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 weren’t trying to make one. They didn’t shut out Vandy entirely. In fact, the Commodores put together at least three long drives and finished with 337 yards offense. But the Bulldogs’ defense stiffened in the shadow of the goal post and on critical downs in particular. Vandy finished 2-of-14 on third down.
“We wanted a goose egg, but things happen,” said Georgia’s 355-pound nose guard John Jenkins. “It wasn’t a statement game by any means. It just goes to show we play hard and we play to win.”
Linebacker Amarlo Herrera led the way with 7 tackles and the Bulldogs totaled 3 sacks, included one by All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and two by his freshman backup Jordan Jenkins.
Defensive stars Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo missed their fourth and what is expected to be final game due to disciplinary suspensions. However, coach Mark Richt again played coy about their availability.
“We’ll have to wait until pregame warmups [against Tennessee] to find out,” Richt said when asked about it after Saturday’s game. “We’ll have to wait to see next week.”
Fullback Alexander Ogletree also sat out his fourth consecutive game. Though he has dressed out for all of Georgia’s home games, a tweet he sent out this week infers that he is also suspended.
“All I got to say when next Monday come Me, @B_easy_uga9 [Alec] and @brambo18 [Rambo] are on a mission! #realtalk,” Zander wrote on his Twitter account.
Georgia senior defensive end Abry Jones had to be helped off the field with 3:20 left in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. The injury came on the sixth play of a 10-play drive that ultimately ended in a missed Vanderbilt field goal.
“The only thing I can say is we don’t think it’s a super-serious thing,” said Richt, declining to discuss any other details.
Starting strong safety Shawn Williams left the field with trainers during pregame warmups with a foot or ankle injury but ended up starting as usual. Williams had to be helped off the field once late in the first quarter but managed to finish the game and record 4 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Lee gets start
Junior Dallas Lee got the start at left guard Saturday. Lee sprained his left ankle in the second quarter of the Florida Atlantic game on Sept. 15. He did not practice until late in the week but was able to make it back for his 10th career start and played until Georgia removed its starters in the fourth quarter.
“I wouldn’t call it 100 percent, but it was good enough to play and that’s all I’m worried about,” Lee said.
Vandy goes with Rodgers
There was much debate in Nashville about which quarterback should start for the Commodores, junior transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels, who led the way in their 58-0 win over Presbyterian, or senior Jordan Rodgers, who had started every game before that back to the Georgia game last season.
In the end, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin went with Rodgers and stayed with him until late in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t feel like we’ve had anyone who has really taken hold of the quarterback position,” Franklin said. “We are treating this position like we treat other positions. We’re going to look at who practices well throughout the week and let them play on Saturday until some grabs hold of the position.”
Rodgers was 13-of-23 for 218 yards and no interceptions or touchdowns. Carta-Samuels was 1-of-2 for 13 yards.
Georgia had a bit of a quarterback change itself. The Bulldogs went with walkon Parker Welch ahead of redshirt freshman Christian LeMay in the fourth quarter.
“We had a competition this week and he won the competition to come in second,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.
Both players ended up playing. Welch was 1-of-2 and had a big 15-yard completion on third down. LeMay had one rush for five yards.
Busy night for Malcolm Mitchell
Malcolm Mitchell had a busy day for the Bulldogs. For the first time this season, the sophomore from Valdosta was featured as a true three-phase weapon. He started at cornerback on defense, played a few plays at wide receiver on offense and returned punts on special teams.
“This is what I envisioned,” said Mitchell, who played three offensive plays, returned three punts for 25 yards and recorded five tackles. “I’m happy to do it. I just want to keep doing it and see how it goes for me.”
Richt indicated Mitchell’s offensive work will go up considerably from this point on.
Etc. . . .
Tailback Todd Gurley went over 100 yards for the third time in his brief UGA career. He had a career-high 130 yards on 16 carries (8.1 average) and added two more touchdowns. He has seven on the season. . . . Fellow freshman tailback Keith Marshall also scored two TDs, including a 52-yarder last in the first quarter. He finished with 82 yards on 10 carries. . . . The Bulldogs now have seven runs of 25 yards or more this season. They had five all last season. . . .
When quarterback Aaron Murray completed 12 passes in a row to start the game it was third on Georgia’s all-time list. Quincy Carter and Eric Zeier had 15 each. . . . Split end Marlon Brown recorded the third 100-yard-plus receiving game of his career as he finished with 114 yards on five catches. Included was a 58-yard catch and run and a 6-yard touchdown.
COMPLETE COVERAGE OF GEORGIA-VANDERBILT GAME: