Georgia’s defense once again got off to a slow start against a lesser opponent Saturday night, playing indifferently early on against Florida Atlantic, with the game tied 14-14 before the Dawgs finally started to clamp down.
The defense, which was missing a banged-up Jarvis Jones, played much better in the second half and, fortunately the UGA offense showed up ready to play against the Owls, with a school-record 713 net yards on offense as true freshman backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall both broke the century mark, with Gurley running for 111 yards on 10 carries while Marshall got 104 on his 10 rushes. Ken Malcome also showed some tough running on seven carries for 46 yards.
Aaron Murray had a productive night, completing 14 of 19 passes for a career-high 342 yards and two touchdowns. He did misfire on a couple of passes (both to Gurley) and threw an interception in the end zone, but fortunately the defense was back on track by then and on the very next play Georgia’s Amarlo Herrera returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown.
One of Murray’s favorite receivers was Michael Bennett, who had an impressive 110 yards on four catches. But there also were nice catches on big plays by Marlon Brown, Tavarres King and tight end Artie Lynch. Oh, and Malcolm Mitchell switched over from defense briefly and snagged a 49-yarder.
The most distinctive thing about Georgia’s offense Saturday night was its quick-strike capability, with the average scoring drive lasting just under 2 minutes. No wonder the Owls had a 2-1 advantage in time of possession at halftime.
Anyway, the Dawgs roared back in the second half and actually had the 42-point spread covered until backup QB Christian LeMay had an interception returned for a TD late in garbage time.
In other words, the end result was what Georgia fans expected. Sure, the tendency of the Dawgs defense to take a while to get serious in these nonconference games is something Todd Grantham hopefully will address, but with Mike Bobo’s offense having another big game, at least it hasn’t really cost the Dawgs so far.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg