Georgia vs. Ole Miss - Game Notes
Oct. 29, 2012
Game 9: Georgia (7-1, 5-1 SEC) vs. Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2 SEC)
The State Of The Dogs
The Georgia Bulldogs return home Saturday after a month on the road and now are back in control of the SEC Eastern Division race. When the Bulldogs last played in Sanford Stadium, Georgia was 5-0 following its shootout over Tennessee. The trip to sixth-ranked South Carolina knocked Georgia out of first place in the East, however wins over Kentucky and a crushing defeat of previously unbeaten Florida in Jacksonville have Georgia back on top in the division. If Georgia can win Saturday versus Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2 SEC) and then take care of Auburn (1-7, 0-6 SEC) on the Plains next week, the Bulldogs will claim their second straight Eastern Division title and play in the Georgia Dome for the 2012 SEC title on Dec. 1.
Georgia will celebrate Homecoming Saturday by playing host to an improving Ole Miss squad that is riding a two-game winning streak after beating Auburn and Arkansas. The Rebels are averaging 32.4 points a game and allowing 26.6.
Series History With Ole Miss
Georgia owns a 31-12-1 edge in the series history including winning the past nine meetings. The Rebels last win in the series came in 1996, a 31-27 decision in Athens. The teams met annually from 1997- 2002 and then not again until 2006-2007 and most recently last year in Oxford. The Bulldogs are 17-4-1 against the Rebels in Athens and Sanford Stadium. Georgia beat Ole Miss 45-17 the last time the teams met in Athens in 2007.
2011 Flashback: Bulldogs Cruise To 27-13 Road Win
Georgia tallied 475 yards of total offense and blanked Ole Miss in the second half to post its first conference road win of the year. Aaron Murray was 17-for-26 for 268 yards and two touchdowns to pace the offense while linebackers Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera combined for 13 tackles.
Since 1922, Georgia is 71-17-2 in Homecoming contests. This year, Ole Miss will be Georgia's opponent after the Bulldogs dispatched New Mexico State 63-16 last year. The Rebels have never been a Homecoming foe, however the teams have met 44 times with Georgia owning the series 31-12-1. Ole Miss will become the 10th different SEC team to serve as a Homecoming opponent in Bulldog history. CBS will televise the Bulldogs' Homecoming game for the first time since the 1997 season. That year, Georgia beat Kentucky 23-13.
The Bulldogs went 6-1 in Homecoming games at Sanford Field (1922-28) before moving to their current home in Sanford Stadium. There have been two ties on Homecoming. In 1938, Georgia and Georgia Tech played to a scoreless tie while the 1962 game between the Bulldogs and Kentucky ended at 7-all. In records dating back to 1922, Georgia has outscored its Homecoming opponents 2,332 to 1,108. Along with the game, the traditions include a Friday afternoon parade and former Redcoat Band members and UGA cheerleaders performing with the current squads during the game and at halftime. Also, a Homecoming King and Queen are crowned.
Rising To The Occasion Yet Again
For the second consecutive year, junior OLB Jarvis Jones has been named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and the SEC Defensive Player of the Week following his performance against SEC East rival Florida. This year, Jones erupted for a career-high 13 tackles (12 solo), including 4.5 tackles for loss of 24 yards and three sacks. The Columbus native also forced a pair of fumbles and recovered two fumbles as the Bulldogs held the #3 Gators to no touchdowns and forced six turnovers. He had five tackles and four sacks versus Florida in 2011.
For his career, Jones has 22 career sacks in 20 games during his two seasons with the Bulldogs and is the active career leader in the NCAA FBS with an average of 1.1 sacks/game. This is the third time he has earned Walter Camp Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week honors (vs. Florida, 2011; @ Missouri, vs. Florida, 2012).
Freshmen On The Field
Georgia is in the top six teams nationally as far as how many true freshmen have played in 2012. The Bulldogs are tied for sixth with 13 true freshmen who have taken the field this year. Georgia has also had nine redshirt freshmen see their first action in 2012.
Did You Know?
