ATHENS, Ga. — On Georgia's second play from scrimmage in its 41-13 win over Vanderbilt last Saturday night, Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm dropped back and threw down the left sideline to Terry Godwin.
Only Godwin wasn't looking for the ball, and it sailed incomplete.
"I had turned around to start blocking, and he threw it to me," Godwin said. "I didn't pick up the signals and didn't realize it was a pass. It was my fault. I'm a senior, and I'm not supposed to make mistakes like that. It would have been a touchdown, too.
"I knew the safety was gone, and Fromm was going to put me in the best position to make the play. It was an opportunity lost."
An opportunity lost became an opportunity found soon after. The Bulldogs opened their second possession with Fromm dropping back again and this time finding Godwin behind the Commodores' secondary for a 75-yard touchdown pass.
It was the longest reception of Godwin's Bulldogs career and the first touchdown of what had been a slow start to his final college season.
"I thought it was a huge catch by Terry and a good read by Jake," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "We had really good protection on that play, because Jake held the ball for a long time. The run after the catch was really good. It was great to be rewarded on that."
Said Fromm: "It was awesome seeing him out there making plays. He would have had one more play if he had run the right route on the first drive. I'm going to throw him under the bus on that one."
Godwin, who made one of the greatest catches in Bulldogs history with last season's one-handed touchdown snag in the 20-19 win at Notre Dame, missed much of preseason camp with a knee injury and then strained a calf during the recovery process. He sat out Georgia's opening 45-0 victory over Austin Peay and entered last Saturday with just four catches for 46 yards this season.
"When you first get an injury, there is always frustration, because you always want to get back out there," Godwin said. "It's that competitive nature in you. I had players and coaches pushing me, though, so it was hard to have a frown on my face. They kept cheering me up."
Godwin had two catches for 95 yards against Vanderbilt, with his 75-yard score giving him a healthy average of 23.5 yards per reception this season. He finished off his touchdown by breaking the tackles of Joejuan Williams and Donovan Sheffield inside the 10-yard line.
"In our receiving room, we have a rule to not get tackled inside the 5," Godwin said. "If you do, there are going to be consequences, because what receiver wants to catch a great ball and get tackled inside the 5 and not score?"
Smart not only appreciated Godwin's deep reception but the blocking he provided on a pair of second-half plays — the 35-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to running back D'Andre Swift and James Cook's 22-yard run that almost was a 78-yard touchdown had Cook not barely stepped out of bounds.
"He gets his hands on people and drives them," Smart said. "He's a tough guy."
Godwin and the rest of Georgia's receivers could have a tough assignment Saturday, when the No. 2 Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) visit No. 13 LSU (5-1, 2-1), which has a secondary headed by preseason All-America cornerback Greedy Williams. This season, the 6-foot-3, 184-pound Williams had a 10-tackle performance against Ole Miss and has two interceptions, including one during the 22-21 upset win at Auburn.
Godwin (5-11, 185) will be giving up four inches to Williams, which hasn't exactly been a common occurrence during his career.
"We'll just have to find out how things go when the matchup comes," Godwin said. "As a receiving corps, we just have to be who we are."
Georgia picked up its 17th commitment for the 2019 signing class and the seventh from a top-100 prospect Wednesday when Lewis Cine (pronounced "seen") gave the Bulldogs a nonbinding pledge. A 6-2, 180-pound safety from Cedar Hill, Texas, Cine is rated by 247Sports.com as the nation's No. 3 safety and the No. 59 prospect overall. Cine selected the Bulldogs over scholarship offers from Michigan, Penn State and Texas.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.