Leonard Floyd recorded two sacks in Georgia's 45-21 victory over North Texas
Sept. 21, 2013
ATHENS, Ga.----After being criticized often in No. 9 Georgia’s first two games the Bulldogs’ (2-1, 1-0 SEC) defense had a point to make in Saturday’s 45-21 defeat of North Texas. While the score may not reflect the Bulldogs defensive dominance a deeper look in the statistics shows how impressive Georgia was.
The Bulldog D conceded just seven points while giving up only 245 yards including just seven yard rushing. The Bulldog also collected their first interception of the year when freshman safety Tray Matthews picked off Mean Green quarterback Derek Thompson in the third quarter.
“Coach Richt and Coach Grantham preach to us about not taking any team lightly,” Matthews said. “We knew they were a good team. We knew we were in for a good fight. They started off well and we knew they were good.”
Two of North Texas’ touchdowns came on special teams’ plays as it returned a kickoff for a touchdown and returned a blocked punt for a score. Of the 14 offensive possessions the Mean Green had, Georgia forced them to punt 10 times, forced two turnovers, and gave up one touchdown. The final North Texas possession saw the clock expire in the second half.
Freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd recorded his first career sack in the first quarter before going on to double his career total later in the same quarter. Floyd finished with six total tackles, and the two sacks for a total of 17 lost yards.
“It felt great,” Floyd said. “I just came in and at the first snap I just said ‘I’m going to go all out every play’ and I just happened to get two sacks and make some plays. It felt great. We’re coming in every week working hard and getting into the playbook and the performing on the field. We’re getting better every week.”
This fact is born out in the improvements in both yardage and points given up by the Georgia defense. In Georgia’s season opener against Clemson, the Bulldogs gave up 38 points and 467 yard, in the SEC opening defeat of South Carolina, Georgia gave up 30 points and 454 yards of total offense. Saturday marks a stark improvement for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s unit.
Head coach Mark Richt praised the defensive side of the ball for its role in the Bulldogs victory.
“I think the biggest key in the game was the defense and how well they played,” Richt said. “Overall the defense stepped up and played well.
The Georgia defense will be tested when it welcomes No. 6 LSU into Sanford Stadium next Saturday. The game will kick-off at 3.30 and will be televised live on CBS.