Georgia vs. Kentucky - Game Notes
Oct. 15, 2012
Game 7: #13 Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) @ Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC)
A Glance At The Georgia-Kentucky Series History
Saturday marks the 66th meeting overall with the Wildcats, and Georgia holds a 51-12-2 edge in the series history. The Bulldogs lead 24-7 in Lexington and 15-4 in Commonwealth Stadium. Georgia won 44- 31 in its last trip to Kentucky in 2010. Georgia had a nine-year stretch of success (1997-2005) versus the Wildcats before Kentucky snapped the streak with a 24-20 win in Lexington. The Wildcats' last victory over the Bulldogs came in 2009 with a 34-27 victory in Athens.
Returning From An Open Date
The Bulldogs are 13-4 under Mark Richt following an open date. However, Georgia has not had an open date before the Kentucky game since Richt took over in 2001. Last season, the Bulldogs took a weekend off before topping Florida 24-20 in Jacksonville. Georgia had one of its later open dates on Nov. 20 in 2010 and returned to action with a 42-34 victory over Georgia Tech.
The State Of Big Blue
The Wildcats, however, do not have their open date until Nov. 10. Kentucky has lost its last five games and is 1-6 overall this season with its only victory coming over Kent State (47-14) on Sept. 8. While the Bulldogs rank third in the SEC in Rushing Offense (226.5/g), the Wildcats are last in the category as they have only been able to pile up 106.9 yards a game on the ground this season. Georgia's Scoring Defense ranking slipped to eighth (24.2 pts./g) after #6 South Carolina managed 35 points on them in the Bulldogs' last action. But Kentucky is allowing an SEC-high 32.9 points a game through its seven contests.
FLASHBACK TO 2011: Georgia 19, Kentucky 10
Georgia ran its win streak to nine in a row and clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game with its 19-10 win over Kentucky in Athens. The teams traded field goals on the first two possessions of the game. With just over 4:00 left in the first quarter, Branden Smith picked off Maxwell Smith and returned it 57 yards. It set up another Blair Walsh field goal for a 6-3 lead. Kentucky took a 10-6 lead six plays after a Bulldog turnover on the Georgia 27-yard line. Georgia managed just four field goals in the second half to take a slim 12-10 lead. The Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown of the game after a Wildcat turnover. Jarvis Jones forced a fumble which Christian Robinson recovered. The scoring play featured a seven-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Marlon Brown. Georgia blanked Kentucky in the second half, limiting the Wildcats to 13 yards on 22 plays. For the game, the Bulldog defense had five sacks, including 2.5 by Jones.
Points To Ponder
At 41.3 points a game, Georgia is on pace to set a school record for scoring in a season. In 1946, Georgia averaged an SEC-best 37.2 points a game when it was a 10-game season. The modern mark for the Bulldogs is 32.1 set in 2002 when they led the SEC, scoring 450 points in 14 games, going 13-1 and winning SEC and Sugar Bowl titles.
This season, Georgia scored 40-plus points in its first five games for the first time in school history. After piling up a school record 713 yards of total offense in the win over Florida Atlantic, the Bulldogs followed up that performance with 567 yards versus the Commodores and 560 against Tennessee. Georgia scored 51 points in the first three quarters in its latest win over Tennessee.
The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 241-110. Georgia has scored a touchdown on its opening possession in its four home games this year, but not in the road contests versus Missouri and #6 South Carolina. In its last game, the Bulldogs were held to seven points by the Gamecocks as their defense ranks second in the SEC (12.3 pts./g). South Carolina has allowed eight touchdowns this season.
True Freshman Captain
True freshman safety Josh Harvey-Clemons joined senior N John Jenkins, senior DE Abry Jones and junior OG Chris Burnette as being named captains for the Kentucky game. Harvey-Clemons is the first true freshman to be named a game captain for the Bulldogs since LB Rennie Curran garnered the honor before the 2007 Georgia Tech game.
