NASHVILLE – Georgia’s Marlon Brown said he’s still not 100 percent recovered from the ankle injury that sidelined him for two games. But he proved to be pretty good at 90 percent.
The junior split end from Memphis had a career night in the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. He finished with a career-best 121 yards on four catches and recorded two touchdowns, including a 75-yarder.
“It was great having Marlon back,” said quarterback Aaron Murray, who registered career highs in attempts (38), completions (22) and yards (326) and threw three touchdowns. “He’s been banged up the last few weeks and still isn’t 100 percnet. He told me before the game he was like 85 or 90 percent and he had a great performance today. Hopefully by Florida he’ll be 100 percent.”
“It feel pretty good right now,” Brown said with a laugh shortly after the game concluded. “But I really can’t take any credit for it. I have to give most of the credit to the offensive line blocking, the running backs blocking and to the quarterback making good throws.”
Brown played only sparingly in the previous two games and none against Coastal Carolina and Ole Miss due to his injury. But he and Michael Bennett were being counted on Saturday to fill in for leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Bennett, who got the start at split end, also had a career night with 7 catches for 89 yards.
But Brown’s 75-yarder proved to be the difference in the game. It came on third-and-10 with 13:57 remaining in the game.
“You live for games like this, close games, hard-fought games,” Brown said. “We just made a few more plays then them and we won.. That’s always good.”
Meanwhile, Murray didn’t care much for talking about his record-setting night.
“We knew it was going to be a battle and we’re just happy to get out of here with a W,” the sophomore quarterback said. “We’ve won five games in a row and we’ve got a lot of work to do still. So that’s all I’m thinking about.”
Busy night for Walsh
It was another up and down night for Georgia kicker Blair Walsh.
On the up side, the senior from Boca Raton, Fla., booted a 53-yard field goal and added successful kicks of 44, 36 and 28 yards. On the down side, he missed two more tries, upping his missed-kick total to eight for the season. He’s 12-of-20 on the season.
I just got off to a slow start. The 20-yarder off the post was just unlucky,” Walsh said. “I came back with a 53-yarder and made three after that so I can’t complain.”
Special teams struggling
It was another tough night for Georgia’s special teams play. The Bulldogs gave up a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 43-yard gain on a fake punt on fourth-and-13 at the Vanderbilt 22 and a blocked punt with seven seconds left in the game that could have been disastrous.
“Five SEC wins in a row is good but it’s time for us to get re-focused get our feet back under us and be focused and ready for this Florida game coming up,” said punter Drew Butler, who had two punts for a 46 yard average. “We enough talent on this team where if we just do what we’re supposed to do we shouldn’t have breakdowns like we did tonight.”
On the positive side, Georgia’s Orson Charles also blocked a punt and it led to a Bulldogs’ touchdown.
Etc. . .
Bacarri Rambo hurt his leg at the end of the game but Richt does not believe it to be serious. . . .Georgia’s five-game winning streak is its first since 2007 when it won seven in a row to end that season. The Bulldogs won their first four in 2008 for an 11-game streak. . . .
Brandon Boykin ran a play as the quarterback in the “Wild Dog” formation in the first quarter. He was tackled for no gain on the play. . . . Rambo, Boykin and Shawn Williams each had interceptions. . . . Vanderbilt’s kickoff return for touchdown was the first Georgia has allowed since Auburn’s Demond Washington in 2009. . . .