Georgia’s football players –- even its passer -– got a kick out of the way the Bulldogs ran the ball in Saturday night’s victory over Georgia Tech.
“Some guy in the stands behind me yelled, ‘Joe Cox, you [stink]. Your coach won’t even let you throw the ball,’” Georgia’s quarterback said. “I wanted to turn around and say, ‘We don’t need to!’”
Georgia ran the ball on each of its first 13 offensive plays, not throwing a pass until the second quarter, and by game’s end had run for more yards –- 339 –- than in any game in nine seasons under coach Mark Richt. Conversely, Georgia passed for fewer yards (76) than in any game under Richt.
Running the ball was Georgia’s not-so-secret plan all along against the Yellow Jackets. It was even written on tailback Washaun Ealey’s face.
Under one eye were the words “I Run,” and under the other “This State.”
Fellow tailback Caleb King had written the same message on his arms.
Despite the well-laid plan, the extent of the running game’s success exceeded even the Bulldogs’ expectations.
“I never could have predicted that,” Richt said of the 339 yards rushing. “We knew we wanted to run the ball, control the clock, keep the ball away from Georgia Tech as long as we could. We wanted to at least do a decent job in that area.”
“Hopefully we do a lot more of this in the future,” Ealey said.
Richt said the offensive line, tight ends and receivers all did an exceptional job of blocking. And Ealey and King accelerated their late-season progress.
Both had the first 100-yard games of their collegiate careers, Ealey carrying 20 times for 183 yards and King 18 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including a pivotal 75-yard run that immediately answered an early second-half Tech touchdown.
It was the first time since 2004 that Georgia had two 100-yard gainers in the same game.
“They were feeding off each other,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. And they were keeping Tech’s offense off the field. “That’s what you’ve got to do against their offense — try to make them impatient a little bit,” Bobo said.
Ealey, a freshman, and King, a redshirt sophomore, were prized recruits whey signed with Georgia, and their recent play bodes well for the future.
“Caleb is finally starting to run like the guy we saw in all those Rivals clips,” said Cox, referring to videos of King as a high school star on the Rivals.com website.