Archive for October, 2010

Gator LB: ‘I almost burst into tears after game’; Meyer: ‘Biggest win we’ve had’

JACKSONVILLE — A few comments from the Florida side after the win over Georgia:

Florida linebacker A.J. Jones on beating the Bulldogs: “Man, it feels great. I almost burst into tears after the game. It feels great to beat Georgia, bottom line.”

Punter/placekicker Chas Henry on his game-winning field goal: “When I hit it, it felt good, but the first one that I missed felt good too, so I kept my head down like Coach Durkin and I talked about. When I saw it go through, it was the best feeling I’ve had.”

Coach Urban Meyer: “This is the biggest win we’ve had. We’ve had some great wins around here and maybe some that people would say were more important. I’d probably argue that. This is the biggest win that I can remember in a long time. . . . That was an emotional locker room. These guys have been to hell and back in the last three weeks. Why was it so important? Because we got our brains kicked in the past three weeks and we needed to get the ship …

Continue reading Gator LB: ‘I almost burst into tears after game’; Meyer: ‘Biggest win we’ve had’ »

Murray: OT interception ‘my worst nightmare’

JACKSONVILLE – A few comments from the Georgia side after the loss to Florida:

Quarterback Aaron Murray on throwing an interception in OT: “It was my worst nightmare, especially to know that my team had worked so hard to come back. I tried to get it out before [A.J. Green] made his cut, and I threw it a little bit behind him.  . . .  At first I thought the tip [by Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins] would just put it on the ground. But Florida has great athletes, and if there’s a tipped ball still in the air, they’ll find a way to come up with it.”

Murray on Georgia’s comeback from a 21-7 halftime deficit: “We fought our butts off all game. A lot of teams would go into halftime in a game like this and give up, but not this team. It wasn’t the way I wanted us to start the game with an interception, and I thought the whole first half was rocky. But we bounced back and finished strong. You have to be accurate when you play this athletic of a team. I had a little jitters, and I …

Continue reading Murray: OT interception ‘my worst nightmare’ »

What Mark Richt had to say after loss to Florida

Opening comments:

“It was a very good game. I’m sure the fans [watching] on TV enjoyed it. The television people probably loved it. It was that kind of game. But it certainly didn’t end the way we wanted it to. I want to give Florida credit. They did a good job of getting prepared and doing the things they needed to do to win the game. I want to give our guys credit, too. I thought they fought valiantly. I don’t think anyone can question their effort or question their competitive spirit. It was just one of those games someone had to lose, and unfortunately it was us. I’m proud of the players and the coaches and our fans and the band and everyone else. It was a great effort by their guys and by ours too. And in the end they won. You’ve got to give their punter Chas Henry credit –- a guy who’s been a punter by trade was kind of thrown into the fire as the field-goal guy and was able to make a big kick.

On Aaron Murray’s play in the first half, when he threw two interceptions …

Continue reading What Mark Richt had to say after loss to Florida »

Georgia-Florida preview: Dogs 3-17 in past 20 meetings but favored in this one

(Note: Please join the conversation on Jeff Schultz’s live blog during the game.)

Georgia vs. Florida at a glance:

3 storylines

  • 1. Two unranked teams streaking in different directions. For the first time since 1979 –- the year before Herschel Walker showed up in Athens — Georgia and Florida will meet with neither team ranked in the national polls. And yet, in this crazy SEC East season, the winner of the game between the Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3 SEC) and Gators (4-3, 2-3) will remain in contention for a berth in the SEC title game. Georgia is 3-17 vs. the Gators in the past two decades and 2-7 under coach Mark Richt, so Bulldog Nation descends on Jacksonville with wariness, despite the Dogs bringing a three-game winning streak and the Gators a three-game losing streak into the game.
  • 2. Washaun Ealey’s status. Ealey had a career game last week, running 28 times for 157 yards and a UGA-record five touchdowns at Kentucky. But, typical of how things have gone with Georgia’s …

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Video: 3 keys vs. Florida

CineSport’s Noah Coslov chats with the AJC’s Tim Tucker about the three keys for UGA on Saturday against Florida.

