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Georgia photo/Perry McIntyre / Georgia junior quarterback Jake Fromm completed just 11 of 23 passes in last Saturday's 19-13 win over Texas A&M, but he was more accurate once the rain went away.

ATHENS, Ga. — Jake Fromm is still the most efficient quarterback in Georgia football history, but he's losing his grip.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior has failed to complete 50% of his passes for three consecutive weeks, going 13-of-29 against Missouri on Nov. 9, 13-of-28 at Auburn on Nov. 16 and 11-of-23 this past Saturday against Texas A&M.

Before this recent stretch, Fromm had endured just three such games in his Bulldogs career — the 2017 win at Tennessee, the 2017 loss at Auburn and last year's loss at LSU.

"It's hard to put a finger on it," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Monday. "Auburn played really tight coverage, so there were no really easy throws, and Texas A&M's pass-efficiency defense is really stellar and makes it tough at times, but at times you've got to hit the open guy. I think Jake would be the first to tell you that.

"We missed a couple and had to eat a couple. We've got to do a better job of helping him out, and he's got to do a better job of hitting the ones when they're open."

The No. 4 Bulldogs (10-1) complete their regular-season schedule Saturday at in-state rival Georgia Tech (3-8).

Fromm wore a glove to combat rainy conditions during the first half this past Saturday, when he was only 1-of-6 in the first quarter and 4-of-13 at intermission. One of his more notable misses came on a flea-flicker in the first quarter, when he overthrew a wide-open George Pickens.

"If I want to be as good as I want to be, I've got to hit those shots," Fromm said Saturday. "We've got to be able to hit them and be able to capitalize on those."

When the sun came out against the Aggies, Fromm did complete seven of his 10 second-half passes, and then there is this bigger picture: Despite the accuracy issues the last three games, Fromm has thrown for six touchdowns and hasn't been intercepted.

Oh, and the Bulldogs won all three games.

"I don't think it's any kind of concern," senior tight end Charlie Woerner said Monday. "This last game was tough, especially the first half, as wet as it was. Even in the second half, the balls were still soaked from the first half.

"It's kind of the ups and downs of the season, but Jake is still playing some really good football and helping the offense get in the right situations."

Fromm finished ninth nationally in efficiency as a freshman, when he led the Bulldogs to their first Southeastern Conference championship in 12 seasons. He was even more efficient last season, ranking fifth in the country, when he completed 206 of 306 passes (67.3%) for 2,749 yards with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions.

This season, Fromm has completed 180 of 284 passes (63.4%) for 2,131 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions, ranking 44th in efficiency, but Georgia hasn't scored more than 30 points in a game since routing Tennessee 43-14 on Oct. 5.

"For us, it's about winning the early downs," Fromm said. "I really do think we're a good third-down team, but we've got to do a better job on first and second down. Whether that's communication or getting the ball out in space or taking more shots, we need to do a better job on first and second down."

Fromm had an efficiency rating of 160.1 as a freshman and 171.2 last season. This year's clip is 144.1 through 11 games, which has him at 158.8 for his career.

Georgia's leader in the clubhouse for career efficiency is Aaron Murray, who compiled a 158.6 rating from 2010 to 2013.

"Jake Fromm is the best quarterback in the world," Bulldogs junior safety Richard LeCounte III said. "I've been with him from the beginning — since we went to the U.S. Army Game, and then we came here. There is no other player I would rather have on my team. He works. He does everything right, and he's a role model to the younger guys."

Said Fromm: "Our defense is playing great, and we're so close on offense. I think we're inches away. We're right there, and it's only a matter of time."

 

Odds and ends

Bulldogs senior safety J.R. Reed is among the three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, while senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship is among the three finalists for the Lou Groza Award. ... Georgia holds a 67-39-5 series lead over the Yellow Jackets, according to its records, and has won nine straight series meetings in Atlanta. ... Smart said Monday that receiver Lawrence Cager and offensive lineman Cade Mays should return to their respective roles Saturday. ... Cornerback Eric Stokes was injured against the Aggies but should be back as well.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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