Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

Bulldogs ‘win one for the kids,’ 58-49 over Mercer

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ATHENS – Turns out a building full of school children was exactly what the Georgia Bulldogs needed.

More than 4,000 kids had Stegeman Coliseum rocking with high-pitched noise for Tuesday’s 11:30 a.m. tip against Mercer. The Bulldogs responded with just their third victory of the season, 58-49 over Mercer.

And while the children, who came from Athens area elementary schools, were invited well before last week’s tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the significance of their presence was not lost upon coach Mark Fox or his players.

“With what happened in Connecticut, you couldn’t look at those kids without thinking about it,” Fox said of the Dec. 14th shooting, which left 27 dead. “I mean, I’ve got kids who go to elementary school. I can’t imagine what some of those families are going through. So often in this country we lose sight of the things that are the most important. . . . So today did feel different, and I hope those kids had a great time because …

Continue reading Bulldogs ‘win one for the kids,’ 58-49 over Mercer »

Updated: Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell conflicted about future as ‘two-way’ player (with poll)

Adds comments from offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham . . .

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell (26) continued to attend the Bulldogs' defensive meetings until the week of the Georgia Southern game. The question is whether he should attend them anymore going forward. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell (26) continued to attend the Bulldogs' defensive meetings until the week of the Georgia Southern game. The question is whether he should attend them anymore going forward. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

ATHENS – Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell is one conflicted football player.

With the regular season and final exams in the rear-view mirror and a bowl game still a ways down the road, Mitchell has been able to reflect some on the “Great Experiment” that the 2012 season was for him. He went through spring practice and into the season expecting to be a two-way player. He said what came to pass wasn’t exactly what he envisioned, but neither was it anything approaching a disappointment.

In the end, Mitchell played the first four games as a cornerback and the last nine as a wide receiver. He never truly played both in one game, save for an occasional offensive play …

Continue reading Updated: Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell conflicted about future as ‘two-way’ player (with poll) »

Foul shooting derails Georgia in humiliating overtime loss to Iona, 81-78

Georgia's Brandon Morris gets his shot contested by Iona's Curtis Dennis (33) and Tavon Sledge during the Bulldogs' 81-78 overtime loss on Saturday. (AP photo by Richard Hamm)

Georgia's Brandon Morris gets his shot contested by Iona's Curtis Dennis (33) and Tavon Sledge during the Bulldogs' 81-78 overtime loss on Saturday. (AP photo by Richard Hamm)

ATHENS – You got the feeling when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer, this might be Georgia’s night.

It wasn’t.

Instead, the Bulldogs did what has been typical of them this season. They missed free throws and key shots down the stretch and watched in disbelief as Iona made all the clutch plays to win 81-78 in overtime.

The loss dropped Georgia to 2-7 – its worst nine-game start since 1970 — and adds to the list of defeats to small-time opponents, including Youngstown State and Southern Miss. Mercer (5-5) is up next on Tuesday.

The Gaels, a New York team out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, improved to 4-4.

“That was a tough loss,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “I’m sick of losing, as our team is, but we’ve got to play better basketball. That’s taking …

Continue reading Foul shooting derails Georgia in humiliating overtime loss to Iona, 81-78 »

No missed playing time for Georgia players’ actions in SEC Championship game

ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Richt said he has disciplined freshman cornerback Sheldon Dawson for an incident in the SEC Championship game in which it appears Dawson tried to poke the eyes of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. But he said Dawson won’t miss any playing time and no other UGA players are being punished for their actions in that game.

Richt also declined comment about the SEC’s decision to not suspend Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial for his illegal hit on quarterback Aaron Murray. Richt addressed the situations at the end of the Bulldogs’ practice Friday afternoon.

“Dawson, I did (discipline), yes,” Richt said. “I’m not going to give detail of it. But, yeah, and Dawson saw it. He realizes it was a bad thing and a bad image for him and for Georgia. He understood why I needed to discipline him. It won’t be any playing time.”

Video shows Dawson sticking his fingers in Milliner’s facemask after a scrum for a loose ball following an Alabama kickoff return early in …

Continue reading No missed playing time for Georgia players’ actions in SEC Championship game »

No SEC suspension for Bama’s Quinton Dial for hit on Aaron Murray

ATHENS – If Quinton Dial is going to receive any discipline for his illegal hit on Aaron Murray in the SEC Championship game, it’s not going to come from the SEC office.

That was the word Friday as the SEC sent out a short news release stating that it had reviewed several plays from the Dec. 1 matchup between Georgia and Alabama and that it would be leaving punishments decisions to the respective schools. In addition to Dial’s hit on Murray at the end of a first-half interception, Georgia’s Sheldon Dawson appears on video to be trying to gouge the eyes of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at the end of a kickoff return. Also, Bulldogs’ linebacker Alec Ogletree was flagged during the game for a “targeting” hit on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.

“The Southeastern Conference has completed its review of video from the 2012 SEC Football Championship Game. Several plays involving both teams were reviewed. After review, all subsequent action will be handled internally by the two …

Continue reading No SEC suspension for Bama’s Quinton Dial for hit on Aaron Murray »

Ideal student-athlete Christian Robinson not quite ready for graduation

Linebacker Christian Robinson is one of seven Georgia football players who will walk in graduation ceremonies Friday at Stegeman Coliseum. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Linebacker Christian Robinson is one of seven Georgia football players who will walk in graduation ceremonies Friday at Stegeman Coliseum. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Christian Robinson doesn’t want his time at Georgia to end.

“If I could stay in this situation forever I would,” the senior linebacker from Norcross said this week. “I love it here.”

Alas, he doesn’t have a choice. Robinson will be among seven football players – and 39 UGA student-athletes in all – who will walk in graduation ceremonies on Friday morning at Stegeman Coliseum. Like it or not, it’s time to move on.

And for Robinson, like many of his compatriots, he’s not entirely sure what he’ll be moving on to.

Robinson

Robinson

“I won’t be Jarvis Jones when the (NFL) draft comes,” cracked Robinson, referring to his teammate, who is projected as a possible No. 1 pick. “Maybe I’ll go after him. But I’ve enjoyed my time here. Hopefully what I’ve done to this point will give me an opportunity to keep playing. If not, …

Continue reading Ideal student-athlete Christian Robinson not quite ready for graduation »

Disappointed Dogs insist there will be no letdown against Nebraska

ATHENS -- There are few things more unpredictable than the emotional state of a football team heading into a bowl game. But there are reasons for Georgia to be on guard against a letdown in the Capital One Bowl.

The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are coming off a game in which they literally finished five yards shy from playing for a national championship. The SEC Championship ended with Chris Conley sitting with the ball on the 5-yard line in the Georgia Dome and Georgia unable to stop the clock. Time ticked away in a 32-28 loss to No. 2 Alabama.

Not only did the Bulldogs come up short in their bid for the national championship. They lost consideration for a BCS bowl. So now they head to a non-BCS bowl to face a 10-3 Nebraska team coming off a 70-31 loss as a double-digit favorite.

Add to that a looming threat of distraction. Twelve UGA defensive starters are expected to be moving on, nine due to exhausted eligibility and three others due to soaring NFL stock. Even junior …

Continue reading Disappointed Dogs insist there will be no letdown against Nebraska »

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray ‘definitely going to think about’ NFL draft

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said Tuesday he is still "haunted" by thoughts of what could have been at the end of the SEC Championship game against Alabama. But he insists he's not spending much time thining about the NFL draft. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said Tuesday he is still "haunted" by thoughts of what could have been at the end of the SEC Championship game against Alabama. But he insists he's not spending much time thining about the NFL draft. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ATHENS — Georgia’s Aaron Murray refuses to get into a detailed discussion about his plans after this season. “All I’m thinking about right now is Nebraska and the Capital One Bowl,” he says in various different ways. But the Bulldogs’ record-setting quarterback did allow that the prospect of entering the NFL draft after this, his redshirt junior, season is a very real and serious consideration for him.

“I’m definitely going to think about it and pray about it and sit down with my family (to discuss it),” Murray said during Georgia’s Capital One Bowl Media Day Wednesday afternoon at the Bulldogs’ football complex.  “But that’s not going to be probably until after the bowl game. I’ll sit …

Continue reading Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray ‘definitely going to think about’ NFL draft »

Bulldogs looking at total rebuilding job on defense in 2013

Who replaces this guy for the Bulldogs next season is a huge question mark. (AP photo)

Who replaces this guy for the Bulldogs next season is a huge question mark. (AP photo)

It’s pretty clear that Georgia’s offense will be reloading next season. Depending on the decision of quarterback Aaron Murray — it’s not as cut-and-dry as you might think — the Bulldogs should be returning 10 starters (only WRs Marlon Brown and Tavarres King graduating).

The same can’t be said of the defense. In total, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is expected to lose 12 players who started games for him this season. Three of those are underclassmen who I expect will turn pro shortly after the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl: outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive lineman Kwame Geathers.

The other nine are seniors who have exhausted their eligibility: Safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, cornerback Sanders Commings, noseguard John Jenkins, defensive ends Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington, linebackers Christian Robinson and Michael Gilliard, and …

Continue reading Bulldogs looking at total rebuilding job on defense in 2013 »

Junior Jarvis Jones named permanent captain for Georgia’s 2012 team

Georgia held its annual Senior Awards Gala this past Saturday night at the Classic Center. Not surprisingly, Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree were among the recipients for the team’s top awards.

Jones, an junior outside linebacker and two-time All-American, was named the overall permanent captain for the 2012 team. Jones and Murray both were presented the Vince Dooley Award as the team’s most valuable players. Murray was named the team’s most valuable offensive player, and Jones and Ogletree shared most valuable defensive player honor. Connor Norman and Blake Sailors shared most valuable special teams players honor.

Murray and senior wide receiver Tavarres King were elected as the team’s offensive captains, senior safety Shawn Williams was chosen as the defensive captain and senior snapper Ty Frix was named the special teams captain.

Other trophies handed out Saturday included:

David Jacobs Award (”for players who, by example, portray courage, spirit, character …

Continue reading Junior Jarvis Jones named permanent captain for Georgia’s 2012 team »

Mark Richt, Bo Pelini discuss Georgia-Nebraska matchup in Capital One Bowl

Georgia coach Mark Richt and Nebraska coach Bo Pelini were each flown to Orlando on Thursday by the Capital One Bowl for a news conference to preview their teams’ matchup in the Jan. 1 Bowl. Following are some of their comments from that session:

NEBRASKA COACH BO PELINI

On being selected for the Capital One Bowl:

“We’re excited. I know I can speak for everyone and say that we’re excited to be coming back to Orlando. We’re coming to a first-class bowl game, great hospitality, great city of Orlando, and the opportunity to play a tremendous football team, one of the top five, top couple football teams in the United States. So we’re looking forward to the challenge, a great football game and a great trip for our team and our fans.”

On a return trip to the Capital One Bowl:

“Having some familiarity with the surroundings, the hotel, everything. One thing I can say from my appearance last year is that the folks at the Capital One Bowl do such a great job. They’re so organized. They …

Continue reading Mark Richt, Bo Pelini discuss Georgia-Nebraska matchup in Capital One Bowl »

Struggling Bulldogs head to Georgia Tech looking for offensive diversity

ATHENS — It’s not to difficult to figure out how to defend Georgia at this juncture in the basketball season. The Bulldogs’ scoring leader is sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 17.6 points per game. No other player is averaging double figures.

Suffice it to say, Georgia is in desperate need of offensive diversification.

“Kentavious is doing all he can,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said Monday. “We need somebody else to finish some plays. … We can’t put it all on one guy’s shoulders. That’s probably the biggest issue right now.”

Tuesday night would be a good time for that somebody to step up. The Bulldogs (2-5) are heading into Atlanta to face rival Georgia Tech (4-2) at new McCamish Pavilion. In order to score its first victory over a major-college opponent, Georgia needs someone other than Caldwell-Pope to put the ball in the basket.

That starts in the paint. Sophomore Nemanja Djurisic, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, is currently the Bulldogs’ No. 2 scorer at 8.3 points …

Continue reading Struggling Bulldogs head to Georgia Tech looking for offensive diversity »

Bama delivers BCS knockout of Georgia, 32-28, in SEC Championship

With a BCS championship bid on the line, a heavyweight boxing match broke out at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, and it was defending national champion Alabama that delivered the knock-out blow in a 32-28 slugfest.

But give the Georgia Bulldogs credit. They got up off the mat and nearly won it.

With no timeouts and 85 yards to go with 1:08 to play, Georgia’s Aaron Murray got his team down to the Alabama 8. But rather than spike the ball with about nine seconds left, the Bulldogs elected to run another play. Murray’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and caught by flanker Chris Conley at the 5. He fell to the ground inbounds, and the last four seconds ticked off the clock.

“I told the players I was disappointed, but not disappointed in them,” a forlorn Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It was a knock-down, drag-out fight, and everybody was swinging. We just ran out of time.”

For the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide (12-1), the victory means a third trip to the BCS championship …

Continue reading Bama delivers BCS knockout of Georgia, 32-28, in SEC Championship »

GAME DAY: Georgia-Alabama preview

An SEC Championship game program on sale in the lobby outside Friday's Coaches Luncheon (AJC photo by Kent D. Johnson)

SEC Championship game program on sale in lobby outside Coaches Luncheon (AJC photo by Kent D. Johnson)

RETURN TO THE DOME

Georgia is in the SEC Championship game for the second consecutive season. The Bulldogs hope any similarity between Saturday’s game and last year’s ends at halftime.

“We had a great first half last year, but didn’t finish like we wanted to,” Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson said. “That’s been dwelling on our minds since then.”

In last year’s game, Georgia led top-ranked LSU 10-0 in the first quarter and held the Tigers to no first downs and 11 yards in the first half. But LSU dominated the Dogs in the second half and won 42-10.

Many Georgia players have said this season’s team was driven by the goal of returning to the Georgia Dome and, once there, making a better showing. They’re there, set to face Alabama at 4 p.m. Saturday with a berth in the BCS championship game at stake.

“I feel like now we know what it takes to win,” Georgia wide receiver

Continue reading GAME DAY: Georgia-Alabama preview »

House divided: SEC Championship ‘complicated’ for Atlanta family with sons playing for Bama, UGA

With their sons Dallas (L) and Dillon (R) playing football at Georgia and Alabama, respectively, it has been hard for Lisa and Robert Lee to have their whole family together. (Lee family photo)

With their sons Dallas (L) and Dillon (R) playing football at Georgia and Alabama, respectively, it has been hard for Lisa and Robert Lee to have their whole family together. (Lee family photo)

For Lisa and Robert Lee, there are two really good things about Georgia and Alabama playing in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on Saturday — and that goes beyond their two sons who will be playing in it.

First, they will have to drive only about 38 miles to get there. That’s spit in a bucket compared with the 500-mile, round-trip jaunts they’ve made on average every weekend for the past 13 weeks.

Second, while everybody else is sweating Sunday’s bowl selections, the Lees already have made their reservations for Miami. No matter who wins Saturday’s game — the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide or the No. 3 Bulldogs — the Lees know they will attend the BCS championship game Jan. 7.

“We just don’t know who we’re going with yet,” Lisa Lee said with a laugh.