True freshman TB Todd Gurley became the first running back to rush for more than 100 yards against Florida this season. In Georgia's 17-9 win over the #3 Gators, Gurley had 118 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 27 carries to go along with two catches for 23 yards to give him 141 all-purpose yards on the day.
The Bulldogs rank ninth nationally forcing 39 3-and-outs this season. That is an average of 4.88/game.
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 sevenround draft behind the eight taken in 2002. Georgia had 35 former players on active NFL rosters when teams set their 53-man squads.
Murray Directs Bulldog Offense Versus Rebels
Junior QB Aaron Murray is one of the nation's elite at his position and was recently named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career following his performance at Kentucky. The Tampa, Fla., native has also been named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award recently. 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 23 wins as a starter, Murray has 56 TDs to just 15 INTs. Murray is the SEC's leading active player in total offensive yards (8,513), completions (589), TD responsibility (86, which is tied for 6th in SEC history with Eli Manning), TD passes (76, which is 9th in SEC history) and passing yards (8,262).
Murray tossed his school record 76th touchdown pass of his career to lead Georgia to a 17-9 upset of #3 Florida in his home state. He had a school record-setting performance in the road win over Kentucky. He finished with the best completion percentage in a game (30-of-38, 79 percent) and a career-high 427 passing yards and four touchdowns. Another example of his efficiency came against Vanderbilt this year as he started the 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.
Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Active Career Leaders List
TD Passes: 4. Aaron Murray, 76 (1. M. Barkley, USC; L. Jones, OU 105)
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. The unit did not give up any sacks versus #3 Florida and helped give the Bulldogs their sixth 100-yard rusher in 2012, and the first that the Gators had allowed this year. 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 OT since Trinton Sturdivant in 2007. In the last three games, sophomore Mark Beard has seen some action at LT when Gates has moved to LG.
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 four contests. On defense, he has recorded 12 tackles while on offense, the Valdosta native has hauled in 23 catches for 303 yards and a touchdown.
Mitchell led the team against the Gators with five catches for 74 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown reception to clinch the victory. He was coming off a nine-catch performance at Kentucky as he posted the second 100-yard game of his career with 103 yards.
Mitchell is a regular on special teams. He has nine kickoff returns for 196 yards, including a 48-yard return versus #6 South Carolina, and seven punt returns for 33 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.
Assortment Of Dangerous Targets
Georgia has had four different 100-yard receivers in five games this season as junior Aaron Murray likes to spread the ball around. The Bulldogs leaders in the corps are seniors Tavarres King and Marlon Brown and sophomore Malcolm Mitchell. Georgia lost redshirt sophomore Michael Bennett (24 rec., 345 yds., 4 TDs) after he tore his ACL the week of the South Carolina game.
Mitchell led the attack in the upset of #3 Florida after hauling in five catches for 74 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown reception to clinch the win. He finished with a career-high nine receptions for 103 yards at Kentucky the week before.
King was Georgia's other 100-yard receiver in the win over the Wildcats with a career-high nine catches for a game-high 188 yards two TDs. This was the first time since the 2010 Florida game when the Bulldogs had two 100-yard receivers in a game. That year, Orson Charles (108) and King (104) did it. King was named the National Wide Receiver of the Week by CollegeFootballPerformanceAwards after the Kentucky game. This marked his fifth career 100-yard game and his second this season. King, who has 26 catches for 511 yards, leads the team with five TD catches this season and has 17 in his career, which is fifth in school history. Already having graduated in Social Studies Education, he is No. 2 out of active players in the SEC in receiving yards (2,163), tied for second in TD receptions (17) and fourth in receptions (120).
Brown has also made an impact for the Bulldogs' aerial attack. 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.
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.
Gurley became the first player this season to rush for more than 100 yards against #3 Florida after he went for 118 and a touchdown. Against Tennessee, he and Marshall 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 is second in the SEC in Scoring (66 pts.) and in All-Purpose Ydg. Per Game (130.0) and is third in Rushing Ydg. Per Game (92.5). 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.