Continue reading Video: 3 keys vs. Florida »

Florida’s Meyer: WR-RB Rainey will play against Dogs; K Sturgis out

Florida wide receiver/running back Chris Rainey will play Saturday against Georgia, Gators coach Urban Meyer said at a  news conference in Gainesville, Fla., tonight.

Rainey is likely to split his playing time 50-50 between slot receiver and running back, Meyer indicated.

Also tonight, Meyer said running back Jeff Demps, who has been bothered by a sprained foot for the past five weeks, is making progress and will play against Georgia. But Meyer said placekicker Caleb Sturgis will not play after aggravating a back injury.

Rainey has not played since his Sept. 14 arrest on a felony charge of aggravated stalking for allegedly texting his former girlfriend, “Time to Die [expletive].” The charge subsequently was reduced to misdemeanor stalking as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, and Rainey was reinstated to the Florida team on Oct. 11. He did not play in the Gators’ Oct. 16 loss to Mississippi State, but Meyer said last week that Rainey would be eligible to play against …

Continue reading Florida’s Meyer: WR-RB Rainey will play against Dogs; K Sturgis out »

Houston’s final season at UGA? His NFL draft stock is soaring

ATHENS – On Georgia coach Mark Richt’s radio call-in show this week, voice-of-the-Dogs Scott Howard asked: “Is there a better pass rusher than Justin Houston in the SEC right now?”

“Well, he’s pretty good,” replied Richt, who added with a laugh: “But I think he would probably need another year after this to really get great.”

“Sure he would, yes,” Howard said.

Houston is a junior, but – all kidding aside – his rising NFL draft stock suggests this might be his final season at UGA.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., the dean of NFL draft analysts, this week ranks Houston as the 17th best prospect for the 2011 draft. Kiper writes on ESPN.com’s Insider section that he tends “to avoid adding juniors and draft-eligible sophomores to the Big Board too early . . . as you don’t want to over-influence guys regarding their status.” But Kiper makes an exception in Houston’s case. “I love his size, skills and the kind of development he’s shown,” Kiper writes about the Georgia outside …

Continue reading Houston’s final season at UGA? His NFL draft stock is soaring »

Injured knee might keep Ealey from starting vs. Florida

ATHENS – It remains unclear who will start at tailback for Georgia on Saturday, partly because of Washaun Ealey’s knee injury, coach Mark Richt said Wednesday night.

“I don’t even know who’s going to start right now,” Richt said. “If Washaun was healthy the entire week, he might have gotten the nod.”

Georgia held a walk-through practice Wednesday indoors at the Ramsey Student Center because of lightning in the area, but Richt expressed doubt Ealey would have been able to participate full-speed in a regular outdoors practice.

Richt expressed optimism that Ealey’s knee, injured late in last week’s win at Kentucky, will be better by Saturday’s game against Florida in Jacksonville.

“It’s really more of a bone bruise; it’s not necessarily anything structurally wrong,” Richt said. “But it’s bothering him right now. In a few days, that will subside and then you add a little adrenaline to it and he’ll be fine.”

If Ealey doesn’t start, Caleb King likely would.

Ealey, who ran for 157 …

Continue reading Injured knee might keep Ealey from starting vs. Florida »

Georgia football ranks No. 2 in SEC behind Vanderbilt — in graduation rate

ATHENS – Georgia’s football team ranked second in the SEC, behind Vanderbilt, in Graduation Success Rate (GSR) statistics released today by the NCAA.

Georgia had a 68-percent graduation rate in football for the freshmen classes and transfer students of 2000 through 2003, according to the figures released today.

The NCAA releases the figures annually for rolling four-year survey periods. Georgia’s football graduation rate was up from 57 percent in last year’s figures.

In all sports, Georgia athletes posted a 77-percent graduation rate in the figures released today, up from 75 percent a year ago. UGA said this year’s figures are the Bulldogs’ highest since the GSR was implemented in 2005, with eight teams (football, men’s basketball, men’s golf, women’s cross-country/track, women’s golf, soccer, softball and women’s swimming/diving) improving from a year ago and three other teams (men’s swimming/diving, gymnastics and women’s tennis) maintaining their perfect 100-percent …

Continue reading Georgia football ranks No. 2 in SEC behind Vanderbilt — in graduation rate »

Sprained MCL limits Ealey in practice; says he’ll play vs. Gators

ATHENS – Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey missed parts of Tuesday’s practice because of a minor knee injury but said he will play Saturday against Florida.

Ealey said the injury, suffered in the fourth quarter of last week’s victory at Kentucky, was diagnosed as a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee.

“It’s really nothing,” Ealey said. “Basically, just a bruise.”

Although held out of some drills Tuesday, including the portion of practice when the No. 1 offense went against the No. 1 defense, Ealey participated when the offense worked against the scout-team defense, which was simulating Florida’s defense.

“It’s 100 percent,” Ealey said later. “I’ve been running on it. Just trying to get it from being stiff. Just trying to get it back to strength.”

“He’s going to be good to go,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said of Ealey. “It’s think it’s more a precautionary measure. [The knee] got a little stiff after …

Continue reading Sprained MCL limits Ealey in practice; says he’ll play vs. Gators »

Richt: Branden Smith will play Saturday, barring setback

Cornerback/punt returner Branden Smith, who missed Georgia’s past three games because of a concussion, is expected to return to action Saturday against Florida, coach Mark Richt said Monday night.

“Branden, we believe, will be ready to play,” Richt said on his weekly radio show. “If there is no setback, then he’ll play for us. We feel like he’ll be ready to go.”

In addition to using Smith on defense and punt returns, Georgia also occasionally plays him on offense. In punt-return situations Saturday, Richt said the Bulldogs will have the option of using Smith or A.J. Green. “A.J. still might be back there,” Richt said.

Smith suffered his second concussion of the season in the Oct. 2 game at Colorado and has not played since.

Richt also said wide receiver Logan Gray will be “ready to go.” Gray left last week’s game with a minor hamstring injury in the first half but returned later.

“I don’t think he has any ill effects from what happened in the ballgame this last week,” Richt …

Continue reading Richt: Branden Smith will play Saturday, barring setback »

News from Gators: Offense ‘modified quite a bit’ for Dogs

With Florida coming off an open date, Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday that he expects to see some new things -– “some interesting twists” — from the Gators’ offense on Saturday in Jacksonville.

Correct, according to Florida coach Urban Meyer.

“I’m not going to share much with you, but we have modified quite a bit,” Meyer said today during his weekly news conference, which can be viewed on Florida’s website. “I’m obviously not going to say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do,’ but things are modified.”

Perhaps more importantly, the open date gave Florida a chance to get healthier, Meyer said.

“The injury issue, the personnel issue, is real, so that’s going to help, I’m thinking,” he said.

Running back Jeff Demps has been limited by a foot injury since the Sept. 18 game at Tennessee.  (”We got smacked with an injury that just devastated us because we’re not dynamic enough,” Meyer said.)  Demps ran on a treadmill Monday and was expected to practice for 20 to 25 snaps, Meyer …

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Dogs’ Houston gets honor from SEC

The SEC today named Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston its Defensive Player of the Week for his powerful performance in Saturday’s victory at Kentucky.

Houston had 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in the Bulldogs’ 44-31 win. He  also was credited with seven quarterback hurries.