Dallas Lee is a 6-foot-4, …

Continue reading House divided: SEC Championship ‘complicated’ for Atlanta family with sons playing for Bama, UGA »

Quarterbacks Murray, McCarron in SEC title game spotlight

ATHENS -- Aaron Murray isn’t talking to the media this week, but plenty of people are talking about him.

One of the top conversation pieces in advance of Saturday’s SEC Championship game is the matchup of Georgia’s Murray vs. Alabama’s AJ McCarron — quarterbacks who rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the nation, respectively, in passing efficiency.

Dogs hope Aaron Murray's play speaks for itself Saturday.

Dogs hope Aaron Murray's play speaks for itself Saturday.

“The quarterback position, with two great defenses, will determine who wins this game,” ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer, a former Florida quarterback, said on air.

No one doubts second-year starter McCarron’s ability to win a mega-game. He was the offensive Most Valuable Player of last season’s BCS title-game victory over LSU, and in this season’s rematch with the Tigers he calmly led the Crimson Tide on a 72-yard touchdown drive to win the game at the end.

Murray does not have that type of big-game resume, leaving open to discussion the question of whether he can step up against an elite …

Continue reading Quarterbacks Murray, McCarron in SEC title game spotlight »

National awards starting to roll in (again) for Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones

Jarvis Jones (29) hasn't had a chance to showcase his pass-rushing skills lately as the Bulldogs faced run-oriented option teams the last couple of weeks. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Jarvis Jones (29) hasn't had a chance to showcase his pass-rushing skills lately as the Bulldogs faced run-oriented option teams the last couple of weeks. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

ATHENS – The calendar is about to roll over to December. That means it’s time for national awards to start rolling in for Jarvis Jones.

The first of the year reached the Bulldogs’ junior outside linebacker on Wednesday. The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) made Jones a first-team All-American for the second consecutive year. Jones was a consensus All-American this past season.

A 6-3, 241-pound outside linebacker from Columbus, Jones has accumulated 71 tackles, including 19.5 tackles for loss of 107 yards and 10.5 sacks, one interception, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in only 10 games this season. He is the current NCAA active leader in sacks per game (1.0) with 24 in two seasons and is tied for the lead in tackles for loss (1.6) with 39 through this season and …

Continue reading National awards starting to roll in (again) for Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones »

No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia enter SEC Championship as mirror images

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham credits Nick Saban for many of the defensive philsophies and tactics he employs today. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham credits Nick Saban for many of the defensive philsophies and tactics he employs today. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

ATHENS — Mark Richt opened his weekly news conference Tuesday waxing eloquent about the tremendous achievements of the team the Georgia Bulldogs will face Saturday in the SEC Championship game.

He pointed out that Alabama has won 59 games the last five years, the most in SEC history, and 48 the last four, one short of the NCAA record. A win over the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday would tie that record and another one — which would have to come in the BCS national championship — would break the national mark. That national title, by the way, would be the Crimson Tide’s third in the past four years.

“We’re just at a time where they’re dominating college football, really,” Richt told a larger-than-usual crowd of media at the Bulldogs’ football complex on Tuesday. “So we have a lot of respect for them obviously.”

It would …

Continue reading No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia enter SEC Championship as mirror images »

Best freshman tailback? Georgia’s Todd Gurley or Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon

A plethora of long runs, such as this one against Tennessee, is what has separated Todd Gurley from a lot of other freshman backs in the SEC this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

A plethora of long runs, such as this one against Tennessee, is what has separated Todd Gurley from a lot of other freshman backs in the SEC this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Seeing how he’s now considered a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel would seem a shoo-in for SEC Freshman of the Year. But the argument over who might be the best freshman running back in the league remains a good one that might not be settled until after Saturday’s SEC Championship game.

