Georgia Earns Come-From-Behind Win Over Georgia Tech, 41-34
Nov. 25, 2013
Game 12: Georgia (7-4, 5-3 SEC) vs. Georgia Tech (7-4, 5-3 ACC)
The Class of 2013 enters the Georgia Tech game with a four-year record of 35-17, including 3-0 against the Yellow Jackets. The 2013 team had visions of greatness but have dropped three nail-biters on the road and have been victimized by an inordinate number of injuries. Senior QB Aaron Murray, who is the SEC's all-time passing leader, is the latest Bulldog to go down with an injury after tearing the ACL in his left knee during the win over Kentucky. Three of Georgia's four losses this season have come on the road, falling by three, four and five points, respectively.
Consistency at QB Position
During Mark Richt's tenure at UGA that began in 2001 and has covered 169 games, the Bulldogs have been fortunate to have a steady signal-caller. This week's Georgia Tech game will be only the third time in the past 13 seasons that Georgia will have a change at quarterback due to an injury.
From 2001-04, the Bulldogs had the luxury of David Greene running things as he started a school record 52 consecutive games as a quarterback. Next, senior D.J. Shockley took over in 2005 and started the first seven games before a sprained knee caused him to miss the Florida game. Senior Joe Tereshinski became the first Bulldog QB under Richt to get the nod because the starter was sidelined due to injury.
The 2006 season saw Georgia play two additional quarterbacks after starter Tereshinki went down with an ankle injury during the second game of the year against South Carolina. True freshman Matt Stafford filled in as the starter against UAB and Colorado. After redshirt freshman Joe Cox came off the bench and rallied the Bulldogs to a victory over the Buffaloes in the fourth quarter, Richt gave Cox his first career start at Ole Miss. However, Stafford wound up leading the Bulldogs to a win in the second half against the Rebels. With Tereshinski healthy by week six, he reclaimed his spot and made two more starts that year before Richt opted to go with Stafford for the remainder of the year. Stafford maintained the starting the job the rest of his career, starting all 13 games in 2007 and 2008 and was the first overall pick in the NFL draft. In 2009, Cox started all 13 games, and in 2010, the Aaron Murray era began.
Georgia now will see redshirt junior Hutson Mason make his first career start as Murray's Bulldog career ended due his injury. Incidentally, Murray's career starting streak matched Greene's at 52. The last Bulldog who happened to make his first career start against Georgia Tech was true freshman Joe Dupree in 1990.
Starting Debut by Bulldog Backup QBs Under Richt
2005: Joe Tereshinski vs. #16 Florida in Jacksonville. Gators win 14-10 Tereshinski goes 8-for-21, 100 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 1 TD reception; OUT: D.J. Shockley (sprained knee) 2006: Matt Stafford vs. UAB in Athens. Bulldogs win 34-0 Stafford goes 10-for-17, 100 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INT, 1 TD rushing; OUT: Joe Tereshinski (sprained ankle) 2006: Joe Cox vs. Ole Miss in Oxford. Bulldogs win 14-9 Cox goes 4-for-10, 24 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INT in first half before being replaced by Stafford in the second half; OUT: Matt Stafford (coach decision) Cox rewarded with a start after leading fourth quarter comeback over Colorado in Athens.
Under the direction of Mark Richt, Georgia owns a 51-9 record against teams from outside the Southeastern Conference, including 36-1 at home. The Bulldogs topped North Texas 45-21, beat Appalachian State 45-6 and opened the year losing a shootout at #8 Clemson 38-35.
Pouring On The Points
Georgia enters Saturday's game averaging 37.9 points/game while Georgia Tech is at 36.8. In Scoring Defense, the Bulldogs have allowed 29 points/ game and the Yellow Jackets are giving up 21 points. Georgia has scored 417 points this year while Georgia Tech has tallied 405.
The Bulldogs are minus-seven in turnover margin this year, which is 13th in the SEC. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech is 13th in the ACC at minus-5. Last time out, the Bulldogs gave up one interception and fumbled once during the win over Kentucky. They forced four fumbles and recovered three of them. The Yellow Jackets had an interception and recovered a pair of fumbles against Alabama A&M, who did not force any turnovers.
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.
SEC Tackle Leader On Display
Bulldog junior ILBs Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera have been among the SEC leaders in tackles all year. Currently, Wilson leads the league with 119 (10.8/g). Wilson has led the team in tackles eight 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. Wilson had a total of 10 tackles in 18 games over his first two seasons. Herrera posted 12 tackles against both #6 South Carolina and the Tigers. Herrera is fourth in the SEC with 95 overall stops (8.6/g).
There have been two Bulldogs to lead the SEC in tackles (Whit Marshall, 1995, 128; Rennie Curran, 2009, 130).
Mason Moves Into Starting Role
Junior QB Hutson Mason will make his first career start on Saturday in Atlanta due to the season-ending injury to senior QB Aaron Murray. For the year, Mason has appeared in three games and is 24-for-35 for 349 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He started the second half in last week's rout of Kentucky and finished 13-of-19 for 189 yards and a touchdown pass and added his second career rushing touchdown.
Mason relieved Murray for the fourth quarter of the Appalachian State game and finished 11-for-16 for a then 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.
In 2012, Mason made the decision to redshirt to create a one-year difference in eligibility with Murray. Redshirt freshman Faton Bauta now moves into the backup role after seeing his first significant action of his career last week in the fourth quarter against the Wildcats. Bauta has not attempted a pass in his career, but has three rushes for 29 yards.
Noteworthy Starting Debut by Bulldog Backup QBs
2000: Cory Phillips at Kentucky. Georgia wins 34-30. The Bulldogs trailed 13-0 in the second quarter before Phillips, a junior from Hartwell, Ga., heated up. He finished 20-for-38 for 400 yards and tied a school record with four TD passes for a win. He earned USA Today.com National Player of the Week honors. Phillips was playing for the injured Quincy Carter (shoulder).
