No. 6 Bulldogs Hold Off Tennessee, 34-31 In Overtime
Oct. 5, 2013
Game 4: Georgia (3-1, 2-0 SEC) vs. Tennessee (3-2, 0-1 SEC)
A Glance At The Georgia-Tennessee Series History
The Bulldogs have won three straight over Tennessee and four of the last five. The series dates back to 1899 and the Volunteers hold a slight 21-19-2 edge in the series.
In 2012, the Bulldogs won a 51-44 shootout in Athens. After the Volunteers roared back from a 21-10 first quarter deficit to tie it at 30-all at halftime, Georgia managed to score three touchdowns in a matter of seven minutes during the third quarter to pull out the win. The Bulldog freshmen running backs - Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley - stole the show by combining for 294 yards rushing and five touchdowns. The scores included 75 and 72-yard runs by Marshall and a 51 yarder from Gurley. Current Kansas City Chief Sanders Commings had two picks to pace the Georgia defense, including one in the game's final minute.
Last time in Knoxville, the Bulldogs held Tennessee to just a single touchdown (and blocked the Vols' extra point attempt) and won 20-12. Malcolm Mitchell, who was lost earlier this year to a torn ACL, shined with three catches for 126 yards. On defense, linebacker Mike Gilliard tallied 12 tackles and a sack. Tennessee was held to minus-21 yards rushing on 23 attempts. The win in Knoxville made Mark Richt the third coach in Georgia history to win at least 100 games.
Potent Offense Returns In 2013
Georgia is averaging 41.2 points a game, which ranks fourth in the SEC, and the Bulldogs' schedule has included three games against top-10 opponents. Georgia is 2-0 in the SEC after beating #6 South Carolina 41- 30 and #6 LSU 44-41. This marks the first time a team has scored at least 44 points on the Tigers in regulation since the Bulldogs pounded LSU 45-16 in 2004.
There have been only four Bulldog teams that have scored 40+ points in three SEC games during a single season and Georgia has already accomplished the feat twice this year. Senior QB Aaron Murray has been a part of two of the teams that have done it as Georgia has hit the 40-point mark three times in a season four different times (1942, 2007, 2010, 2012). Last year, the Bulldogs went over the 40-point mark against Missouri, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. In 2010, Murray directed Georgia to three consecutive SEC wins where the Bulldogs eclipsed the 40-point mark beating Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
The Bulldogs are currently ranked sixth nationally in total offense (554.0 ypg). Georgia posted 35 points against #8 Clemson, 41 versus #6 South Carolina, 45 in the win over North Texas and 44 in the victory over #6 LSU. The Bulldogs rolled up 545 yards on 70 plays, including 222 on the ground, against the Tigers. In the matchup with the Gamecocks, Georgia gained 536 yards on 76 plays with 227 rushing yards. Highlighted by 450 passing yards, the Bulldogs piled up 641 yards on 74 plays against the Mean Green. In their last action, the Bulldogs piled up 494 total yards on offense on 70 plays in beating #6 LSU.
Last year, Georgia tallied a school record 529 points and scored more than 40 points in eight games.
The Bulldogs have played 14 true freshman this season. Three of those have started (FS Tray Matthews, CB Brendan Langley, OLB Leonard Floyd). Floyd had a career-high eight stops, including his third sack, in the win over LSU. In fact, 10 of the 14 play defense. This is tied for third nationally with LSU while Texas A&M (17) and UCLA (15) are the top two in the category.
Martinez, who was Richt's college roommate at Miami, took over as Georgia's secondary coach in 2001 and stayed in that role until 2004. He was then promoted to defensive coordinator as well as coaching the secondary in 2005 and stayed in that spot until 2009. After leaving the Bulldogs, he was the Oklahoma secondary coach in 2010-11 and the Auburn secondary coach in 2012 before taking his current job. Jancek coached Georgia's linebackers from 2005-08. Jancek was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2009 before moving on to Cincinnati in 2010.