Bulldog head coach Mark Richt said, "It's rare that a true freshman becomes a captain, but the staff and I felt he did the best (on special teams). Every special team he was on, he excelled and had a winning grade. All of the coaches were saying how excellent he played. It is really hard to become a captain as a freshman, especially true freshman, but he earned this and I'm proud of him." Another Bulldog Named To AFCA Good Works Junior QB Aaron Murray was recently named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works team, which honors 11 FBS players nationwide for their outstanding community service record. The Bulldogs have now had three members on the AFCA team in the last four years.
Freshmen On The Field
Both Georgia and Kentucky are in the top six teams nationally as far as how many true freshmen have played in 2012. The Wildcats are ranked fifth nationally with 14 true freshmen who have played this season. The Bulldogs are tied for sixth with 13 true freshmen who have taken the field this year. Georgia has also had nine redshirt freshmen take the field for the first time during the 2012 season.
Owning The Zone
Georgia leads the SEC in scoring touchdowns when in the Red Zone. The Bulldogs have scored 19 TDs (13 rushes, 6 passes) in 23 chances for an 83 percent mark. Overall in the Red Zone, Georgia is ranked seventh in the SEC with a 87 percent mark (20-for-23).
NFL Taking Notice
Georgia had seven selections in the 2012 NFL Draft, tying Oklahoma for second best in the nation. This marked the second-most Bulldogs drafted in any seven-round draft behind the eight taken in 2002. Georgia had 35 former players on active NFL rosters when the cuts to trimmed teams down to 53 at the beginning of the professional season.
Murray Directing Bulldog Attack
Junior QB Aaron Murray is one of the nation's elite at his position. During the offseason, Murray graduated with a degree in Psychology after posting a GPA of 3.4 and is now in graduate school. In his 21 wins as a starter, Murray has 51 TDs to just 12 INTs. Murray is the SEC's leading active player in total offensive yards (7,946), completions (547), TD responsibility (80, which is 11th in SEC history), TD passes (71) and passing yards (7,685).
In the road win over Missouri, Murray tied his career high in completions with 22. Against FAU, he tallied a career-high 342 yards. Murray moved into second on the school's all-time career TD pass list with 71 after having a pair of scoring strikes versus Tennessee. He started the Vanderbilt game 12-for-12, which is No. 3 on Georgia's all-time list behind 15 (Quincy Carter vs. LSU, 1998; Eric Zeier vs. Georgia Tech, 1993), and finished 18-for-24 for 250 yards. Murray was recently named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works team, which honors 11 FBS players nationwide for their outstanding community service record.
Bulldog Record Book
Career TD Passes
Total Offense In A Career
Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Active Career Leaders List
TD Passes: 4. Aaron Murray, 71 (1. Landry Jones, OU, 102)
A Look At The Line
Georgia's starting offensive line this season has featured junior Kenarious Gates at LT, junior Chris Burnette at RG, junior Dallas Lee at LG, sophomore David Andrews at C and freshman John Theus at RT. Andrews and Theus made their first career starts versus Buffalo while Gates lined up at LT against the Bulls for the first time after having 12 previous starts at guard. Theus became the first true freshman starter at tackle since Trinton Sturdivant in 2007.
Here's a look at Georgia's offensive production this year:
*school record, tied No. 6 in SEC history; ^first time in school history that the Bulldogs scored 40+ points in five consecutive games
Malcolm In The Middle Of Everything
Sophomore Malcolm Mitchell is demonstrating his versatility this season. After sitting out the first game with an ankle injury, he started the next three games at CB and has played on offense in the last two contests. On defense, he has recorded 12 tackles while on offense, the Valdosta native has hauled in nine catches for 126 yards. Mitchell has also had four kickoff returns for 99 yards, including a 48-yard return versus #6 South Carolina, and six punt returns for 35 yards. In 2011, Mitchell lined up at SE and earned All-SEC Freshman honors after finishing with 45 catches for 665 yards and four touchdowns. Here is where Mitchell has spent his 272 snaps this season:
Defense - 178 snaps
Weapons Of Mass Reception
Georgia has had three different 100-yard receivers in four games this season. The Bulldogs are without their leading receiver redshirt sophomore SE Michael Bennett (24 rec., 345 yds., 4 TDs) after he tore his ACL the week of the South Carolina game. Georgia's top targets for the rest of the season are senior SE Marlon Brown and senior FLK Tavarres King. Brown grabbed five catches for 114 yards and a touchdown versus Vanderbilt. This marked his second 100-yard game for the season after hauling in eight balls for 106 yards and two scores at Missouri. While recording four receptions for 58 yards and a score against the Commodores, King is tied with Brown for second on the team with three TD catches. King opened the season with a 117-yard game that included a score versus Buffalo. Already having graduated in Social Studies Education, he is No. 2 out of active players in the SEC in receiving yards (1,975), fourth in receptions (111) and tied for fourth in TD receptions (15).