A junior from Statesboro, Houston leads the SEC in sacks with nine for the season. His performance has been a major factor in Georgia’s improvement in forcing turnovers.  The Bulldogs rank second in the SEC and 18th in the nation with a turnover margin of +7 (15 opponent turnovers vs. eight UGA turnovers).

Houston’s performance Saturday did not surprise his coach. “You could just see it in his eyes that he was ready, that he was ready to play hard and make some noise,” Mark Richt said. “He knew there was a good chance to get some sacks.”

“I know for us to be a great defense, I have to play great,” Houston told reporters after the …

Continue reading Dogs’ Houston gets honor from SEC »

Richt: Ealey, King will compete for playing time this week

Washaun Ealey ran for 157 yards and five touchdowns on a career-high 28 carries Saturday, but he’ll have to battle for playing time on Georgia’s practice field this week.

Coach Mark Richt said Sunday evening that Caleb King, back this week from a two-game suspension, will resume competition with Ealey for carries at tailback.

“I don’t think there’s any reason why [King] won’t get back into the mix,” Richt said. “I think he’s played pretty well this season. He has improved in a lot of areas throughout the year. We’re confident in his ability to play, so I’m sure he’ll get right back in it. I don’t know in terms of how many carries and all that kind of thing right now. We’ll observe those guys through the week of practice.”

Ealey told reporters after Saturday’s game that he “tweaked” his right knee in the fourth quarter but that it was nothing serious. As of 5:30 p.m.  Sunday, Richt said he had not heard anything from director of sports medicine Ron Courson about Ealey’s …

Continue reading Richt: Ealey, King will compete for playing time this week »

Read all about it: Georgia’s third consecutive victory

A roundup of the AJC’s coverage of Georgia’s 44-31 win over Kentucky:

My game story, which starts with how much difference a few weeks have made for Washaun Ealey:

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Tailback Washaun Ealey, whose fumbles cost him a spot in Georgia’s starting lineup earlier this season, claimed a spot in the Bulldogs’ record book here Saturday night.

Ealey scored five touchdowns as resurgent Georgia extended its winning streak to three games and evened its record at .500 with a 44-31 victory over Kentucky in Commonwealth Stadium.

Ealey’s touchdowns — all on runs of 3 yards or less — set a UGA single-game record for most rushing touchdowns and tied the school’s single-game record for most overall touchdowns.

… Ealey called the record “a great honor” but gave the credit to the offensive line and fullback Shaun Chapas. “They blocked hard all night and were more physical than Kentucky was,” he said. As for his own performance: “I feel like I played up to my potential, and …

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Kentucky coach: Dogs’ pass rush was ‘by far the best we’ve seen’

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips commented on several aspects of Georgia’s play after the Bulldogs’ 44-31 victory Saturday night:

On Georgia’s pass rush:

“It’s the best pass rush team we’ve seen, no question about that. One of our offensive keys to the game was we felt like we had to handle the edge rushers. They’ve given a lot of people problems. We had to use some chip (blocks), to chip our way out to give the guys some help.

“But you can’t use it all the time, because you won’t get some of the underneath control guys out free sometimes. But the times that we didn’t, especially the first time, the first pass we tried — first dropback pass we tried — they got pressure on us and caused the fumble. But this is by far the best pass rush we’ve seen.”

On Georgia’s running game:

“A couple of those times they ran on us, it was a nine-man front. Somebody’s got to make the play for you. You’ve got nine guys in the box, and the only reason we didn’t have 10  is we wanted to put …

Continue reading Kentucky coach: Dogs’ pass rush was ‘by far the best we’ve seen’ »

What Mark Richt had to say after victory over Kentucky …

Transcript of Georgia coach Mark Richt’s postgame news conference:

Opening comments:

