makes sure that he is a factor in the game.”

D’Andre Swift is just getting started

Look at what Swift has done this season as Georgia’s third option at tailback and imagine what he’ll do next season when he’s on top of the depth chart. From Emerson:

  • The leading rusher in the SEC championship game, with 88 yards on 7 carries, mainly on the strength of his game-sealing 64-yard run in the fourth quarter.
  • The second-best yards-per-carry average in the SEC (8.18). Only Alabama’s Damien Harris is averaging more (8.24).
  • Georgia’s fourth-leading receiver, with 15 catches for 146 yards. He trails only the actual wide receivers, Javon Wims, Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman.
  • Swift is No. 20 in the SEC in rushing yards (597), despite only 73 carries, which is 35 less than anybody else in the top 20.

5-star in-state DE de-commits from Ohio State

Five-star Stockbridge DE Brenton Cox has de-committed from Ohio State, opening the door for Georgia to land the major in-state prospect. And considering he had this to say about Georgia a few short weeks ago, you’ve got to feel good about the Dawgs’ chances. From Jeff Sentell of DawgNation:

DawgNation reached out to a source last week. That contact said something had changed with Cox and that he could wind up at Georgia. Another contact echoed that sentiment.

“What has changed?” Cox said. “Well, really it is just the players there. The players there that I actually know. Like [UGA freshman] Justin Shaffer. Netori Johnson. I actually know [5-star UGA freshman] Isaiah Wilson. We really connect.

“If I was to go there, then we would try to be like ‘The U’ in the old days. Because everyone knows each other. Everybody decided it was best to stay home and play together. That’s the only big difference now with how I feel about Georgia.”

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The post Georgia football: The top 10 plays of 2017 appeared first on DawgNation.

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