Both Alabama and Georgia received all they could have hoped for from their first-year backs. The Bulldogs have been led all season by Todd Gurley, a 6-foot-1, 218-pound true freshman from Tarboro, N.C. Gurley became the first UGA true freshman since Herschel Walker in 1980 to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season when he broke the barrier two weeks ago. He enters the SEC title game with 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns, including a …

Continue reading Best freshman tailback? Georgia’s Todd Gurley or Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon »

Georgia’s Aaron Murray ‘relieved of interview duties’ this week (UPDATED)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, here directing traffic during last Saturday's game against Georgia Tech, was not available for interviews after that game, nor will he be before this week's SEC Championship game. (AP photo)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, here directing traffic during last Saturday's game against Georgia Tech, was not available for interviews after that game, nor will he be before this week's SEC Championship game. (AP photo)

*Updates with quotes from Christian Robinson . . .*

ATHENS – Aaron Murray has gone silent.

Georgia’s record-setting quarterback has decided not to talk to the media this week as the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs’ prepare for Saturday’s monumental matchup against No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship game. According to Claude Felton, UGA’s director of sports communications, Murray “has requested that he be relieved of interview duties this week and Coach Richt has approved. . . . Apologies.”

Murray will apparently be available after this Saturday’s game.

Murray also bolted from the locker room after this past Saturday’s game. Traditionally Murray answers questions from the same stool in the southeast corner of Georgia’s locker room at Sanford Stadium after …

Continue reading Georgia’s Aaron Murray ‘relieved of interview duties’ this week (UPDATED) »

UGA-Bama winner gets Notre Dame in Miami

One-half of the BCS Championship game is set. No. 1 Notre Dame punched its ticket for Miami with a 22-13 win over Southern Cal Saturday night in Los Angeles.

The other half of the big game will be settled between No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship this Saturday in the Georgia Dome (4 p.m., CBS). The Bulldogs (11-1) beat Georgia Tech 42-10 in Athens on Saturday afternoon and the Crimson Tide (11-1) shut out Auburn 49-10 in Tuscaloosa Saturday evening. The day’s results left little mystery with regard to the sometimes complicated “BCS formula.”

“You don’t need a computer for this one,” ABC sportscaster Brent Musberger said after the Fighting Irish clinched their spot. “Notre Dame will play Alabama or Georgia for the national championship.”

The Irish (12-0) won like they have much of the season, with a stingy defense making stops in the red zone — they made a goal-line stand in the final minutes — and the offense putting together a steady and balanced attack. …

Continue reading UGA-Bama winner gets Notre Dame in Miami »

Georgia game story: Dogs breeze past Jackets with ease, 42-10

ATHENS -- SEC Eastern Division championship? Check (clinched Nov. 10 at Auburn).

Victory against rival Georgia Tech? Check (42-10 on Saturday at Sanford Stadium).

Date with Alabama in the Georgia Dome with a national championship berth on the line? Coming this week.

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (11-1) cleared their last hurdle toward making next week’s SEC Championship game matchup against the No. 2 Crimson Tide (11-1) the most meaningful game for Georgia in three decades. The last time Georgia had this much on the line in one game was at the end of the 1982 season when the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Bulldogs took on No. 2 Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. The Nittany Lions won that one 27-23, and Herschel Walker turned pro a few weeks later.

Bama, the defending national champion, easily defeated Auburn on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to secure the Western Division’s bid into the SEC Championship game.

“Well, the Southeastern Conference championship, first of all, stands alone as a …

Continue reading Georgia game story: Dogs breeze past Jackets with ease, 42-10 »

Georgia’s seniors determined live out script they wrote in January

Holding their own SEC and BCS destinies in their hands is what linebacker Christian Robinson and Georgia's seniors wanted for their final season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Holding their own SEC and BCS destinies in their hands is what linebacker Christian Robinson and Georgia's seniors wanted for their final season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — On January 13, 2012, 13 draft-eligible juniors, plus quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason, lined up in the front of Georgia’s team meeting room on the first floor of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and made a declaration. They said they were coming back to play their senior seasons for the Bulldogs in 2012.

