Archive for September, 2012

Countdown begins to Georgia-South Carolina showdown; Gamecocks favored

It has all the trappings of a mega-game: two undefeated teams that are among the nation’s top half-dozen in the polls, a team that has scored 48.2 points per game vs. a team that has allowed 11.2, the early lead in the SEC East at stake.

The countdown is on for No. 5 Georgia, the offensive juggernaut, vs. No. 6 South Carolina, the defensive juggernaut, Saturday night in Columbia, S.C. Both teams are 5-0 (3-0 SEC).

“It’s a huge game,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. “We all know it.”

“It’s a big, big game,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said, “when you’re playing this deep into the conference season and you’ve got two undefeateds.”

Validating the game’s marquee status, ESPN announced that its “College GameDay” show – the popular three-hour preview program – will air from the South Carolina campus Saturday morning.

“The last time they were here [was when] we played Alabama two years ago,” Spurrier said. “Obviously that was one of the best days in Carolina football …

Continue reading Countdown begins to Georgia-South Carolina showdown; Gamecocks favored »

Video: No. 5 Georgia survives offensive thriller versus Tennessee at Sanford Stadium

How big was Georgia’s game against Tennessee on Saturday at Sanford Stadium? So big that CineSport’s Noah Coslov came all the way down from his home in New York to little ol’ Athens to take in the game. As a result, we got to do a rare side-by-side interview, as opposed to over the world-wide web. Click below to hear our thoughts and those from the the Bulldogs’ coaches and players following Georgia’s 51-44 victory over Tennessee. . . .

Continue reading Video: No. 5 Georgia survives offensive thriller versus Tennessee at Sanford Stadium »

Spurrier on Georgia: ‘I keep seeing all those long runs by those freshman Bulldogs’

Informed Sunday that ESPN’s College Gameday crew is coming to Columbia on Saturday for No. 5 Georgia’s game against No. 6 South Carolina, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said that’s just the way he likes it.

The last time that group set up outside Williams-Brice Stadium was on Oct. 9th, 2010, and South Carolina knocked off No. 1-ranked Alabama 35-21.

“We certainly do [like games such as this],” Spurrier said on his weekly teleconference call Sunday. “The last time they were here, obviously that was one of the best days in Carolina football history. It was the first time we had ever beat a No. 1 team. It adds to the importance of the game. It sort of lets the world know and the country know South Carolina football’s pretty good. We’re not quite where we want to be yet, but we’re up there amongst them and hopefully we can keep pushing on.”

The matchup everybody anticipated for Week 6 of the season has materialized. Both the Gamecocks (5-0, 3-0 SEC) and Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0) were …

Continue reading Spurrier on Georgia: ‘I keep seeing all those long runs by those freshman Bulldogs’ »

Notebook: Georgia’s Ogletree, Rambo make a difference in first game back

Linebacker Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs with 14 tackles in his first game back (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Linebacker Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs with 14 tackles in his first game back (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo finally made it back into Georgia’s lineup, and it was just in the nick of time.

Suspended for the first four games of the season, Ogletree and Rambo started against Tennessee on Saturday and finished as Bulldogs’ two leading tacklers. Ogletree, a junior inside linebacker, led the way with 14 tackles and 3 pass break-ups. Rambo, a senior free safety, recorded nine stops as the Bulldogs held on for a 51-44 victory.

“I’m happy that we got the win,” said Ogletree, who also tipped a pass that led to an interception. “I was eager to play. I’ve been waiting for a while now. I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on and keep preparing myself to come back full force. As a defense, we’ve got a lot to work on. We’ve got room for improvement.”

Georgia hasn’t yet resembled the defense many expected it to be, with …

Continue reading Notebook: Georgia’s Ogletree, Rambo make a difference in first game back »

What they said after Georgia-Tennessee game

“We were hit by a freight train early in the game, but we were able to fight back and get back into it. We went toe-to-toe with a top-10 team that will be competing for a national championship.”

– Tennessee coach Derek Dooley

“We knew they were going to be special players. How special was up in the air. But right now, through five games, they’re two of the best backs not only in the SEC but in the whole country.”

– Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray on freshman tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, who ran for 164 and 130 yards, respectively, against Tennessee

“They are really fantastic players. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt on Marshall and Gurley, who scored two and three touchdowns, respectively, vs. the Vols

“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to be the best tandem in America, running backs and fullbacks. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think if we keep pushing we can be there.”

– Marshall

“They had some rust, no doubt, but you …

Continue reading What they said after Georgia-Tennessee game »

Dogs overcome special-teams woes against Vols

ATHENS -- Several days before the Georgia-Tennessee game, Mark Richt was fretting his team’s special-teams shortcomings. The UGA coach expressed alarm that, if not cleaned up soon, they could cost the Bulldogs a game.

They didn’t cost a game Saturday — Georgia had too much firepower for that — but they certainly caused a lot more concern.

Special-teams miscues figured prominently in a second-quarter meltdown that stunned the Sanford Stadium crowd, turned a 27-10 Georgia lead into a 30-30 halftime tie and set up a wild second half that ended with the Bulldogs a 51-44 winner.

“It was a little bit of a comedy of errors,” Richt said of Saturday’s special-teams breakdowns, which included two missed extra-point attempts and continued difficulty in fielding kicks.

Malcolm Mitchell made the wrong decision on whether to field a punt with about 11 minutes left in the second quarter, electing to let it roll and allowing Tennessee to down it at the Georgia 1. Four plays later, the …

Continue reading Dogs overcome special-teams woes against Vols »

‘Gurshall’ leads Georgia to victory in 51-44 shootout with Vols

Georgia tailback eludes the last of two would-be tacklers on his way to a 51-yard touchdown against Tennessee on Saturday. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlint)

Georgia tailback eludes the last of two would-be tacklers on his way to a 51-yard touchdown against Tennessee on Saturday. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Herschel was in the house on Saturday, but “Gurshall” stole the show.

“Gurshall” is the nickname Georgia fans have bestowed upon freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, whose number 3 and 4 jerseys are reminiscent of Herschel Walker’s famous and now-retired number 34. With Walker on the sideline for part of Saturday’s game against Tennessee, the duo combined on a Herschel-like performance – 294 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns — as the Bulldogs won an offensive shootout at Sanford Stadium, 51-44 over Tennessee.

“Yeah, we’ve seen [the ‘Gurshall’ references],” said Marshall, who now has 408 yards and 5 touchdowns as a Bulldog. “It’s a cool little nickname. You’re talking about the greatest ever, so I’m not going to say we’re all that. But it’s cool to see.”

Gurley was the workhorse and Marshall …

Continue reading ‘Gurshall’ leads Georgia to victory in 51-44 shootout with Vols »

Hot seat on the other sideline as Georgia and Tennessee renew rivalry

ATHENS — What a difference a year makes.

When Georgia was getting ready to play Tennessee about this time last season, coach Mark Richt was still feeling uncomfortable heat related to his his job performance. The Bulldogs were 3-2 at the time, had lost the only meaningful games they had played (to Boise State and South Carolina) and were headed to Knoxville, Tenn., a place where they lost the previous two times by the combined score of 80-33.

A year later, Richt’s team has won 14 of its past 16 games, and the pressure is off. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 SEC) are two-touchdown favorites, and it’s the Volunteers and — coach Derek Dooley in particular — who are feeling the heat.

Dooley, an Athens native with the familiar last name, is in his third season as Tennessee’s head coach. He comes to Sanford Stadium in search of his first victory in 12 tries against ranked opponents. The scuttlebutt on Rocky Top is that he needs to score one pretty soon.

Such is life in the …

Continue reading Hot seat on the other sideline as Georgia and Tennessee renew rivalry »

‘Gurshall’: Georgia’s freshman tailbacks command attention

Todd Gurley plows through Vanderbilt defenders (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

Todd Gurley plows through Vanderbilt defenders (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — As the hype builds around Georgia freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, one of their teammates has settled on a nickname for the duo.

“Gurshall, that’s what I call them,” wide receiver Tavarres King said.

As King excitedly enunciates it, the combination of the first syllable of Gurley and the second syllable of Marshall rhymes with … Herschel.

The wildly premature suggestion that the Gurley-Marshall tandem is somehow reminiscent of Herschel Walker, the greatest Georgia tailback, reflects the excitement the freshmen have stirred.

Keith Marshall breaks a Vanderbilt tackle (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

Keith Marshall breaks a Vanderbilt tackle (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

Tailback is a position that commands attention, good or bad. In the previous two seasons, Georgia tailbacks were known more for the bad — arrests, suspensions, dismissals, injuries. With Gurshall, things seem good again at the position.

“I went to the dining hall one day, and they started …

Continue reading ‘Gurshall’: Georgia’s freshman tailbacks command attention »

Video: ‘Back Porch Chat’ explores No. 5 Georgia’s matchup with Tennessee

Here is another exciting installment of “Chip’s Back Porch Chats,” with CineSport’s Noah Coslov. Today we talk about Georgia transitioning Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo back into the defense, the Bulldogs’ offensive strategy against Tennessee and what we know about No. 5-ranked Georgia to this point in the season. Enjoy . . .

Continue reading Video: ‘Back Porch Chat’ explores No. 5 Georgia’s matchup with Tennessee »

Barbara Dooley on son Derek: ‘That’s my baby and I’m pulling for Tennessee’

Barbara Dooley, pictured with her husband of 52 years, Vince Dooley, makes no bones about it. She will be wearing orange and pulling for the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Barbara Dooley, pictured with her husband of 52 years, Vince Dooley, makes no bones about it. She will be wearing orange and pulling for the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Make no mistake about it. There are no split allegiances or conflicted emotions for Barbara Dooley. The longtime First Lady of Georgia Athletics will be decked head-to-toe in orange on Saturday and rooting for the Tennessee Vols.

More specifically, she’ll be pulling for her youngest son, Derek Dooley, who at this moment happens to be Vols’ head football coach, and a beleaguered one at that.

“I’ve never been conflicted about it,” said Barbara, Vince Dooley’s wife of 52 years and Derek’s mom of 44.  “That’s my baby and I’m pulling for Tennessee. If the Georgia people don’t understand that then I just don’t get it.”

At this point, most of them get it. This is, after all, now old hat for the Dooleys. Derek is in his third  season as …

Continue reading Barbara Dooley on son Derek: ‘That’s my baby and I’m pulling for Tennessee’ »

Notebook: Malcolm Mitchell eager to learn what role he’ll play

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – Malcolm Mitchell said he has no idea what he’s going to do on Saturday or how much of it.

“Maybe they’ll let me know at 3:29 on Saturday,” joked Mitchell, referring to No. 5 Georgia’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Tennessee at Sanford Stadium.

As of Wednesday, Mitchell was listed as the starter at boundary cornerback, where he has played the last three games and practiced on Wednesday. But Mitchell spent the whole day Tuesday — meetings and practice time — with Georgia’s wide receiver corps.

“I don’t know. I don’t have a clue, honestly,” said Mitchell, who has played a handful of snaps at wide receiver the past two games. “It was defense [Wednesday]. But you just never know what the game plan is or what they’re scheming up until game day or the day before. So right now I’m just playing it out to see what happens.”

Adding to the mystery is the return of Georgia’s last two suspended starters on defense. Linebacker Alec Ogletree and free safety …

Continue reading Notebook: Malcolm Mitchell eager to learn what role he’ll play »

Georgia’s defense prepares to bring Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo back into fold

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is not saying it just yet, but he's darn glad to have linebacker Alec Ogletree back in teh fold. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is not saying it just yet, but he's darn glad to have linebacker Alec Ogletree back in the fold. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Georgia has survived the Great Suspension Plague of 2012.

While no one is still coming right out and saying as much, we know from outside testimony, school policies, indirect hints and good old-fashioned horse sense that star linebacker Alec Ogletree and All-American free safety Bacarri Rambo are returning from four-game suspensions this week. And they’re getting back just in the nick of time as next on the dance card is Tennessee and its high-octane offense.

Ogletree and Rambo are the last two of four defensive starters that were missing for the Bulldogs this first part of the season as a result of internal team discipline. Cornerback Sanders Commings and outside linebacker Chase Vasser were benched two games each for off-season arrests.

Retrospectively, some might say that there was no great …

Continue reading Georgia’s defense prepares to bring Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo back into fold »

UGA notebook: A secondary violation involving Bobo and, of all things, tennis

By TIM TUCKER and CHIP TOWERS

ATHENS –Georgia will bench offensive coordinator Mike Bobo from off-campus recruiting for a month as a result of a secondary NCAA violation.

The violation: escorting a recruit and his mother into the NCAA Tennis Championships on the UGA campus last spring without having them pay the $8 admission fee.

UGA athletic director Greg McGarity self-reported the incident to SEC commissioner Mike Slive in a letter last week.

According to the letter, the violation occurred when an assistant coach –- not named in the letter but identified by UGA as Bobo – and a recruiting intern were touring campus with an unnamed prospect who was in town on an unoffiicial visit.

“A member of the ticket office staff reported this incident to the compliance office,” McGarity wrote. “… The family has been notified and subsequently submitted restitution in the amount of $20.”

In addition, according to the letter, Georgia will prohibit the coach – Bobo — from recruiting off …

Continue reading UGA notebook: A secondary violation involving Bobo and, of all things, tennis »

QB Aaron Murray’s ‘nerdy’ approach helps him net records, wins for Bulldogs

Aaron Murray's record-setting pace of production for Georgia has been as much the result of preparation as it has been inherent talent. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Aaron Murray's record-setting pace of production for Georgia has been as much the result of preparation as it has been inherent talent. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — Georgia’s Aaron Murray is the proverbial big man on campus. Coeds fawn when he walks past the bus stop. TV broadcasters and opposing coaches wax eloquent about his athletic ability and uncanny decision-making skills. Sanford Stadium is dotted every Saturday with little boys wearing No. 11 jerseys and dreaming of growing up to be like him.

But that’s not the way his teammates think of him.

“He’s a nerd,” said wide receiver Tavarres King, one of Murray’s closer friends. “He’s always studying, and he already knows so much. It’s hard to even talk to him outside of football because it’s always going to get back to football, whatever we’re talking about.”

Said wideout Michael Bennett: “He’s got some weird study habits when it comes to quarterback. He’s in here [at the football complex] all the time. He spends …

Continue reading QB Aaron Murray’s ‘nerdy’ approach helps him net records, wins for Bulldogs »

A look at UGA’s next opponent: Tennessee

NEXT FOR GEORGIA

Who: vs. Tennessee

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sanford Stadium

TV; radio: CBS; 750, 95.5

About Tennessee

Record: 3-1 (0-1 SEC)

Last time played: Georgia won 20-12 in Knoxville last season, getting three catches for 126 yards from Malcolm Mitchell and holding Tennessee to minus-20 yards rushing.

On offense: Tennessee is averaging 513 yards per game in total offense, second most in the SEC behind Georgia’s 530. … The Vols lead the SEC and rank No. 8 nationally in passing (341 yards per game). … Quarterback Tyler Bray has thrown for 1,301 yards and 12 touchdowns in four games. … Bray’s top targets are Justin Hunter (30 catches for 410 yards) and junior-college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson (19 for 259). … Tennessee’s experienced offensive line has allowed just two sacks. … Tailback Rajion Neal ran for 151 yards in last week’s 47-26 victory over Akron.

On defense: The Vols switched to a 3-4 alignment this season. … The Vols rank 74th nationally in rushing …

Continue reading A look at UGA’s next opponent: Tennessee »

Dog talk: Richt, Bulldogs wary of explosive Tennessee team

ATHENS – Some highlights from Georgia’s weekly news conference Tuesday to discuss Saturday’s game against Tennessee. . . .

GEORGIA COACH MARK RICHT

Richt opened talking about former Bulldogs who are flourishing in the NFL . . .

“Bulldogs accounted for 10.5 sacks this past week and I thought that was pretty cool. Tim Jennings is leading the NFL with interceptions with four. Blair Walsh made NFL history. He’s the first kicker in NFL history to kick a 50-yarder in the first three games of his career. He kicked them and made them. I don’t think he’s missed a kick yet, so they got him straightened out. A.J. Green is second in the league in receiving yards with 311.”

On the play of 3-1 Tennessee so far . . .

“It sounds kind of weird to say Coach Dooley with any other team but Georgia, but Derek of course, the head coach at Tennessee, is getting them going. They’re 3-1 right now playing extremely good football, and especially offensively they are. I know the first four games that …

Continue reading Dog talk: Richt, Bulldogs wary of explosive Tennessee team »

Notebook: Burnette ‘prepared’ for marriage, Dooley gushes over Georgia

By Ryan Black
Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS – Chris Burnette was 99 percent sure his girlfriend would accept his marriage proposal on Sunday.

That wasn’t good enough for Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend. He needed 1 percent more certainty from his right guard.

“He was like, ‘Well, you better mark sure she is going to say yes before you invite all of these people,’” Burnette said.

Not to worry, though, as Arielle Haynes indeed said “yes” when Burnette popped the question. The proposal took place Sunday at Athens Church, where Burnette and Haynes are regular attendees. Luckily, the weekly Sunday service begins at noon, which meant many of Burnette’s Bulldog teammates who go to earlier services at other churches could make it.

News spread quickly, especially after video of the event was posted online. When asked what made him do a video, Burnette couldn’t explain it.

“I just knew that I wanted it to have something that was Christ-centered, because He …

Continue reading Notebook: Burnette ‘prepared’ for marriage, Dooley gushes over Georgia »

Georgia-South Carolina game time set; Gurley honored

Georgia’s Oct. 6 football game at South Carolina will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN,  the SEC announced today.

Georgia is ranked No. 5 and South Carolina No. 6 in this week’s Associated Press media and USA Today coaches’ polls. Both teams are 4-0.

On Saturday, Georgia plays Tennessee in Athens (3:30 p.m. on CBS) and South Carolina plays at Kentucky.

The 3:30 p.m. game on CBS on Oct. 6 will be LSU-at-Florida.  LSU is ranked No. 3 and Florida No. 11 in this week’s AP poll; the Gators are No. 12 in the coaches’ poll. Both teams are 4-0.

In other UGA football news today, tailback Todd Gurley was named the SEC Freshman Player of the Week for his performance against Vanderbilt. Gurley ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns, his third 100-yard rushing performance in four college games. He leads the SEC in rushing (101.5 yards per game), scoring (10.5 points per game) and all-purpose yards (164.2 per game).

– Tim Tucker

Continue reading Georgia-South Carolina game time set; Gurley honored »

Georgia lineman Chris Burnette surprises girlfriend with marriage proposal at church

ATHENS — It was a big weekend for Georgia offensive lineman Chris Burnette, and we’re not talking about the offensive barrage the Bulldogs put on Vanderbilt Saturday night.

On Sunday, Burnette surprised his longtime girlfriend, Arielle Haynes, with an on-stage proposal during a service at Athens Church. According to witnesses, tons of Georgia players were in attendance, including quarterback Aaron Murray, tailback Todd Gurley and tackle John Theus. They made their presence known with a hardy ovation after Burnette had gone to one knee to propose marriage and Arielle accepted.

Following is a link to video of the proceedings:  http://youtu.be/bynG8Wt3fpU

Continue reading Georgia lineman Chris Burnette surprises girlfriend with marriage proposal at church »

Richt’s Sunday call: talking Tennessee and more

A few quick notes from Mark Richt’s weekly conference call this evening:

  • Safety Shawn Williams thought he pulled a hamstring while stretching in warmups before Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt,  “but it was more of a spasm,” Richt said. “It just kind of tightened up on him and kind of shook him up. … It turned out it wasn’t [pulled], thankfully. I’m not saying it didn’t bother him throughout the game … but he played the majority of the game.”
  • Familiar question, familiar answer. “We’ll figure it out in pregame warmup, I guess, just like last week,” Richt said to the obligatory inquiry about whether suspended defensive stars Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo will return, as expected, from four-game suspensions this week.
  • “I don’t think it’s serious,” Richt said of the ankle injury that forced defensive end Abry Jones from the game Saturday.  But Richt pointed out that he had not yet received an update from the medical staff.
  • Next up for Georgia: Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. …

Continue reading Richt’s Sunday call: talking Tennessee and more »

Video: Georgia’s offense, defense, special teams put it together in Vandy win

Here’s my late-night video report from Sanford Stadium, recorded after Georgia’s dominating 48-3 win over Vanderbilt Saturday in Athens. . . .

Continue reading Video: Georgia’s offense, defense, special teams put it together in Vandy win »

Notebook: Extremely satisfying day for Todd Grantham and Georgia’s defense

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – Georgia had the game well in hand early in the fourth quarter when Vanderbilt completed a 60-yard pass to reach the Bulldogs’ 3-yard line. Despite the 45-point lead, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had all his starters on the field.

It appeared the Commodores scored when an official signaled touchdown after quarterback Jordan Rodgers dove for the pylon. But Grantham stomped and protested for officials to look at a replay. Upon further review, it was ruled that Rodgers had lost control of the ball before he crossed the plane and it bounded out the side of the end zone. Touchback. Georgia ball.

The Bulldogs’ sideline rejoiced.

“They had their starters in there, too,” Grantham said with a mischievous grin. “We put our backups in there at the end and those guys did a good job, too. But I think anytime you can hold a team to no touchdowns in this league, that’s a big statement.”

It was a big statement, but Georgia’s defenders insist they …

Continue reading Notebook: Extremely satisfying day for Todd Grantham and Georgia’s defense »

What they said after Georgia’s rout of Vanderbilt

“I think our guys really wanted this one bad. They didn’t feel very good about how things went a year ago [in a 33-28 win at Vanderbilt]. They know that we very easily could have lost that game, and [if so] all that 10 wins in a row and all that SEC Eastern Division championship and all that kind of stuff would have been down the drain. Our special teams were embarassed the way they played [at Vandy last year]. … And if [punter Drew] Butler doesn’t … make a tackle [after a late blocked punt], it would have been really a catastrophe. I don’t think anybody liked it. I didn’t like it; our coaches didn’t like it; our players didn’t like it. We wanted to prove we’re better than that.”

— Georgia coach Mark Richt after Saturday’s 48-3 rout of Vanderbilt

“Every ball I caught tonight hit me right between the numbers. It was kind of crazy. [Quarterback Aaron Murray] was just on.”

— Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King, who caught four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown

“I felt like we …

Continue reading What they said after Georgia’s rout of Vanderbilt »

Huge night for Murray vs. Vanderbilt

(Updated 12:45 a.m. )

ATHENS — By the time Aaron Murray threw his first incomplete pass Saturday night, Georgia had built a 27-0 lead over Vanderbilt.

Murray completed his first 12 passes –- the third most completions ever by a UGA quarterback to start a game – and did not misfire until less than three minutes remained in the first half.

He didn’t misfire much after that, either, as Georgia trounced Vanderbilt 48-3 in Sanford Stadium.

Murray, who called it a night after the third quarter, finished with 18 completions in 24 attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns (no interceptions).

Murray’s stellar performance came one week after he threw for a career-high 342 yards against Florida Atlantic and two weeks after he tied his career high of 22 completions against Missouri.

In other words, his season is off to a fine start.

“I think this is the most consistent I’ve played,” Murray said late Saturday night in the Georgia locker room. “That’s my goal this year — to be consistent …

Continue reading Huge night for Murray vs. Vanderbilt »

UPDATED: No drama this time as Georgia Bulldogs roll Vandy 48-3

Georgia's Jarvis Jones -- aka SacMan Jones -- pulls down Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers for an 11-yard loss and yet another sack Saturday night. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia's Jarvis Jones — aka SacMan Jones — pulls down Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers for an 11-yard loss and yet another sack Saturday night. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – This time around, the only drama between Georgia and Vanderbilt was the pregame coin toss.

The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs won that little contest and nearly every one thereafter, cruising to a 48-3 win over the Commodores Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.

The stress-free victory came less than a year after Vanderbilt pushed the Bulldogs to the brink in Nashville before losing 33-28 in a nail-biter that ignited a postgame shouting match between Commodores head coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. This time it ended in a friendly handshake between the two men at midfield.

“We were going to go out there and, you know, have a group hug and then everybody’s going to go their way and move on,” Grantham quipped afterward. “They coach them hard, they play hard and …

Continue reading UPDATED: No drama this time as Georgia Bulldogs roll Vandy 48-3 »

Ogletree, Rambo sit one more game as Dogs-Vandy prepare to kickoff

ATHENS — Rumors, perpetuated by chatter on a fan site, ran rampant Saturday that Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo would be available to play in tonight’s game. Their logic was that the UGA Student-Athlete conduct code calls for a suspension of 30 percent of competition dates for a second violation of the school’s drug policy. Simple mathematics reveals that to be 3.6 games for a 12-game football season, such as the Bulldogs have. So, it was reasoned, they should be able to come in the second half of Saturday’s game, or 36 minutes in.

However, a closer look at the new  student-athlete handbook uncovers a clause that stipulates that the number of games be rounded up or down “to the nearest whole number.” For your edification, here’s how the whole clause reads, which may clear up some other misconceptions:

If suspension is determined for the student-athlete by the Director of Athletics and Head Sport Coach, the suspension must be served immediately and in successive competitions. …

Continue reading Ogletree, Rambo sit one more game as Dogs-Vandy prepare to kickoff »

UGA Gameday: Dogs’ slow-starting D, two Vandy QBs among issues

Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) plays host to Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1), on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:50 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

THREE STORYLINES

1. Will last season’s postgame incident affect Saturday’s game? Players and coaches from both sides were asked about last year’s postgame skirmish so much they turned to sarcasm late in the week. Asked yet again on the SEC coaches weekly teleconference if the incident would provide motivation for his team, Vandy coach James Franklin sighed, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” But he also said those event won’t put “any points on the scoreboard Saturday.” As always it will come down to strategy and execution.

2. Can defense avoid another slow start? Not only has Georgia’s defense not been as dominant as everyone expected this season, it has been decidedly soft in the early goings of each of its three games. The Bulldogs have allowed an average of 13.3 to their opponents in the first half, …

Continue reading UGA Gameday: Dogs’ slow-starting D, two Vandy QBs among issues »

No. 5 Georgia ready for one of its most anticipated Vandy games ever

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gets in the face of Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin in the moments immediately after the Bulldogs' 33-28 win last October in Nashville.

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gets in the face of Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin in the moments immediately after the Bulldogs' 33-28 win last October in Nashville.

ATHENS — On Saturday night at Sanford Stadium, the Georgia Bulldogs will play their most anticipated game against Vanderbilt in recent memory. Maybe ever.

Then again, it’s rare that “anticipated game” and “Vanderbilt” are together in the same sentence. But that is the end result of the events that transpired at immediately after the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win last year in Nashville.

Much has been said and written this week about that brief skirmish between Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, which saw them go nose-to-nose in a shouting match during what was supposed to be the postgame handshake. Players, coaches and officials had to restrain the two coaches, each of whom was accusing the other’s side of dirty play.

In the end, two Georgia players and one …

Continue reading No. 5 Georgia ready for one of its most anticipated Vandy games ever »

Michael Bennett proving to be a big catch for UGA

Michael Bennett had career-high 110 receiving yards against Florida Atlantic, including a career-long 67-yard TD. (UGA photo/Jim Hipple)

Michael Bennett had career-high 110 receiving yards against Florida Atlantic, including a career-long 67-yard TD. (UGA photo/Jim Hipple)

ATHENS — When Georgia coach Mark Richt offered Alpharetta High wide receiver Michael Bennett a scholarship in the summer of 2009, Bennett resisted the urge to accept on the spot.

“I felt like that might seem a little desperate,” Bennett said with a laugh this week. “So I gave it a few days.”

Georgia was the first — and as it turned out the only — SEC school to offer Bennett a scholarship. Richt made the offer on the spot after watching Bennett, who was about to enter his senior year of high school at the time, catch passes against some of the Southeast’s top cornerback prospects during a camp on the UGA campus. The skills Richt saw that day are becoming apparent to all.

After redshirting as a UGA freshman in 2010 and showing considerable promise in 2011, Bennett has emerged as the Bulldogs’ most productive receiver in the …

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