ATHENS — Nick Chubb ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns, freshman Jake Fromm threw three scoring passes in his first home start, and No. 13 Georgia’s defense was dominant in a 42-14 victory over Samford on Saturday night.
With fellow senior Sony Michel held out with an ankle injury sustained last week in a victory at Notre Dame, Chubb had his busiest game of the season. Chubb’s season-high 16 carries, all in the first three quarters, helped him become the first Bulldogs back to run for 100 yards this season.
“We worked hard in the offseason to play to our Georgia standard and I think we’ve been doing that,” Chubb said.
Chubb was stopped on a fourth-down run on the Bulldogs’ opening drive, and he rarely was stopped again. He had back-to-back 20-yard runs to open Georgia’s next drive and added a 32-yard scoring run late in the opening quarter.
Chubb scored on a 14-yard run early in the third quarter before watching backups handle the remainder of the carries.
Fromm, who took over after starter Jacob Eason suffered a sprained left knee in the first quarter of the season-opening win over Appalachian State, was impressive. He threw scoring passes of 51 and 9 yards to Terry Godwin and 5 yards to Mecole Hardman.
“He played the ball where he needed to place it and we made big plays for him,” Godwin said.
Coach Kirby Smart said he challenge his players at halftime, when Georgia led 21-7.
“I really called on the offense to take the game over,” Smart said.
The Bulldogs answered the challenge with three third-quarter touchdowns.
Godwin said the offense is “right on the verge” of producing as it should.
“Probably next week or the week after that we’ll be clicking on all cylinders,” Godwin said.
Eason, who leaned on a crutch on the sideline at Notre Dame, was not in uniform but shed the crutch while showing no sign of favoring the injured knee. Coach Kirby Smart has not said if Eason is close to returning.
“It’s always a possibility,” Smart said when asked if Eason might return in next week’s visit from Mississippi State.
Georgia (3-0) avoided a letdown following the emotional win at Notre Dame.
Chubb already had 94 yards rushing and a touchdown by the end of the opening quarter while Samford (2-1) was still without a first down.
Samford finally broke through with Devlin Hodges’ 9-yard touchdown pass to TaDarryl Marshall late in the first half. Hodges added an 18-yard scoring pass to Kelvin McKnight early in the fourth quarter.
“I thought at times offensively we played as good as we have all year, and then other times we go back to making silly mistakes that you just can’t do,” said Samford coach Chris Hatcher.
J.R. Reed protected Georgia’s 21-7 lead late in the first half when he blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt by Jordan Weaver.
Fromm completed 8 of 13 passes for 165 yards. He did not throw an interception but lost a fumble.
Georgia freshman D’Andre Swift had nine carries for 54 yards and an 11-yard touchdown.
Georgia: The Bulldogs gained more momentum, which was especially needed on offense, for the start of their Southeastern Conference schedule. It was a far more impressive showing than last season’s 26-24 win over Nicholls, another FCS team. Lorenzo Carter had two sacks, giving him three in two weeks. Chubb deserved credit for some of the freshman’s passing production. Samford’s defense was fooled by Fromm’s fake handoff to Chubb on his 47-yard pass to Riley Ridley in the opening quarter. The long pass set up Chubb’s 32-yard scoring run on the next play.
Georgia: After opening with three nonconference games, Georgia opens its SEC schedule next Saturday night when Mississippi State visits Sanford Stadium.