“We’re very, very excited about winning a game somewhere besides Athens. It’s good to get three victories in a row. It’s good to even up our record in league play and overall. We’ve caught a good little bit of momentum, and I was really proud of how we came out ready to play again. I thought the guys started fast. We were very fortunate to get the turnovers that we got and the kickoff return and even a fourth down stop. All those things were huge for us in the first half and we took advantage of most of those things. We did miss a field goal that could have been problematic as that game went on. You have to give Kentucky credit. It was the same score as it was a week ago, 28-10, and a week ago they came back and won it. If we didn’t put some points on the board I believe they would have won it again. So I was just happy we came out in the second half and got a good drive and put …

Continue reading What Mark Richt had to say after victory over Kentucky … »

Georgia-Kentucky preview: Dogs seek first road win

(Note: Please join the conversation during the game on Mark Bradley’s live blog.)

The Georgia-Kentucky game (7:30 p.m. Saturday) at a glance:

3 storylines

  • 1. Has Georgia’s season really turned? A season that appeared doomed when Georgia lost its first three SEC games was infused with new possibilities when South Carolina lost to Kentucky and Florida lost to Mississippi State last week. Suddenly, Georgia (3-4, 2-3 SEC) was tied with Florida for second place in the SEC East, just ½ game behind South Carolina. Winning the division remains a longshot for Georgia, especially with South Carolina holding a tiebreaker advantage, but the dream will gain steam if the Bulldogs win at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3) Saturday night.
  • 2. Seeking season’s first road victory. Georgia is 0-3 on the road this season and 3-5 since the start of last season -– a stark contrast to the Bulldogs’ 30-4 record on the road in Mark Richt’s first eight seasons as coach. (Note: Neutral-site games, such as the …

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Kentucky’s leading rusher out for Georgia game

Kentucky’s offense boasts the SEC’s second leading passer, third leading rusher and fourth and fifth leading receivers.

One of those –- the rusher –- will miss Saturday night’s game in Lexington against Georgia.

Tailback Derrick Locke won’t play against the Bulldogs because of a shoulder stinger, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips announced Thursday.

Locke, who also did not play in the Wildcats’ victory over South Carolina last week, is averaging 95.7 yards rushing per game. Add his receptions and kick returns, and he’s second in the SEC in all-purpose yards (174.7 per game).

Sophomore Donald Russell and freshman Raymond Sanders will play tailback against Georgia in Locke’s absence, Kentucky said. Russell had 41 yards on 18 carries vs. South Carolina.

Even with Locke sidelined, Kentucky has no shortage of playmakers. Randall Cobb, dangerous as a receiver, runner, returner and occasionally passer, is No. 3 in the SEC in all-purpose yards (165 per game). Quarterback Mike Hartline

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Florida’s Donovan: Georgia ‘clearly may be better than everyone’ in SEC

HOOVER, Ala. – You might be surprised to hear who Florida coach Billy Donovan thinks can be the best basketball team in the SEC this season.

“The one team that I think clearly may be better than everyone — and I think all the teams are good -– is Georgia,” Donovan said today at the SEC Basketball Media Day event here.  “Any time you’ve got two players on the first-team [preseason] all-SEC and you probably have in my opinion the best player in the league in Trey Thompkins. . . . ”

In a media vote earlier this week, Thompkins and teammate Travis Leslie were named to the preseason All-SEC first team, making Georgia the only school with two representatives. However, Donovan’s team was picked by the same media panel to win the SEC title. Georgia was picked to finish third in the East, which would be a marked improvement after finishing last in the division for three consecutive seasons.

Donovan sees Georgia making huge strides in its second season under Mark Fox, who Donovan …

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Video: 3 keys vs. Kentucky

CineSport’s Noah Coslov chats with the AJC’s Tim Tucker about the three keys for UGA on Saturday night against Kentucky.

Continue reading Video: 3 keys vs. Kentucky »

Herschel Walker weighs in on UGA’s off-field problems

Herschel Walker expressed concern about the number of Georgia football players arrested this year, saying coach Mark Richt has “got to take control” of the issue and the players “have to take responsibility.”

