Bulldogs Cruise Past Kentucky on Senior Day 59-17
Nov. 23, 2013
Game 11: Georgia (6-4, 4-3 SEC) vs. Kentucky (2-8, 0-6 SEC)
The Bulldog Class of 2013
Georgia closes out the home portion of its schedule Saturday and that means it is a Sanford Stadium farewell for the Bulldog Class of 2013. Without question, this group has endured a roller coaster of emotions during their time Between the Hedges and on the road wearing the red and black. The highs have included a pair of SEC Eastern Division titles, including a 12-win season in 2012. There have been only three teams in school history to win at least 12 games.
The Class of 2013 enters the Kentucky game with a four-year record of 34-17 and 15 of those contests were decided by five points or less including six this season. The 2013 team had visions of greatness but after playing six such nail-biters out of 10 games, they find themselves at 6-4. The year opened with a three-point loss at eighth-ranked Clemson but the pain from that was erased with a thrilling three-point win over sixthranked LSU. The win over the Tigers will go down as one of the greatest games ever in Sanford Stadium.
An overtime-win at Tennessee by three, a four-point loss at Vanderbilt, a three-point victory for their third straight over the Gators and then what to make of what happened on the Plains last Saturday? It was arguably the most gut-wrenching contest in the 117 meetings of the Deep South's oldest rivalry. Saturday's Sanford Stadium finale with Kentucky, the battle with Tech in Atlanta, and a bowl game provide three more opportunities to represent the Bulldog Nation. This much is for sure, no one can predict the ending for the Class of 2013.
Series History With The Wildcats
Georgia holds a 52-12-2 edge over Kentucky since the teams' first meeting in 1939. The Bulldogs have won the last three in a row, including a 29-24 thriller in Lexington last year. Aaron Murray paced Georgia with 427 yards passing and four touchdowns while current Carolina Panther Tavarres King hauled in nine passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Current St. Louis Ram Alec Ogletree led a trio of Bulldog defenders with 10+ tackles.
SEC Tackling Leaders On Display
Georgia and Kentucky boast the three top tacklers in the SEC. Bulldog junior ILBs Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera have been among the SEC leaders in tackles all year. Currently, Wilson leads the league with 110 (11/g), with an SEC-leading 76 in conference contests. Wilson has led the team in tackles seven times this season, including a career-high 18 stops versus #7 Auburn. This is the most tackles for a Bulldog since Orantes Grant tallied 22 in a 1998 win over Kentucky. Herrera posted 12 tackles against both #6 South Carolina and the Tigers. Herrera is second with 91 overall stops (9.1/g). Kentucky's Avery Williamson is third in the SEC with 88 stops through 10 contests (8.8/g).
There have been two Bulldogs to lead the SEC in tackles (Whit Marshall, 1995, 128; Rennie Curran, 2009, 130).
Pouring On The Points
Georgia enters Saturday's game ranked sixth in the SEC in Scoring Offense averaging 35.8 points/game. Kentucky is 12th at 21.5. In Scoring Defense, UGA is 11th at 30.2 while the Wildcats are 10th at 28.8. In conference games, there has been little drop in Georgia's scoring output as they rank fifth at 33.3 points a game while Kentucky is 14th at 14.5. In Scoring Defense in SEC games, the teams remain similar. The Bulldogs rank ninth at 33.3 while the Wildcats are 10th at 34.2.
Block That Kick
The Bulldogs have blocked a field goal in two straight games. Georgia blocked two last year and the most in one season under Mark Richt was four in 2002. This season, Jordan Jenkins blocked one against Appalachian State and Leonard Floyd had one at #7 Auburn.
Tight Tussles The Norm In 2013
Under Mark Richt, the Bulldogs have played 46 games that have been decided by five points or less, going 26-20 in these tight tussles. This year, Georgia has played in six such contests, going 3-3.
Murray Secures Third SEC Record
Senior QB Aaron Murray has set four SEC career records this year and is aiming for more. He moved into the conference's No. 1 spot in Completions with 903 at #7 Auburn. Murray also owns the league's all-time marks in TD Passes (117), Total Offense (13,348) and Passing Yards (12,983). Murray needs only 108 yards to reach 3,000 this season and become one of only three in NCAA history to accomplish the feat all three years. Murray had one of the most impressive performances of his career at #7 Auburn. He set career highs with 33 completions on 49 attempts and finished with 415 yards and two touchdowns. Murray also rushed for a pair of touchdowns as he twice led the Bulldogs back to a lead after they were behind by 20 points.
TD Passes: 117 - T7th in NCAA All-Time Rankings (6th - 121, BYU's Ty Detmer)
The Bulldogs are minus-eight in turnover margin this year, which is tied for 13th in the SEC. Meanwhile, Kentucky is eighth in the league at an even ratio on the year.