Best Season By UGA Freshmen Duos That Shared The Load
2012 Game-By-Game (Attempts-Yards-Touchdowns)
DEFENSE & SPECIAL TEAMS
Georgia has made key second-half adjustments as opponents have scored just 64 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. Most recently, #3 Florida was held to a field goal. In fact in the 17-9 win, the Gators' points came from three field goals, which marked the first time since 1988 that Florida failed to score a touchdown against the Bulldogs. Georgia forced turnovers on the Volunteers' final three possessions in the 51-44 win. The Bulldog defense forced the Gators into six turnovers after Florida entered the game with just four turnovers on the year. In the first quarter, the Gators ran 16 plays and managed just 26 yards and one first down. Only one of Florida's three field goals came on a drive that measured longer than 11 yards. The Gators' first field goal came on a 15-play, 70-yard drive. The other two came off of Bulldog turnovers with one being a fourplay, 6-yard drive and one being a five-play, 10-yard drive.
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 22 career sacks in two seasons at Georgia. He is the current NCAA active career leader in sacks per game at 1.1. This season, he has 49 tackles, including 8.5 sacks and 14.0 tackles for loss, one interception, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, despite not playing versus Florida Atlantic (groin) and Kentucky (ankle). Jones has earned multiple national player of the week honors for his dominating performances at Missouri and versus #3 Florida and recently has been named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, which is an honor he was a finalist for in 2011. 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.
True freshman Jordan Jenkins has started the last two games for Georgia at the other OLB spot. 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. Jenkins made three starts this year (FAU, UK, #3 UF).
Ogletree & Rambo Return To Form
All-American safety Bacarri Rambo paced the secondary versus the Gators with five tackles, including a sack, and his first interception of the year. He now has 14 INTs in his career, which ranks second in school history. Rambo was second nationally in 2011 with an SEC-best eight picks. 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.
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 second on the team with 56 tackles, just one behind senior safety Shawn Williams (57). Herrera tallied a career-high 11 tackles at #6 South Carolina after registering a career-high 10 stops at Missouri. He added a 35- yard interception return for a touchdown during the 56-20 win over Florida Atlantic.
A Closer Look At The Secondary
Georgia's recent opponents, #6 South Carolina, Kentucky and #3 Florida, have focused on running the ball. The Gamecocks finished with 230 yards on the ground with only 162 through the air. Meanwhile, the Wildcats tallied 206 yards rushing and only 123 yards passing. The Gators were limited to 81 yards rushing and 185 yards through the air.
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. Commings also helped preserve the win over the Gators after pouncing on a fumble in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Sophomore CB Damian Swann has two interceptions on the year, one against Tennessee and another versus #3 Florida, and 36 tackles. His pick against the Gators led to a field goal. He also forced a fumble on the third play of the game with his first career sack. The Bulldogs converted that turnover into a touchdown.
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 junior Garrison Smith (6-3, 297) and Cornelius Washington (6-4, 268) at the DE spots. Jones missed most of the Kentucky game and the Florida game with an ankle injury. Geathers came off the bench to equal his career high with four tackles at Kentucky, including his first career sack and two tackles for loss. Also, Geathers blocked a PAT against Florida Atlantic to add to the frontline's threat. Jenkins had a standout 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. Smith leads this group with 28 tackles.
True Freshmen Specialists
Punter Collin Barber of Cartersville, Ga., and place-kicker 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 50 points on the year. He has hit 6-of-8 field goals (including hitting both from 50+) and connected on 32-of-36 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 39.4 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.
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. Recently, sophomore Malcolm Mitchell has been the kickoff returner (9-for-196, 21.8 average).
Georgia's primary punt returner now is junior Rhett McGowan. He has five returns for 61 yards and is one of four Bulldogs to return punts this season along with Mitchell.
Two regulars on offense who have made significant contributions on special teams are senior running back Richard Samuel and sophomore FLK Chris Conley. 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. Conley blocked a Buffalo punt to set up a 35-yard field goal. Conley had one catch versus Kentucky that resulted in a touchdown.
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