By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — A disappointing end to the first half left Georgia coach Kirby Smart feeling deflated, so he challenged his offense to put the game away.
Nick Chubb and the Bulldogs came through in a big way.
Chubb ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns, freshman Jake Fromm threw three scoring passes in his first home start, and No. 13 Georgia gained momentum for its SEC schedule with its 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.
Georgia (3-0) led 21-7 at halftime after Samford scored on Devlin Hodges’ 9-yard touchdown pass to TaDarryl Marshall.
“I really called on the offense to take the game over,” Smart said.
Chubb’s 14-yard scoring run started a string of three straight touchdowns for Georgia in the third quarter.
Chubb had a big first quarter with back-to-back 20-yard runs and a 32-yard scoring run.
“Those guys will be playing in the NFL, so you put a little bit of that together, and it makes for some big (plays),” said Samford coach Chris Hatcher.
Chubb added a 14-yard scoring run early in the third quarter.
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.
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. 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 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.
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,” Hatcher said.
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.
Samford: The visiting Bulldogs of the Southern Conference couldn’t match their average of 38.5 points in their first two games. Hodges had some success with the quick, short passes that usually lead to more points, but he often faced pressure from Georgia’s speed pass rushers. Hodges had too little help from Samford’s running game, which was held to 22 yards. Hodges completed 26 of 35 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
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.
Samford: The Bulldogs visit Western Carolina next Saturday in their Southern Conference opener.
Georgia: After opening with three nonconference games, Georgia opens its SEC schedule next Saturday night when Mississippi State visits Sanford Stadium.