The location might have differed, but the Redcoat Band’s halftime performance of music from “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” proved a fitting soundtrack for Georgia’s Homecoming win over New Mexico State, as nine different Bulldogs scored touchdowns Saturday in the bench-emptying victory.
Although Georgia scored 63 points and had 627 yards of net offense, the game actually got off to a pretty tentative start for the Dogs as Mike Bobo held off going with his fifth- and sixth-string running backs in the wake of this week’s suspensions, giving the start at tailback instead to defensive crossover Branden Smith, who ended up scoring the first touchdown, juking the only defender who had a shot at him on a 56-yard run.
Early on, Bobo had Aaron Murray throwing a lot of short passes, and when Brandon Harton fumbled at the NMS 3 after a 9-yard run on his first carry, you had to wonder if Georgia would stick with the air game.
But with the score 7-3, the running game opened up in the second quarter with Harton and Kyle Karempelis running tough, allowing Murray to shift into high-gear with the play-action attack. By the time the quarter was over, Murray had thrown five touchdown passes and Georgia had scored 42 more points.
That was pretty much the game, as the Dogs only scored one touchdown each in the third and fourth quarters. With the subs in on defense for Georgia, the Aggies added a couple of scores in garbage time.
For the day, the diminutive Harton showed some speed and nice cutting ability (but also showed he’s not going to ever run over anyone), finishing with 98 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Walk-on Karempelis added 63 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Murray sat the entire second half, and while Hutson Mason didn’t lead the same sort of scoring binge, he looked good completing 8 of 10 passes for 131 yards and one TD.
The receivers also looked good, with Chris Conley (five catches for 126 yards) making some especially nice snags. Another loaner from the defense, Brandon Boykin, showed off his speed on a 42-yard touchdown catch, and an amusing highlight came when Aron White ended up not just between the hedges but in the hedges after a touchdown catch. A couple of teammates had to haul out the receiver, who was briefly stuck in the bushes.
Defensively, Georgia’s starters pretty much shut down the Aggies, with the highlight being a great over-the-shoulder interception by Bacarri Rambo, who then returned it 55 yards to set up another score.
As for special teams, there were no major miscues on a day when Georgia punted only three times, attempted no field goals and alternated Blair Walsh and Brandon Bogotay at placekicker.
Really, the Homecoming crowd couldn’t have asked for much more from the Georgia team, which appeared focused (which hasn’t always been the case in a mismatch like this) and took care of business.
A beautiful, if somewhat windy and chilly day in Athens and a lot of fun on the field.
Feel free to share your own views of Georgia’s Homecoming win over New Mexico State.
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