The next week, Carter returned to start against Florida before getting injured again and Phillips finished out the year as the starter. The Georgia Tech game was his fourth career start and he is the last Bulldog backup to start against the Yellow Jackets. 1986: Wayne Johnson at #8 Auburn. Georgia wins 20-16 ("Between the Hoses")
With starter James Jackson at a family funeral and when it became apparent he would not make kickoff, Johnson, a sophomore from Columbus, Ga., learned he would be starting during pregame warmups. He went 6-for-7 for 59 yards, 1 TD and rushed for a TD to lead the Bulldogs to an upset and cost the 8-1 Tigers a shot at an SEC title which LSU ended up winning. Georgia fans celebrated on the field and in the stands and refused to leave the stadium in a timely manner and ultimately Auburn turned on the water hoses to help encourage the Bulldog faithful to leave.
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). Before sustaining his injury and missing the three games, Gurley had five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Since coming back, the Tarboro, N.C., has recorded 21 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns. He finished his latest game against Kentucky with five catches for team-high 90 yards and two touchdowns to go with eight carries for 77 yards (9.6 average). Before his injury in #6 LSU game, Gurley had eight carries for 73 yards (9.1 avg.) before leaving early in the second quarter. For the year, Gurley is averaging 197.6 yds/g as he has tallied 781 yards on 124 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 wideout 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 four 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. 3 in the SEC in total offense (494.6/g). Georgia's offensive line has surrendered just seven sacks in the last nine games after allowing six in the first two contests.
For the second time this season, Georgia had more than 600 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs churned up 602 yards against Kentucky as they scored a season-high 59 points. It was the most points since Georgia beat New Mexico State 63-16 in 2011.
Targeting An Assortment Of Receivers
One of the keys to the offense's success has been its passing efficiency, and the ability to spread the ball around. Georgia has had a different leading receiver in seven of its 11 games this year. In the Bulldogs' win over Appalachian State, 13 different receivers had receptions and Georgia followed that up with 11 different receivers catching balls against Kentucky.
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 returned against #7 Auburn and remains the team leader with 35 receptions for 476 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.
More On The Receivers
Also in the win over Appalachian State, junior Jonathon Rumph hauled in his first career catch and completed the game with four catches for 98 yards. Senior Rhett McGowan led the charge against Kentucky, finishing with seven catches for a career-high 90 yards and a touchdown. McGowan has 19 catches for 224 yards.
True freshman Reggie Davis caught a 98-yard touchdown strike from Aaron 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.
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 59 carries for 363 yards and three touchdowns while Douglas' numbers are at 77-331-3.
Murray Goes Out With Four SEC and 27 UGA Records
Senior QB Aaron Murray set four SEC career records (TD Passes, Total Offense, Passing Yards, Completions) in his final season as a Bulldog before sustaining a season-ending knee injury against Kentucky on Nov. 23. In his 35 wins as a starter, Murray had 95 TDs to just 20 INTs. In addition to TD Passes, Total Offense, Passing Yards and Completions, Murray is also the SEC's leading player in TD Responsibility (137). His 13,166 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:
Aaron Murray Record Review
4 SEC Career Records
In Defense Of The Defense
Although Georgia ranks 10th in the SEC in Scoring Defense at 29.0 points a game, the Bulldogs have surrendered four TDs on Special Teams this year. Miscues on Offense and other Special Teams mistakes have resulted in eight additional TD-Drives that have covered 36 yards or less. Plus, 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 119 (10.8/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 fourth in the SEC with 95 stops (8.6/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 6.5 sacks. Floyd blocked his first field goal versus #7 Auburn. He has 41 tackles so far. Sophomore OLB Jordan Jenkins, who shares the team lead with Wilson with 10 for tackles for loss, complemented his three tackles against Appalachian State with a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery. He also recovered his second fumble of the year against Kentucky.
DEFENSE Sacking The Opposition
Georgia ranks second in the SEC with 32 sacks on the season, trailing only Missouri who has 35. Senior N Garrison Smith exploded for 2.5 sacks against the Gators during a career performance that featured nine stops. Smith then added another pair of sacks (3 TFLs) against Kentucky. He had 1.5 sacks on the year coming into the Florida game and only one in his first three years. For his effort versus the Florida, Smith was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for the second time in his career (Georgia Tech, 2011).
Smith 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 fourth on the team with 58 tackles after setting a career high with nine in the win over Florida. Smith saved perhaps his greatest performance in Sanford Stadium for his final game between the hedges and was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for the second time in 2013. The 6-3, 299-pound DE posted seven tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles in the win over Kentucky.
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 started the last five games, and posted a career-high six tackles against Vanderbilt.
Harvey-Clemons Rises To The Occasion Vs. Wildcats
Following Smith's lead, Bulldog sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons also had one of his most impressive performances of his career against Kentucky. The Valdosta native had six stops, including two tackles for loss, recovered a pair of fumbles and even caused one of those fumbles. Harvey-Clemons is tied for the SEC lead with three fumble recoveries.
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 59 tackles.
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 seven games, giving the Bulldogs five different starting lineups 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.
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-kicke
SPECIAL TEAMS AT A GLANCE
A Look At The Specialists
Morgan leads the SEC in scoring average at 9.9 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 16-for-18 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 fourth 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
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. Thirteen Bulldog starters have missed time because of injuries (four on offense have been lost during the 2013 season).
Out For The Year
Malcolm Mitchell, FLK (ACL), Hurt in 1st quarter of Clemson game
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 nationally selected in the 2013 Draft. The Bulldogs have 38 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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