Murray Named National Player Of The Week
Junior QB Aaron Murray was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after the win over #6 LSU. The Tampa, Fla., native went 20-for-34 for 298 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for a score. He sparked an offense that generated 494 yards of total offense as Georgia scored at least 35 points for the fourth consecutive game of the year. Murray was also honored as the Athlon Sports National Player of the Week following Georgia's third win of the year. Murray also received the honor following the Bulldogs' victory over #6 South Carolina.
On The Road Again
Georgia started the season on the road against #8 Clemson before playing three straight games at home. After dropping the contest to the Tigers, the Bulldogs reeled off three consecutive wins, including victories over #6 South Carolina and #6 LSU. Georgia's trip to Knoxville is one of five more games the Bulldogs have away from home this year.
ON DECK: vs. Missouri
The Bulldogs topped Missouri 41-20 last year during the Tigers' first SEC game in history. Before 2013, the two teams had only matched up one time before in 1960.
Last year, the Bulldogs made the trip to Columbia, Mo., to face the Tigers. Despite falling behind 10-7 in the early going, Georgia scored 32 second-half points and held Missouri scoreless in the final period to secure the 41-20 win. Current Baltimore Raven and former Georgia receiver Marlon Brown shredded Missouri for 106 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. Aaron Murray completed his second game of the season going 22-for-35 for 242 yards, three touchdowns and one pick. Defensively for the Bulldogs, Amarlo Herrera had a game-high 10 tackles and a fumble recovery while current Pittsburgh Steeler Jarvis Jones exploded for nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception that he returned to the 1-yard line.
Murray Has The Bulldogs In The Hunt
Senior QB Aaron Murray is one of the nation's elite at his position. Currently, he is fourth nationally in passing efficiency with a 191.1 mark. The SEC record is 182.1 set by Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton in 2010. Last year, Murray ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency at 174.82. In 2011, Murray graduated with a degree in Psychology after posting a GPA of 3.4. He is now taking undergraduate classes towards another degree. In his 31 wins as a starter, Murray has 85 TDs to just 18 INTs. Murray is the SEC's leading active player in total offensive yards (11,659), completions (775), TD responsibility (118), TD passes (106) and passing yards (11,429, No. 2 nationally among active FBS QBs).
Here are some of Murray's career highlights:
Active Career Start National Leaders
45 Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
SEC CAREER RECORD WATCH
BULLDOG CAREER RECORD WATCH
DID YOU KNOW?
Aaron Murray is the only QB in SEC history to throw for 3,000 yards or more in each of his first three seasons. There only have been two in NCAA history to do it in four seasons: Timmy Chang, Hawaii (2000, '02-04) and Kellen Moore, Boise State (2008-11)
Gurley & Marshall Ignite Rushing Attack
In 2012, true freshmen roommates and North Carolina natives Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall became Georgia's weapons in the backfield. The 2013 season has seen Gurley and Marshall continue their dominant performances. Gurley has gone over 100 yards twice and has hit the century mark 11 times now overall. He also had his first career touchdown reception against #6 South Carolina complementing his 132 yards rushing and a score on a career-high 30 carries.
Marshall has totaled 117 yards rushing this year. He also has seven catches for 111 yards and a score. Marshall had his second career receiving touchdown against the Gamecocks. This marked the first time since 1997 that a pair of Bulldog tailbacks had touchdown catches in the same game (Robert Edwards, Patrick Pass).
In the win over #6 LSU, Gurley had eight carries for 73 yards (9.1 avg.) before leaving early in the second quarter because of an ankle injury. For the year, Gurley is averaging 112.5 yds/g as he has tallied 450 yards on 71 attempts. Marshall posted a career-high 20 attempts for 96 yards to lead all backs after Gurley went down against the Tigers. Marshall has 213 yards on 51 attempts this season. He is also a threat in the receiving game with eight catches for 111 yards in 2013.
There are also a couple of freshmen options at tailback. Brendan Douglas and J.J. Green have both played and combined for 104 yards. Incidentally, sophomore FB Quayvon Hicks is the team's third leading rusher with 67 yards on eight carries (8.4 avg.).
2012 Game-By-Game (Attempts-Yards-Touchdowns)
2013 Game-By-Game (Attempts-Yards-Touchdowns)
Big Guys Up Front
In three of the Bulldogs' first four games, Georgia's starting unit for the offensive line was: senior Kenarious Gates at LT, senior Chris Burnette at RG, senior Dallas Lee at LG, junior David Andrews at C and junior Kolton Houston at RT. Houston moved over to LG in the win over #6 South Carolina as sophomore John Theus got the nod at RT. For the second straight game, Georgia's offensive line did not surrender any sacks after allowing six in the first two contests. Houston got his first shot to play for the Bulldogs after he was ruled eligible after a three-year battle with the NCAA (For more on Houston, check out the story at http://gado.gs/1xu).
Here's a look at Georgia's offensive production this year:
Even after playing three top-10 opponents to start the season, Georgia leads the SEC in passing efficiency (193.4) and ranks second in passing yards per game (345.0).
One of the keys to Aaron Murray's success has been his passing efficiency, and his ability to spread the ball around. In 2013, Georgia has seen the emergence of redshirt sophomore SE Justin Scott-Wesley. He had a career day versus #8 Clemson in the 2013 season opener, hauling in four catches for 55 yards. Against #6 South Carolina, Scott-Wesley posted his first 100-yard performance with three catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, including an 85-yard score. He snagged the game-winning catch against #6 LSU with 1:47 left in the game and finished with four catches for 55 yards. He is seventh in the SEC averaging 72.2 yards/game with 14 rec. for 289 yds. Scott-Wesley only had six catches in his career before this season.
Junior Michael Bennett is back from a 2012 ACL injury and is third on the team with 13 catches for 162 yards. Bennett tied his career high with two scores against #6 LSU. Junior Chris Conley also has a team-high 15 catches for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He was the leading receiver last week versus LSU with five receptions for 112 yards. True freshman Reggie Davis caught a 98-yard touchdown strike from Murray to etch their names in school history. This was the longest offensive scoring play in school history. It is also tied for the third-longest passing touchdown in SEC history and is the longest passing touchdown in the FBS this year. Davis was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his efforts.
One of the team's leaders last year, Malcolm Mitchell, went down with an ACL injury against Clemson and is out for the year.
Senior TE Arthur Lynch, a preseason First Team All-SEC and Second Team All-America selection, has picked up this season where he left off in 2012. He posted career highs with four catches for 85 yards and a touchdown against North Texas. Lynch had three catches for 26 yards and a touchdown versus the #6 Gamecocks after adding an 18-yard catch against #8 Clemson the week before. Backup TE Jay Rome has played in the last two games after injuring his ankle in the Clemson game. He had a career-long catch for 27 yards against North Texas, but left the game favoring his ankle again.
Mason Waiting In The Wings
Redshirt junior Hutson Mason leads a group of quarterbacks vying for playing time behind senior Aaron Murray. Mason is listed as the No. 2 on the depth chart after redshirting in 2012 to create a year of separation between the entrenched starter.
Youthful Defense Growing Up
Three of Georgia's first four opponents this season have been eighthranked Clemson, sixth-ranked South Carolina and sixth-ranked LSU and the Bulldogs have managed to go 2-1 against these ranked squads. The Tigers registered 38 points and 467 yards of total offense on 76 plays. A week later, the Gamecocks rolled up 454 total yards on offense and 30 points on 61 plays. While the Gamecocks tallied 24 points in the first half, the Bulldog defense held them to six points the rest of the way, including a goalline stand on their final possession midway through the fourth quarter.
Georgia flexed its muscle on defense even more during the matchup while taking a break from facing top-10 foes with a matchup against North Texas. The Mean Green managed only one touchdown on offense (two on special teams) and 245 total yards on offense, including just seven on the ground. The Bulldogs' stout rushing defense continued against sixth-ranked LSU. Georgia held the Tigers to just 15 yards on the ground in the first half. LSU finished with just 77 yards rushing after coming into the game averaging 221.0 rushing yards/game.