Last time out, the Bulldogs gave up one interception at #7 Auburn and did not force any turnovers. The Wildcats were intercepted four times by Vanderbilt last weekend and did not force any turnvovers.
ON DECK: @ Georgia Tech
Georgia leads the series 63-37-5, including wins in their last four meetings and during the last six trips to Atlanta. Last year, the Bulldogs drilled the Yellow Jackets 42-10 in Sanford Stadium.
Murray Adds Fourth SEC Record
Senior QB Aaron Murray has set four SEC all-time records this season. Most recently, he moved to No. 1 in Completions against #7 Auburn. Murray's 903 moved him past Florida's Chris Leak, who recorded 875 from 2003-06. Murray took over the career Touchdown Pass record against Appalachian State and now has 117, surpassing Florida's Danny Wuerffel (114, 1993-96). He set the league record for career Total Offense in the first quarter of the Vanderbilt game. The Tampa, Fla., native's 13,348 yards surpassed Florida's Tim Tebow, who had 12,232.
With a 24-yard strike to Chris Conley on a 4th-and-4 situation at Tennessee, Murray became the SEC's all-time leader in Passing Yardage. He now has 12,983 passing yards, which passed former Bulldog and SEC record holder David Greene (11,528).
In his 34 wins as a starter, Murray has 91 TDs to just 19 INTs. In addition to TD Passes, Total Offense and Passing Yards, Murray is also the SEC's leading active player in Completions (903) and TD Responsibility (133). His 12,983 passing yards are No. 2 nationally among active FBS quarterbacks. In 2011, Murray graduated with a degree in Psychology after posting a GPA of 3.3. The 2012 Capital One Academic Second Team All-American is now taking undergraduate classes towards another degree.
Here are some of Murray's career highlights:
Four-Year Bulldog Starting Quarterbacks
SEC 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)
Mason Surges In Backup Role
Junior QB Hutson Mason relieved Murray for the fourth quarter of the Appalachian State game and finished 11-for-16 for a career-high 160 yards and a touchdown. He connected with redshirt freshman receiver Kenneth Towns for a 3-yard score, marking Towns' first career reception. Junior SE Jonathon Rumph also snagged his first career completion on the same scoring drive with a 24-yard catch and finished with four catches for 98 yards from Mason.
Frosh Fill In Nicely
During a three and a half game stretch this year, the backfield featured a pair of true freshmen in J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas. They filled in for injured sophomore stars Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Gurley had been out since the win over No. 6 LSU on Sept. 28 when he went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter before returning against Florida. Marshall was lost for the year with an ACL injury in the first quarter of the UT game on Oct. 5. Now back as reserves, Green has 53 carries for 328 yards and two touchdowns while Douglas' numbers are at 65-272-2.
Gurley's Return Boosts Bulldogs
In 2012, true freshmen roommates and North Carolina natives Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall became Georgia's weapons in the backfield. The pair picked up where they had left off during the first three games of 2013. Gurley, who has hit the century mark 12 times in his career, and Marshall combined for more than 100 yards and at least one touchdown in those contests. However, Gurley went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter during the win over #6 LSU and Marshall responded with a career- high 20 carries for 96 yards. Then, Marshall injured his right knee in the first quarter of the Tennessee game and was lost for the year. Gurley returned to action in the victory over Florida and finished with 187 all-purpose yards (100 rushing, 87 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). In the win over #6 LSU, Gurley had eight carries for 73 yards (9.1 avg.) before leaving early in the second quarter. For the year, Gurley is averaging 100.6 yds/g as he has tallied 704 yards on 116 attempts. Against #7 Auburn, Gurley complemented his 79 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries (5.3 avg.) with a career-high 10 catches for 77 yards. This is the most catches for a Bulldog since Mohamed Massaquoi hauled in 11 versus Georgia Tech in 2011.
2012 Game-By-Game (Attempts-Yards-Touchdowns)
2013 Game-By-Game (Attempts-Yards-Touchdowns)
Big Guys Up Front
Georgia's starting unit for the offensive line for the last three games has been: senior Kenarious Gates at LT, senior Chris Burnette at RG, senior Dallas Lee at LG, junior David Andrews at C and sophomore John Theus at RT. The unit has kept the Bulldogs at No. 5 in the SEC in total offense (483.9/g). Burnette was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the Tennessee game after grading out at 82 percent with six dominator blocks and four knockdowns. Georgia's offensive line has surrendered just six sacks in the last eight games after allowing six in the first two contests.