The reason they came back will be on full display today at Sanford Stadium. The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (10-1) play host to Georgia Tech (6-5) in the annual battle for the Governor’s Cup and those seniors will attempt to end their college careers 4-0 against the Yellow Jackets. But that’s only a side note in this storyline.

Saturday’s game is essentially a BCS championship quarterfinal for Georgia. If it can win, the Dec. 1 matchup with Alabama in the SEC Championship  becomes a …

Continue reading Georgia’s seniors determined live out script they wrote in January »

Georgia’s options limited when it comes to stopping Tech’s offense

Georgia and Butkus Award finalist Jarvis Jones will be chasing bigger, faster players in trying to stop Georgia Tech's spread option than they were with Georgia Southern. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia and Butkus Award finalist Jarvis Jones will be chasing bigger, faster players in trying to stop Georgia Tech's spread option than they were with Georgia Southern. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Georgia did a pretty good job of slowing down Georgia Southern’s spread-option attack this past Saturday. The Eagles managed 302 rushing yards and 19 first downs. But that turned out to be more annoying than agonizing as the Bulldogs cruised to a 45-14 victory.

Enter Georgia Tech, which runs essentially the same offense. But any notion that Georgia will be dealing with the same challenge is incorrect.

Yellow Jackets’ coach Paul Johnson is considered the modern-day guru of the spread option. And with the athletes Tech will bring to Sanford Stadium, for Georgia’s defenders it will be like going from minor league to major-league pitching.

“He knows it so well that he doesn’t even need a call sheet,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said of Johnson. “It’s in his brain and he’s …

Continue reading Georgia’s options limited when it comes to stopping Tech’s offense »

Intensity of rivalry, upsets of last weekend help keep Tech foremost on Georgia’s mind

ATHENS – Kansas State coach Bill Snyder emerged from the Wildcats’ locker room after his No. 1-ranked team had just been dismantled by unranked Baylor 52-24 this past Saturday night and he fell on the proverbial sword.

In his postgame remarks, Snyder talked about not handling well his team’s situation. And by “situation” he wasn’t talking about blocking and tackling the Bears that night in Waco. He was talking about the Wildcats’ place among the BCS contenders and all that comes with it.

“I don’t think we handled the situation as well as we should have been able to,” Snyder told reporters after the game. “It had nothing to do with young guys wanting to be successful. They wanted to play well; they wanted to play hard; they wanted to win. We just couldn’t handle the environment as well as we could.”

Suffice it to say, Georgia coach Mark Richt doesn’t want to find himself in a similar situation following the Bulldogs’ game against Georgia Tech Saturday at Sanford Stadium. His …

Continue reading Intensity of rivalry, upsets of last weekend help keep Tech foremost on Georgia’s mind »

As for maintaining focus on Tech, Bulldogs simply referencing this past weekend

ATHENS — Once again, Georgia coach Mark Richt and the Bulldogs spent most of their day Tuesday deflecting questions about acronyms such as BCS and SEC and guiding discussions instead back toward the immediate task at hand, which is trying to beat archrival Georgia Tech and slow down the Yellow Jackets’ spread-option attack.

Get used to it. This will be the Bulldogs’ tact going forward. And it’s the right way to handle their situation, what with Tech coming to Athens and everything on the line and all.

“After what happened on Saturday, it’s a little bit easier for us,” said senior linebacker Christian Robinson, referring to the upset losses of No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon this past weekend. ” You know that if we handle our business, there are no worries. We’re not worried about other people any more. It’s completely on us and it’s on everything we do from this point on. Our focus is completely on Georgia Tech because this is the game. Nothing else matters at this …

Continue reading As for maintaining focus on Tech, Bulldogs simply referencing this past weekend »

Oddsmakers have UGA as underdog vs. Bama, favorite vs. Notre Dame

Georgia would be an underdog against Alabama in the SEC Championship game but, if the Bulldogs pull an upset there, would be favored over Notre Dame in the national title game.

