ATHENS –- Did A.J. Green and Justin Houston play their final game in Sanford Stadium on Saturday night?
In Green’s case, probably. In Houston’s case, perhaps.
And if Georgia’s 42-34 win over Georgia Tech was the last game between the hedges for Green and Houston, both said powerful goodbyes with their performances.
Wide receiver Green had a game-high eight catches for 97 yards, and outside linebacker Houston had a fumble return for a touchdown and a game-clinching interception –- the first touchdown and the first interception of his UGA career.
Green and Houston, both juniors, insisted after the game that they haven’t yet decided whether to enter the 2011 NFL draft and that they won’t make the high-stakes decision until after the Bulldogs’ bowl game.
“I think it was a great way to go out if it is my last one,” Houston said of Saturday’s game. “But I don’t want to think about that right now. We just beat Tech, and that’s all I want to think about right now.”
Said Green: “It’s always in the back of your head. But I haven’t come to that decision yet. I’m just going to make the best decision for me and my family.”
Green said he was moved when Georgia’s student section chanted “One More Year!” after the game.
“This went by so fast,” Green said. “Now I’m a junior, and I’ve got an opportunity to leave, man, to do what I love the most. … Standing there by the student section and hearing them chanting and going crazy, it’s just a dream.”
Green is widely projected as a top-five pick if he enters the 2011 draft. It is less clear where Houston would be drafted. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. rated Houston as the No. 17 prospect earlier in the season, but doesn’t currently have him among the top 25. Georgia coach Mark Richt indicated after Saturday’s game that he doesn’t have an inkling as to whether Houston will decide to stay or go.
“I have no earthly idea what the future holds for him, but my hope is he’s a Bulldog for another season and improves his draft status to where he’s a top-10 pick because I think he’s got that capability,” Richt said. “I don’t know if he’s there right now, but I think he’s one of those guys that can move himself into that kind of position.”
Houston had two huge plays against Tech:
Whether the interception was Houston’s last play in Sanford Stadium remains to be seen.