Here's a look at Georgia's offensive production this year:
Targeting An Assortment Of Receivers
One of the keys to Aaron Murray's success has been his passing efficiency, and his ability to spread the ball around. Georgia has had a different leading receiver in six of its 10 games this year. In the Bulldogs' win over Appalachian State, 13 different receivers had receptions. The matchup with Tennessee proved to be especially costly for the receiving corps. During the contest, the Bulldogs lost redshirt sophomore SE Justin Scott-Wesley (ACL) and junior SE Michael Bennett to right knee injuries. Against Vanderbilt, junior Chris Conley sustained an ankle injury in the game's final play and did not play against Florida and the Mountaineers. Conley leads the team with 32 receptions for 442 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bulldogs turned to their theme "Next man up" as senior FLK Rantavious Wooten led the team with a career-high six catches for two scores against the Volunteers. Against the Mountaineers, he posted the first 100-yard game of his career after finishing with four catches for 104 yards and a score. Wooten added another five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown against #7 Auburn. Prior to the Tennessee game, Wooten had just two catches for 46 yards this year. He has now caught at least one touchdown in five consecutive seasons. In 2011, he got a medical redshirt following three games after he sustained a concussion in a car accident.
In the third straight victory over the Gators, Bennett returned to action after missing two games and led the team with five catches for 59 yards. Bennett again led the Bulldogs against Appalachian State with five catches for 87 yards and his second touchdown of the year.
Also in the win over the Mountaineers, junior Jonathon Rumph hauled in his first career catch and completed the game with four catches for 98 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.
One of the team's receiving leaders last year, Malcolm Mitchell, went down with an ACL injury against #8 Clemson and was lost for the year.
Georgia ranks second in the league in passing offense (309.4/g) and Kentucky is sixth in the SEC in passing defense (218.7/g). The Wildcats are last in the SEC in interceptions with just one through 10 games. Georgia is 13th in that category with four picks on the year.
In Defense Of The Defense
Although Georgia ranks 11th in the SEC in Scoring Defense at 30.2 points a game, the Bulldogs have surrendered four TDs on Special Teams this year. Also, miscues on Offense and other Special Teams mistakes have resulted in eight additional TD-Drives that have covered 36 yards or less. Also, the Bulldogs gave up a safety to the Gators and the ensuing kickoff resulted in a 50-yard touchdown drive and a two-point conversion.
Georgia has executed a fake punt at #8 Clemson and a successful onside kick in the win over #6 South Carolina.
Results After Turnovers Gave Opponent A Short Field
Linebacker Duo Leading The Defense
Junior ILB Ramik Wilson leads the SEC in tackles with 110 (11.0/g). Wilson's best career performance came against in the road loss to #7 Auburn. The Tampa, Fla., native racked up 18 stops, including a sack and two tackles for loss. His partner on the inside, junior Amarlo Herrera, ranks second in the SEC with 91 stops (9.1/g). Herrera also collected his first interception of the year (second of his career) against Appalachian State. There have been two Bulldogs to lead the SEC in tackles (Whit Marshall, 1995, 128; Rennie Curran, 2009, 130).
Newcomer OLB Leonard Floyd is another playmaker as he leads all SEC freshmen with 5.5 sacks. Floyd blocked his first field goal versus #7 Auburn. He has 37 tackles so far. Sophomore OLB Jordan Jenkins, who leads the team with 10 for tackles for loss, complemented his three tackles against Appalachian State with a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery.
Sacking The Opposition
Georgia ranks second in the SEC with 28 sacks on the season, including 23 in the last seven games. Senior N Garrison Smith exploded for 2.5 sacks against the Gators during a career performance that featured nine stops. Smith DEFENSE had 1.5 sacks on the year coming into the Florida game and only one in his first three years. For his effort, Smith was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for the second time in his career (Georgia Tech, 2011).
Matthews Returns To The Fold
True freshman Tray Matthews (FS) returned to the starting lineup versus #7 Auburn following a hamstring injury that kept him out of four games. The Newnan native responded with a career-high 12 tackles against Auburn. Fellow true freshman Quincy Mauger had gotten the last five starts at FS. Shaq Wiggins (CB), another first-year defender, has started the last six games, giving the Bulldogs five different starting lineup in the defensive backfield this year.
Wiggins made his first career interception a memorable one, returning it 39 yards for a touchdown at Vanderbilt. It marked only the second INT of the year for Georgia and gave the Bulldogs a 17-14 lead with 6:24 left in the first half.
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 53 tackles.
Stout Opposition For The Bulldogs
Five of Georgia's opponents this season have been eighth-ranked Clemson, sixth-ranked South Carolina, sixth-ranked LSU, 25th-ranked Missouri and seventh-ranked Auburn and the Bulldogs went 2-3 against these ranked squads.
Did You Know?
The Bulldogs held Missouri scoreless in the third period, marking the first quarter all year that the Tigers had not scored (broke a 22-quarter streak).
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.
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 13 new starters on defense including seven 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.
Third Down Stops
The Bulldogs are 10th in the SEC in the category allowing opponents to convert on third down 41 percent of the time. The Wildcats defense ranks 13th in opponent third down conversions at 43 percent. Offensively, Georgia ranks ninth in the SEC, also with a 41 percent success rate on third down conversions. Kentucky is 14th in third down conversions at 30.9.
