Georgia Wins Home Opener 45-23
Sept. 1, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 6 University of Georgia football team earned a 45-23 victory over the Buffalo Bulls in front of 92,446 fans and a regionally-televised SEC Network audience on Saturday, September 1 in Athens, Ga. With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 90-26-3 all-time in season openers, including a 10-0 mark in home openers under head coach Mark Richt.
Quarterback Aaron Murray led the passing attacking, finishing 15-for-26 for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Todd Gurley became the first Georgia true freshman to run for at least 100 yards and three touchdowns since Danny Ware in 2004 against Georgia Southern. Gurley finished with eight carries for 100 yards and three touchdowns, including a school, SEC and NCAA-record tying 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Keith Marshall finished with 10 carries for 51 yards. Tavarres King finished with six catches for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Michael Bennett and Rantavious Wooten each hauled in one touchdown pass each.
Jarvis Jones led the team defensively, racking up eight tackles, including six solo tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Damien Swann also finished with eight tackles, while Michael Gilliard registered seven.
The Bulldogs got on the board early when Gurley rushed for a 10-yard touchdown that capped off a seven play, 53-yard drive that took 3:10 off the clock that made it 7-0.
Buffalo answered with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Alex Neutz to Alex Zordich that made it a 7-6 game after a failed point-after attempt.
Georgia answered on the ensuring kickoff, when Gurley took it 100 yards to the end zone to give the Bulldogs a 14-6 lead, following the extra-point by Marshall Morgan.
Morgan extended the Bulldog lead to 17-6 on a 35-yard field goal at the 12:16 mark of the second quarter. King hauled in a 63-yard touchdown pass from Murray to cap off a four play, 75 yard drive that took just 1:23 off the clock.
Buffalo drove the ball 94 yards on eight plays to cut the lead to 24-16 on a Branden Oliver run. With just two seconds on the clock, the Bulls made a 18-yard field goal that sent the game into halftime with Georgia holding a 24-16 lead.
Georgia scored the only points of the third quarter when Murray found Wooten for a 38-yard touchdown pass. Following the Morgan kick, the Bulldogs pulled away 31-16.
On its opening possession of the fourth quarter, Murray ended a 49-yard march downfield when he found Bennett in the back of the end zone for 12 yards that extended Georgia's lead to 38-16. Gurley scored his third touchdown of the game when he broke off a 55-yard run. Morgan made the point after, bringing the score to 45-15.
With just over four minutes left to play, Buffalo orchestrated a 10-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a two-yard touchdown run by Zordich.
Georgia returns to action next weekend when it opens Southeastern Conference play by traveling to Columbia, Mo., to take on new SEC foe Missouri at 7:45 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.