Gurley & Marshall = "Gurshall"
Since the legendary #34 Herschel Walker lined up in the Bulldog backfield, every tailback since then has been compared to the Heisman Trophy winner who led the Bulldogs to the 1980 national championship. This season, true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who wear No. 3 and 4 respectively, have been nicknamed 'Gurshall' by senior receiver Tavarres King.
Against Tennessee, the pair combined for 294 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Marshall averaged 16.4 yards/carry versus the Volunteers, tallying a career-best 164 yards and two touchdowns while Gurley equaled his career high with 130 yards and three scores. Gurley's longest TD run against UT covered 51 yards while Marshall's were 72 and 75 yards.
Gurley leads the SEC in Scoring (60 pts.) and All-Purpose Yardage Per Game (138.2) and is second in Kick Return Average (34.7). Gurley, a Tarboro, N.C., native, and Marshall, a Raleigh, N.C., native, are roommates. Gurley has already been named the SEC Freshman of the Week three times while Marshall has had the honor once. Gurley, Marshall and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel shared the honor the last week of September.
Most Yards Rushing By A Georgia Freshman
Best Season By UGA Freshmen Duos That Shared The Load
Recent SEC Freshmen Rushing Tandems
DEFENSE & SPECIAL TEAMS
Georgia has made excellent second-half adjustments as opponents have scored just 51 points in the second half, and one touchdown came on an interception return. The Bulldogs posted a second half shutout against Vanderbilt while Tennessee and #6 South Carolina scored 14 each in the second half. Georgia forced turnovers on the Volunteers' final three possessions in the 51-44 win.
In the Bulldogs' road game against Missouri, Georgia blanked the Tigers in the first and fourth quarters and allowed 10 points each in the second and third quarters. Missouri's two touchdown drives were courtesy of quickstrike scores of 41 and 69 yards. Both of the drives mentioned above were three plays each that were under a minute. After Georgia fell behind 17-9, the Bulldogs outscored Missouri 32-3 the rest of the way including 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
Here's a look inside the numbers for the Georgia defense this season:
SEC Sack Leader Jarvis Jones Is Back At It
Junior OLB and 2011 Butkus Award finalist Jarvis Jones gives the Bulldogs a solid foundation at linebacker with 19 career sacks in two seasons at Georgia. He is the current NCAA active career leader in sacks per game at 1.0. This season, he has 36 tackles, including 5.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, one interception and three forced fumbles, despite not playing versus Florida Atlantic (groin). Jones earned multiple national player of the week honors for his dominating performance at Missouri. A consensus All-American, he led the SEC and was tied for fifth nationally with 13.5 sacks (which was just a half sack off David Pollack's school record 14 set in 2002) last year.
Ogletree & Rambo Getting Game Ready
Junior ILB Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs with a career-high 14 tackles and a tipped pass that led to an interception versus Tennessee. It was his first action of the season and marked his fourth career game with at least 10 tackles. He followed that up with eight stops at #6 South Carolina. Meanwhile, senior All-American safety Bacarri Rambo, who also made his season debut against the Vols, was second on the team with nine stops. Rambo was second nationally in 2011 with an SEC-best eight picks.
Do You Know Amarlo?
Sophomore ILB Amarlo Herrera has burst onto the scene this season taking advantage of some playing time and posting career highs on the road. Herrera is quickly becoming well-known name throughout the Bulldog Nation as he is leading the team with 47 tackles. He tallied a career-high 11 tackles at #6 South Carolina after registering a career-high 10 stops at Missouri. Herrera added a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown during the 56-20 win over Florida Atlantic.