The former Georgia football great, who led the Bulldogs to the national championship as a freshman 30 years ago, was asked about the issue during an appearance Wednesday on ESPN’s “College Football Live” program.

“That’d concern me a great deal,” Walker said. “The losses, that is going to concern me as well, but when you got kids that got off-field problems, we need to get into and see what’s going on. Because when you got off-the-field problems, there’s something going on with that program.

“And I think Coach Richt has got to get a hand on it. I love Coach Richt. He’s a great coach, and there’s no doubt: I do not think Coach Richt should be fired. We got to find out what is going on within that program when you got 11 guys since March that have been off-the-field …

Continue reading Herschel Walker weighs in on UGA’s off-field problems »

Hard hits on QB Murray ‘alarming’

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray scrambles out of the pocket (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray scrambles out of the pocket (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS –- One thing Georgia’s football team absolutely cannot afford is an injury to quarterback Aaron Murray. And yet Murray’s competitive instinct is to squeeze every yard from every play – an instinct that sometimes puts him on the receiving end of ferocious hits at the end of runs.

“Yeah, they’re alarming when you hear them on the sideline,” said Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “In the booth, you don’t hear those collisions.

“He’s just got to be a smarter runner. We definitely like what’s doing, making plays out of the pocket, but when you’re scrambling on first and second down get what you can and get down. I can understand a guy going for it on third down or when he’s in the red zone trying to get in the end zone. . . . He’s just got to be smarter and pick his spots.”

And how does a young quarterback learn to pick his spots?

“He just …

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Richt’s deal with Dogs: Win turnover battle, grow beards

ATHENS – Georgia’s football team is looking scruffier these days. And that’s a good thing, coach Mark Richt explained Tuesday.

Richt, who normally forbids beards on the team, made a deal with his players: When the Bulldogs win the turnover battle in a game, shaving is optional the following week.

And after winning the turnover battle the past two weeks, 3-0 against Tennessee and 2-0 against Vanderbilt, beards are sprouting all around the locker room.

“I hope they are the nastiest looking bunch in America by the end of the year,” Richt said.

Richt actually made the same offer to his team last year, but no one noticed because the Bulldogs lost the turnover battle for the season by a whopping 28-12 margin, ranking 118th out of 120 major-college teams.

“Unfortunately, we were clean-shaven all year,” Richt said. “This year, they’re getting a little furrier.”

All that fur will have to be shaved after any game in which the Bulldogs are on the losing end of the turnover margin, …

Continue reading Richt’s deal with Dogs: Win turnover battle, grow beards »

A redshirt season for Samuel? More playing time for Ogletree?

A couple of items from Mark Richt’s weekly radio show Monday night:

  • Richt said junior linebacker Richard Samuel, sidelined all season with a knee injury, will practice in pads Tuesday for the first time this fall. That doesn’t necessarily signal that Samuel, a converted tailback, will be playing in a game anytime soon.  “He did not redshirt his first or second year, so there’s a chance, going into Game 8 now, I guess it is, we may choose to redshirt him and get him two more solid seasons,” Richt said. Samuel told reporters after practice Monday that redshirting probably would be best for him at this point, if the coaches decide to go that route.
  • Richt agreed with a caller about the importance of hard-hitting safeties like former Georgia stars Thomas Davis and Greg Blue.  “It makes a huge difference, and I’m searching for that, still,” Richt said. “I think we’re all searching for that. I do think we have guys who are good tacklers, but do we have guys that will really …

Continue reading A redshirt season for Samuel? More playing time for Ogletree? »

Preseason media vote reveals new respect for UGA basketball

The Georgia men’s basketball program is moving up in the eyes of the media.

The Bulldogs are picked to finish third in the SEC’s Eastern Division this season, according to a media vote announced by the SEC office on Monday. That would be a marked improvement for the Dogs after three consecutive seasons of finishing sixth –- last -– in the division.