That’s the early word from oddsmakers.

Todd Fuhrman, former sports oddsmaker at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, said Monday that he projects Georgia as a 7-point underdog to Alabama in the Dec. 1 SEC title game. But if the Bulldogs beat Alabama in the Georgia Dome, they would be a 4-point favorite over Notre Dame in the Jan. 7 BCS title game in Miami, said Fuhrman, now senior market analyst for betting information services provider Don Best Sports.

RJ Bell, of sports betting news website pregame.com, sees it similarly. He projects Georgia as a 7-point underdog to Alabama but views the Bulldogs as 1-point favorite if they play Notre Dame.

All of this could be altered by what happens Saturday, of course.

Notre Dame, No. 1 in this week’s BCS standings, closes its regular season at USC and needs a win to …

Continue reading Oddsmakers have UGA as underdog vs. Bama, favorite vs. Notre Dame »

UGA moves to No. 3 in BCS standings, within reach of national-title game

The scores from Eugene, Ore., and Waco, Texas, reverberated loudly across this state,  seemingly putting the Georgia Bulldogs two victories away from playing for college football’s national championship.

Saturday night’s losses by previously No. 1 Kansas State (to Baylor) and previously No. 2 Oregon (to Stanford) triggered a celebration among Georgia fans and a shakeup of the Bowl Championship Series pecking order. In the latest BCS standings, released Sunday night, Notre Dame moved to No. 1, Alabama to No. 2 and Georgia to No. 3.

That means, BCS analysts agreed, that if Georgia beats Georgia Tech and Alabama beats Auburn this week, then the winner of the Dec. 1 SEC Championship game between the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide would play for the national title.

The top two teams in the final BCS standings, to be released Dec. 2, earn berths in the title game, which will be played Jan. 7 in Miami. Georgia has not played for a national championship in the BCS era and last won the …

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Georgia Bulldogs face Georgia Southern with one eye on SEC, BCS races

Missed opportunities, such as this drop by Malcolm Mitchell inside the 5-yard line against LSU in last year's SEC Championship game, is what has the Bulldogs so excited about their BCS possibilities this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Missed opportunities, such as this drop by Malcolm Mitchell inside the 5-yard line against LSU in last year's SEC Championship game, is what has the Bulldogs so excited about their BCS possibilities this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – When it comes to the BCS championship race, Georgia coach Mark Richt refuses to talk about it. He won’t even acknowledge that the it’s nice just to be in the discussion. This past week he dodged questions about it like spitballs flying across a classroom.

“I don’t worry about it,” said Richt, who will lead the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs into Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern. “I don’t, because I can’t control it. If you worry about stuff you can’t control, you’re really wasting your time and you’re going to make yourself crazy a little bit. I can only control what we do on a weekly basis.”

But that hasn’t been the case with Georgia’s players. While they’re clearly focused on Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern …

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After falling to Southern Miss in OT, Bulldogs head to New York to face No. 1 Indiana

ATHENS – For Georgia, the first half of the Progressive Legends Classic was hard. The second half figures to be a lot harder.

The Bulldogs fell to 0-2 in the tournament with a 62-60 loss to Southern Miss in overtime Thursday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Now the Bulldogs (1-2) head up to New York City for the “championship rounds” of this 12-team, four-game event. There, in the sparkling confines of the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Georgia will face No. 1-ranked Indiana Monday night. They will play either No. 13-ranked UCLA or Georgetown on Tuesday, depending on which teams win.

To say the early outlook for Georgia this season is bleak wouldn’t be strong enough.

“We haven’t played well out of the gate, but we have a lot of opportunities in front of us,” Georgia coach Mark Fox. “It’s a game at a time and, with this group, it’s a day at a time. There’s so much to learn from this game. I thought that all of our freshmen, who I thought really hurt us the last time out, were all …

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