True freshman OLB Jordan Jenkins made his first career start with Jarvis Jones out versus FAU. He had a career day against the Commodores with a pair of sacks. Versus the Volunteers, Jenkins posted a sack and a forced fumble late in the final period with Tennessee in line for a potential game-tying drive at the Georgia 35-yard line.
A Closer Look At The Secondary
The Bulldogs' secondary was tested heavily versus Tennessee. The Volunteers featured the SEC's top passing attack, the league's leading receiver and an offensive line that had surrendered just two sacks this year. UT QB Tyler Bray finished 24-of-45 for 281 yards with one sack and was picked off three times.
Senior CB Sanders Commings had two interceptions in the final 6:00 to extinguish any Tennessee rally and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week. He is the first Bulldog since Bacarri Rambo to have a pair of picks in a game since 2011. Sophomore CB Damian Swann also recorded his first career interception in the victory over the Vols. Senior SS Shawn Williams has also been a constant for the Bulldogs and ranks second on the team in tackles with 41.
Prior to the Tennessee game, both of Georgia's interceptions had come from Bulldog linebackers. However, Georgia's secondary snagged three versus the Vols after the unit accounted for 18 of the team's 20 a year ago.
Big Guys Around The Ball
Georgia has an opposing frontline with senior N John Jenkins, a 6-3, 358-pound native of Meriden, Conn., and junior N Kwame Geathers, a 6-6, 355-pound native of Georgetown, S.C. They are flanked by seniors Abry Jones (6-3, 308) and Cornelius Washington (6-4, 268) at the DE spots. Jenkins is coming off a performance at #6 South Carolina where he had a career-high eight tackles and blocked the first field goal of his career. Versus Tennessee, he recovered a fumble late in the final period with the Volunteers attempting to tie the game. Junior DE Garrison Smith (6-3, 297) is second in the group with 20 tackles after registering six stops versus Tennessee. Jenkins leads the way with 23 tackles. Also, Geathers blocked a PAT against Florida Atlantic to add to the frontline's threat.
The Bulldogs have a pair of true freshmen specialists. P Collin Barber of Cartersville, Ga., and PK Marshall Morgan of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., have replaced a couple of Bulldogs who are currently NFL starters (Drew Butler- Pittsburgh, Blair Walsh-Minnesota). Morgan has 40 points on the year. He has hit 4-of-5 field goals (including hitting both from 50+) and connected on 28-of-31 extra points. His performance at Missouri included a 41-yard FG and a 52-yard FG, which is the second longest in the SEC this year. It also was the longest on for the Bulldogs on the road since Walsh drilled a 53 yarder in 2009 (Oklahoma State).
Barber lifted a 57-yard punt on his first try against Buffalo and is averaging 40.2 yds. this year. This season is the first since 1985 that Georgia opened with a punter and placekicker without any collegiate experience. That year, punter Cris Carpenter and placekicker Steve Crumley were redshirt freshman. Redshirt sophomore P Adam Erickson has recorded six "pooch" punts for the Bulldogs this season, averaging 35.8 yds/game. Erickson has placed four of his six attempts inside the 20-yard line.
The Return Men
Georgia has featured a couple of newcomers returning kickoffs and punts in 2012. Freshman TB Todd Gurley tied a school, SEC and NCAA record with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter versus Buffalo. Gurley leads the SEC in kickoff return average at 34.7. His record return came on the third time he touched the ball as a collegiate player. Gurley was named the College Football Performance Awards National Kickoff Returner of the Week and the SEC Freshman Player of the Week for his efforts. This was the first time the Bulldogs have had a 100-yard return since Brandon Boykin accomplished the feat versus Kentucky in 2010. Boykin had three of them in his career.
Another note in the punt return game, two regulars on offense have made significant contributions this season. Senior running back Richard Samuel thwarted Missouri's fake punt attempt in the fourth quarter. Samuel shed his block and tackled Tiger punter Trey Barrow to give the Bulldogs the ball at the Missouri 38 yard line. Sophomore FLK Chris Conley blocked a Buffalo punt to set up a 35-yard field goal. Conley's block was the 20th punt block in the Richt era.
Senior SN Ty Frix was recently named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy. This honor recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
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