Smith, Drew Anchoring Defensive Front
Georgia's leading trio up-front has featured senior Garrison Smith, redshirt sophomores Chris Mayes and Sterling Bailey and junior Ray Drew. Smith leads this group and is third on the team with 51 tackles after setting a career high with nine in the win over Florida. Against the Vols, Drew rose to the occasion with five tackles, including a career-high two sacks, before adding another two sacks against #25 Missouri. Drew came into the year with 0.5 sacks and now has six this season.
Redshirt sophomore N Chris Mayes has seen more action of late, starting the last four games, and posted a career-high six tackles against Vanderbilt.
SPECIAL TEAMS AT A GLANCE
A Look At The Specialists
Morgan is No. 2 in the SEC in scoring average at 9.8 pts/game and has been named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award and the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week three times this year. He is 15-for-17 on field goal attempts this year (misses were from 52 vs. North Texas, 39 @ Tennessee), including a career-long 56-yarder that is tied for the nation's longest in 2013. His 56-yarder versus Tennessee this year is the longest since Morgan drilled a 55-yarder in the win over #6 LSU. It is the longest FG for the Bulldogs since Blair Walsh kicked a 56-yarder versus Buffalo in 2011 and the longest on the road in school history. Morgan then won the UT game with a 42-yarder in overtime. It marked the first game-winner by a Bulldog since 2009 (Walsh, 37 yds., ASU).
Morgan scored a career-high 14 points, including his 55-yarder, in the win over LSU as he connected with three field goals and 5 PATs. He is one of four Bulldogs to make FGs of 55 or longer twice in a season. Morgan joins Rex Robinson (1980), Kevin Butler (1984) and Brandon Coutu (2005). Morgan is 4-for-7 in his career from 50 yards or longer.
Sophomore Patrick Beless filled in for Morgan in the first two contests this year and was 10-for-10 on PATs and 2-for-2 on FGs (both versus #6 South Carolina) during the first two games. He was lined up to attempt another 19- yard field goal against #8 Clemson, but a high snap caused a fumble and loss of six yards.
Barber ranks fifth in the SEC in punting at 44.1 on 29 punts. He also ran five yards for a first down on a fake punt from the Georgia 34 yard line at #6 Clemson. Barber returned to average 49.8/yds on five punts against North Texas, including a career-long 61 yarder. In the Tennessee game, a blocked punt led to a touchdown and he sustained a concussion on the play. Junior Adam Erickson finished the game as punter. Erickson punted twice against No. 25 Missouri for a 40.5 average while Barber's two averaged 32.0 yards. Redshirt sophomore Nathan Theus has assumed the role as the Bulldogs' snapper this season.
The Return Men
Six Bulldogs have returned kicks this year for an average of 16.2/yds, including the longest by Sheldon Dawson for 29 yards against Florida. True freshman Reggie Davis has four returns for 69 yards. In the punt return game, junior CB Damian Swann has nine returns for 28 yards while Davis has nine for 44 yards.
Did You Know?
Georgia is one of only two teams since after the 2000 season to beat two top-10 teams in a season before Oct. 1, according to ESPN citing the Elias Sports Bureau. Alabama in 2008 was the other.
In fact, Georgia's 44-41 victory over No. 6 LSU marked the first time in school history that the Bulldogs have posted two wins over top-10 teams in Sanford Stadium in the same season.
Bulldog Depth Tested Every Week
Georgia's athletic training staff has been working overtime to keep the Bulldogs as close to full strength as possible while younger, inexperienced players are getting a shot for an increased role due to injuries to the veterans. Numerous key Bulldogs have missed games, gotten hurt during games and a few have been sidelined for the season. Twelve Bulldog starters have missed game time because of injuries and three on offense are out for 2013.
Out For The Year
NFL Picks Record Eight Bulldogs
Georgia tied a school record with eight Bulldogs selected during the 2013 NFL Draft. This equaled Georgia's tally in 2002. Unlike 2002 where Charles Grant was the sole first rounder, the Bulldogs had a pair of first round picks in Jarvis Jones (Pittsburgh Steelers - 17th) and Alec Ogletree (St. Louis Rams - 30th). Georgia had the fifth-most players in the nation selected in the 2013 Draft.
The Bulldogs have 35 players on the active NFL rosters. In addition, Georgia has six players who are either on the injured-reserve or practice squads and five who play in the Canadian Football League.
The Bulldogs have played 14 true freshman this season. Seven of those have started (FS Tray Matthews, CB Brendan Langley, OLB Leonard Floyd, FS Quincy Mauger, CB Shaq Wiggins, ILB Reggie Carter, TB J.J. Green). Ten of the 14 true freshmen play defense.
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