ATHENS — Georgia quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm had the stage Saturday, when the Bulldogs’ G-Day spring game was designed to feature the passing game.
The results were mixed, especially for Eason, the sophomore returning starter .
Eason flashed what coach Kirby Smart calls “electric throws” that enabled the quarterback to win the starting job as a true freshman in 2016. He also remained prone to mistakes, and threw an interception that Smart said “just shouldn’t happen to him at this point in time.”
Fromm, who enrolled early this spring, becoming one of the top names in Georgia’s 2017 recruiting class, matched Eason’s two scoring passes. Fromm had a higher completion percentage without an interception while leading the Red team to a 25-22 win over Eason’s Black team in the scrimmage.
Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were mostly spectators. The two, who combined for more than 2,000 yards rushing in 2016, are established stars who are expected to be the focus of the offense in 2017. Saturday was about learning more about the young quarterbacks and their receivers.
Fromm showed the poise that has earned him compliments this spring. He threw a 38-yard pass to Mecole Hardman on a fourth-and-12 play that set up Rodrigo Blankenship’s 28-yard field goal to give the Red team the lead.
Fromm completed 14 of 23 passes for 277 yards with two touchdowns.
Chubb said Fromm “adjusted well” to the college game at a time when he should be finishing his final year in high school.
“Nothing hindered him at all,” Chubb said. “He came in and from the first day it’s been like he’s been here for a couple years. He did everything well, making checks, making passes he’s been asked to make.”
Smart insisted early in the spring schedule that Fromm would provide legitimate competition for Eason . Even so, there was every indication on Saturday that Eason remains firmly established as the starter. He played only with the first-team offense, and some of his struggles could be attributed to playing against the starting defense.
Eason completed 16 of 36 passes for 311 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and five sacks.
Eason said Fromm “pushed me in every way, really.”
“He’s a quick learner and he’s always there to push me and I’m there to push him,” Eason said. “That’s the way it should work.”
Fromm was not made available for interviews.
Eason threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Jayson Stanley in the corner of the end zone that showed why he was one of the nation’s top recruits in 2016.
“That was a pretty pass,” Smart said. “That’s what Jacob has the capability of doing.”
Michel had one carry for 4 yards and one catch for 2 yards. Chubb did not have a carry and had one catch for 9 yards.
The decisions by Chubb and Michel to return for their senior seasons gave the program a lift following the disappointing 8-5 record in Smart’s first season.
Georgia announced the attendance at 66,133, which ranks as the second highest for a spring game, behind last year’s 93,000. Smart asked for a full house last year to make a statement about the support for Georgia football. He said he wanted another big crowd this year to impress recruits.
Elijah Holyfield, the son of former boxing champion Evander Holyfield, ran for 41 yards with a touchdown on 15 carries.
Terry Godwin had five catches for 130 yards. Tyler Simmons caught five passes for 114 yards, including a 70-yarder from Fromm, and a touchdown. J.J. Holloman had three catches for 77 yards and a score.