Defense Shines, No. 4 Georgia holds off Texas A&M, 19-13

Sports

Texas A&M wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon (2) makes a catch as Georgia defensive back Richard LeCounte (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By PAUL NEWBERRY

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — George Pickens scored Georgia’s only touchdown, Rodrigo Blankenship booted four field goals and the defense stymied Texas A&M, leading the No. 4 Bulldogs to a lackluster 19-13 victory over the 24th-ranked Aggies on Saturday.

Georgia (10-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference, No. 4 CFP) wrapped up its conference schedule and stayed on course to make a run at the College Football Playoff.

While the Bulldogs struggled offensively, the defense turned in another dominating performance. Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3) was held to just minus-1 yards rushing and 274 yards overall, one week after piling up 319 yards on the ground in a rout of South Carolina.

But it was a struggle all the way for the Bulldogs, who managed only 260 total yards and didn’t seal the victory under D’Andre Swift broke off an 11-yard run on third-and-1 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining.

Blankenship connected on field goals of 41, 49, 37 and 31 yards to become Georgia’s career scoring leader with 418 points. He passed Marshall Morgan (407), Billy Bennett (409) and previous leader Blair Walsh (412).

Athens was hit by heavy rain before the game, and another line of torrential storms struck again in the second quarter, keeping famed mascot Uga X confined to his doghouse.

Then, suddenly, the showers cleared.

So did the cloud over the Georgia offense.

Just after sun broke through the clouds, bathing the towering north stands in light, Pickens slipped free along the right side of the end zone and hauled in a 16-yard pass from Jake Fromm, pushing the Bulldogs to a 13-3 lead at halftime.

It was not a sign of things to come.

Georgia kept settling for field goals until Texas A&M finally reached the end zone with their most impressive drive of the game. Going 75 yards in 10 plays, the Aggies scored on Kellen Mond’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Jhamon Ausbon with 11:16 remaining.

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas A&M: The Aggies had another chance to prove they can compete with the nation’s top teams. Again, they came up short. All four of their losses have been to teams that were ranked in the Top 10 at the time of the game.

Georgia: It’s difficult to envision the Bulldogs reaching the four-team playoff with the way their offense is playing. Fromm’s struggles are especially concerning. The junior quarterback was 11 of 23 for 163 yards, the third straight game he has failed to complete even 50 percent of his passes. But Swift had some very impressive runs, finishing with 103 yards on 19 carries.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M: Completes its season-ending gauntlet by traveling to Baton Rouge to take on No. 1 LSU — the fifth Top 10 opponent the Aggies have faced this season.

Georgia: Makes the short trip to Atlanta for its “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” rivalry game against Georgia Tech (3-8) to end the regular season. The Bulldogs will be heavily favored to beat the Yellow Jackets for the third year in a row and 16th time in their last 19 meetings.

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