Georgia has had 10 new starters on defense including four true freshmen. FS Tray Matthews, OLB Leonard Floyd and CB Brendan Langley became the first true freshmen starters in a season opener on defense under Mark Richt since Kedric Golston (2002). They are the only four on defense under Richt. Prior to them the last true freshman to start in the secondary in a season opener was Tony Flack in 1982 and it was against Clemson in Athens. Flack was the first true freshman (non-kicker) to start a season opener in the Vince Dooley era, which began in 1964.
Defense Forced To Make Adjustments
The hallmark for Georgia's defense in 2012 was its ability to make key second half adjustments. For example, opponents averaged just 7.7 points in the final two quarters (107 points), and one touchdown came on an interception return. This season, eighth-ranked Clemson scored 21 first half points and then 17 in the second two periods. Sixth-ranked South Carolina scored 24 points in the opening half, but only six in the second half. Georgia's defense versus North Texas tossed a shutout in the second half. The only touchdown that the Mean Green scored in the final two quarters came on a blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone. Sixth-ranked LSU scored 17 points in the first half and 24 in the second. The Tigers have scored at least 35 points and tallied more than 400 yards in all five games of the 2013 season. The 2013 defense features nine new regulars. The returning starters are junior CB Damian Swann and senior DE Garrison Smith. Junior ILB Amarlo Herrera and sophomore OLB Jordan Jenkins combined for 15 starts last season. Additionally, sophomore OLB Josh Dawson, junior DE Ray Drew, junior SS Connor Norman and junior N Mike Thornton all earned significant playing time during the 2012 campaign.
Sacking The Opposition
Georgia moved into a tie for fourth in the SEC with nine sacks on the season, including four in the 44-41 win over #6 LSU. Freshman OLB Leonard Floyd, who leads the team with three sacks, redshirt sophomore N Chris Mayes, junior DE Ray Drew and sophomore OLB Jordan Jenkins each had a sack against the Tigers.
Third Down Stops
One area the Bulldogs hope to improve on is third down defense. LSU was 10-for-15 on third downs, dropping Georgia down to 14th in the league. The Bulldogs have allowed opponents to convert 44.8 percent of the time.
Linebacker Duo Leading The Defense
Through four games this year, Bulldog linebackers Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera are both ranked in the top five in the SEC for total tackles. Wilson is fourth with 37 while Herrera is fifth with 36.
Another playmaker at linebacker includes sophomore OLB Jordan Jenkins. Jenkins has 16 tackles so far, including a team-high five tackles for loss. Last year, he had 31 stops with the team's second-most sacks behind current Pittsburgh Steeler Jarvis Jones with 5.0. Jones had a school record 14.5 sacks in 2012. Jenkins tallied his first sack of the year against #6 LSU. Freshman OLB Leonard Floyd is coming on strong of late, highlighted by a career-high eight stops against LSU. He had a sack and two tackles for loss against the Tigers after Floyd had his first two sacks of his career in the DEFENSE win over North Texas.
Torrent Of Tackles For Harvey-Clemons
Bulldog sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons ignited the defense with a career-high 15 tackles in the victory over #6 LSU. This was the most for a Bulldog since Alec Ogletree had 15 in the win over Georgia Tech last year. Harvey-Clemons is third on the team in tackles with 27 tackles in just three games played for the Valdosta native.
Georgia has a youthful secondary with junior Damian Swann as the only starter back. This season, freshman safety Tray Matthews is fifth on the team and leads the defensive secondary with 20 tackles while senior safety Connor Norman has 14 stops. Matthews registered his first career interception against North Texas, which is also Georgia's only pick of 2013. Norman recovered a punt that was fumbled by LSU and the Bulldogs were able to convert it into a touchdown in the next series.
Matthews and fellow freshman Brendan Langley both made significant plays against the Tigers' passing game. Matthews drilled an LSU receiver after the Tiger had caught a pass and jarred it loose with the blow deep in Georgia territory. Langley had a pass breakup against the Tigers' leading receiver, Jarvis Landry, in the third quarter.
A pair of reserve safeties return for the Bulldogs in Norman and junior Corey Moore. Norman, who has started the first two games of 2013, started two games and played in all 14 contests last year. He finished with 18 tackles. In the 2013 opener, Norman had eight tackles, including combining on a tackle for loss. Moore played in 14 games with one start to go with 14 tackles. However, Moore was sidelined for the Clemson game with a knee injury and then got his first start against North Texas. Also, defensive back Sheldon Dawson appeared in 13 games and had 12 tackles last year and is back in a reserve role this year.
Georgia's 2013 signing class featured eight defensive backs/safeties including three who enrolled early in Matthews, Quincy Mauger and Reggie Wilkerson. Mauger had four stops against LSU. Wilkerson tore his ACL during summer workouts and is out for the season.
The First Line Of Defense
Georgia's leading trio up-front so far this season has featured senior Garrison Smith, redshirt sophomore Sterling Bailey and junior Ray Drew. Bailey leads this group with 20 tackles and that ranks fourth on the team. Bailey has battled back from shoulder and foot injuries that slowed his progress early in his career. He exploded for a career-high 10 tackles against #6 South Carolina and his performance included a sack.
Drew has earned increased playing time on the frontline since season's start. Against Clemson in the 2013 season opener, Drew had four solo tackles to lead the defensive front. He then started his first game versus South Carolina and added another three stops. Versus #6 LSU, Drew had his first sack in a three-tackle performance.
Redshirt sophomore N Chris Mayes started his first game against LSU and responded with four tackles and a sack. He made his Bulldog debut versus North Texas.
SPECIAL TEAMS AT A GLANCE
Specialists Gain Experience
Barber has averaged 48.0 yards on 13 punts this year and has forced four fair catches. Barber also ran five yards for a first down on a fake punt from the Georgia 34-yard line at #6 Clemson. However, he bobbled a snap against the Gamecocks and was credited for a loss of 14 yards after retrieving the loose ball. Versus North Texas, Barber's punt was blocked and the Mean Green recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Barber returned to average 49.8/yds on five punts against North Texas, including a career-long 61 yarder. He is on pace to have one of the best seasons in school history through four games. Drew Butler (2009) owns the school record at 48.1.
Morgan is coming off a 14-point performance in the win over #6 LSU as he connected with three field goals (including a career-long 55 yarder) and 5 PATs in the 44-41 thriller. He ranks second on the team in scoring behind Todd Gurley with 23 points in just two games.
Morgan was suspended for the first two games of 2013 and played in his first game versus North Texas. He was 5-for-5 on PATs and 1-for-2 on FGs against the Mean Green after missing a 52 yarder as time expired in the first half. Morgan tallied 87 points last year. He hit 8-of-14 field goals (hitting two from 50+) and connected on a school record 63-of-67 extra points.
During Morgan's absence, sophomore Patrick Beless was 10-for-10 on PATs and 2-for-2 on FGs (both versus South Carolina) during the first two games. He was lined up to attempt another 19-yard field goal against Clemson, but a high snap caused a fumble and loss of six yards. Beless made the team in the spring of his freshman year in 2012 and has been on the roster the last two seasons.
Redshirt sophomore Nathan Theus has assumed the role as field goal and PAT snapper this season. True freshman Trent Frix has seen action in all four the Bulldogs' first four contests and is snapping on punts now. Trent is the younger brother of Ty Frix, who was the Bulldogs' snapper for the last four years. Theus, who played special teams last season, is the older brother of offensive lineman John Theus.
The Return Men
Four Bulldogs have returned kicks this year for an average of 18.9/yds, including the longest by Justin Scott-Wesley of 24 yards against #6 South Carolina. True freshman Reggie Davis had three returns for 51 yards in the win over #6 LSU.
In the punt return game, junior CB Damian Swann leads the squad with six returns for 30 yards. The only other Bulldog to return a kick is Davis, who had one for 6 yards against North Texas.
Did You Know?
Georgia has blocked 21 punts, 13 field goals and four PATs in the Mark Richt era. The Bulldogs have converted them into 137 points. Georgia has scored 17 special teams touchdowns and four safeties in the Richt era.
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