More impressively, Georgia junior forward Trey Thompkins is the media’s overwhelming preseason pick to be the SEC’s player of the year.

Georgia junior guard-forward Travis Leslie joined Thompkins on the preseason All-SEC first team, making UGA the only school with two players on the first team.

The new respect for Georgia basketball surfaced in a vote by a panel of 20 regional and national media members.

Thompkins, who averaged 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season, drew 18 of the 20 votes for preseason player of the year. Ole Miss senior guard Chris Warren and Kentucky freshman guard Brandon Knight each received one …

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Murray, Jones honored by SEC; Murray top freshman in nation in pass efficiency

Georgia piled up 547 yards and 43 points against Vanderbilt on Saturday, and two UGA players were honored today by the SEC for their parts in the rout.

Quarterback Aaron Murray was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive week, and center Ben Jones was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week for the first time since 2008.

Murray, a redshirt freshman, had a season-high 287 yards passing (15-for-24, two touchdowns, no interceptions) and a season-high 190.4 passing efficiency rating in the victory over Vandy. For the season, Murray’s pass efficiency mark of 157.2 ranks No. 18 in the nation –- and No. 1 among freshmen. Murray has thrown 12 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.

Jones, a junior, received the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week honor after grading out at 83 percent overall, including 100 percent on pass plays, against Vanderbilt. He had a team-high 20 knockdown blocks, according to UGA statistics. Georgia allowed no sacks of Murray …

Continue reading Murray, Jones honored by SEC; Murray top freshman in nation in pass efficiency »

Crazy weekend leaves Georgia 1/2 game out of first place in SEC East

Georgia’s football team awoke to new possibilities Sunday — and not just because a 43-0 victory tends to brighten one’s outlook.

Two surprising results elsewhere in the SEC on Saturday night -– South Carolina’s 31-28 loss to Kentucky and Florida’s 10-7 loss to Mississippi State -– scrambled the Eastern Division standings to the point that Georgia suddenly is within ½ game of first place.

Yes, Georgia.

Yes, the team that seemed destined to spend the season in oblivion after losing its first three SEC games.

After a crazy weekend, South Carolina leads the SEC East with a 2-2 league record, while Florida and Georgia are tied for second place with 2-3 league records. Vanderbilt is 1-2, Kentucky 1-3 and Tennessee 0-3 within the conference.

“People always say year in and year out that anybody can win on any given weekend, and that’s about what’s happening right now,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “It’s an exciting SEC year, no doubt.”

Georgia’s chances of winning the …

Continue reading Crazy weekend leaves Georgia 1/2 game out of first place in SEC East »

Big day for Grantham’s defense, Ealey, Uga VIII and, really, all the Dogs

A roundup of the AJC’s coverage of Georgia’s 43-0 win over Vanderbilt:

My game story, which notes that Todd Grantham coveted a shutout even after the win was assured:

ATHENS — A football team that looked hapless and hopeless two weeks ago flexed its muscle here Saturday.

Georgia put up big numbers on offense and the most impressive number of all on defense, beating Vanderbilt 43-0 in a happy homecoming game in Sanford Stadium.

The shutout was Georgia’s first against an SEC opponent since 2006. The margin of victory was Georgia’s largest against an SEC opponent since 2004. And the win was Georgia’s second in a row after four consecutive losses.

“This is the way we feel like we could have played the whole year,” quarterback Aaron Murray said.

Well, that would have spared a lot of anguish.

Andy Johnston’s sidebar on the coronation of Uga VIII:

. . . Before being led to his doghouse by members of the Seiler family, which owns the line of mascots, Uga VIII stopped and seemed to …

Continue reading Big day for Grantham’s defense, Ealey, Uga VIII and, really, all the Dogs »

Video: Dogs react to blowout win


Georgia players and coaches react to their 43-0 win over Vanderbilt on the day UGA VIII made his debut at Sanford Stadium:

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