Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bulldogs Wrap Up Outback Bowl Practices

FOOTBALL

Georgia football worked out for 90 minutes to wrap up their practice sessions for the Outback Bowl at the University of Tampa on Saturday morning. The 18th-ranked Dawgs will take on the 12th-ranked Michigan State Spartans in Raymond James Stadium on Monday at 1 p.m.

DSC_7372“I think we are getting where we need to be,” said coach Mark Richt prior to Saturday’s practice. “We have to solidify our game-plan mentally and we will be ready for the game.”

The Georgia defense ranks third nationally in Total Defense (268.5 ypg) and ninth in Rushing Defense (103.4 ypg) through 13 games. While the Dawgs gave up 42 points to top-ranked LSU in the SEC Championship Game, Georgia had held five straight opponents to 20 or less points before their matchup with the Tigers.

“We have made huge strides defensively in this second year under Coach Todd Grantham,” Richt said. “We have a bunch of guys who believe what’s being taught. I have had little doubt this whole year that the group would have success. And since they have had success, it has bred more confidence in the system.”

DSC_6269The Dawgs arrived in Tampa on Monday and have practiced each day as they prepare for the Spartans. Senior cornerback/return specialist Brandon Boykin said Richt and the coaching staff have readied the team for its final contest of the year.

“Coach Richt has done a great job getting us in shape since the holiday,” said Boykin, who was competing in his final practice on Saturday. “Since we are playing on January 2nd, it will be nice to have an extra day to rest. But whenever the game comes, we’ll be ready.”

Boykin has started the last 21 games in a row and 37 in his career. The Paul Hornung Award finalist added that this year has helped bring the Dawgs back to the level everyone expects them to be at.

“I would describe the 2011 season as an amazing one where we got some redemption,” Boykin said. “This time last year, people were talking about the coaches being on the ‘hot-seat’ and that Georgia was not like it used to be. We had leadership this season who were committed to get this program back where it needs to be.”

DSC_6919Redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray, who is a Tampa native, agreed with Boykin that the Dawgs are ready for their showdown with Michigan State. “I think we are ready for the game,” Murray said. “We had great practices in Athens and have had our game-plan set for a while. We have had some awesome practices in Tampa and now it’s time for everything to slow down as we fine-tune everything.”

Murray also said that freshman quarterback Christian LeMay has made huge strides during his first season with the Dawgs. LeMay is redshirting this season while sophomore Hutson Mason, who is 18-of-30 for 254 yards and two touchdowns, has backed up Murray in 2011. “Every day at practice over the last couple of weeks, I have looked over at Coach Richt and just said, ‘wow’ watching Christian throw the ball,” said Murray. “At the beginning of the year, he seemed like he was throwing it as hard as he could and was off-balance a lot. But now that he is relaxing, he has been throwing great balls and making really good decisions.”

Kickoff for the 2012 Outback Bowl is slated for 1:08 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, and ABC Sports will televise the game live.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dribble Dawgs Win

BASKETBALL

Dustin Ware had a team high 15 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Donte' Williams each recorded 12 points and nine rebounds, leading the Georgia men’s basketball team to a 58-51 home victory over Delaware State Friday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum. The team closes the non-conference portion of the schedule on a five-game winning streak.

Georgia (9-5) overcame a slow start that put them in a 14-4 deficit nine minutes into the game after Delaware State's Casey Walker caught fire behind the arc. Walker connected on three of his first four three-point attempts while the Dawgs struggled to find its shot in the first half to find themselves in the early hole.

The highlight of the game came at the first-half buzzer, as Caldwell-Pope gathered a rebound and launched up a half court prayer to beat the buzzer and give the Dawgs a 32-29 lead at the half.

After shooting 50 percent in the first half, Delaware State (4-7) went cold in the second half, making just seven field goals while shooting 27 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. The Dawgs took advantage of the Hornets' poor shooting, gathering 40 total rebounds to match their second highest team total on the season and building their lead after the break.

"We did rebound the ball well and we made some plays, but we can't be successful in the SEC playing like that," coach Mark Fox said. "We'll take the win and learn as much as we can from it, but we need to grow up."

The Dawgs resume play on Saturday, January. 7th, as they host the Alabama to begin SEC play.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dawgs Busy In Tampa

FOOTBALL

The 18th-ranked Dawgs enjoyed another full day of activities on Wednesday during Outback Bowl week.

For the second consecutive day, the Dawgs conducted a two-hour workout in full pads at the University of Tampa. Georgia will practice through Saturday in preparation for its January 2nd date with 12th-ranked Michigan State.

Both head coaches participated in a media luncheon and answered questions for approximately 30 minutes.

"We had our second day in full pads, and our energy was very good," said coach Mark Richt. "Everybody was in good spirits and competed well. I like how it's going, everybody is full speed."

"We are going to have our second day in full pads too, and I'll see how we're moving around," said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio. "We know it's going to be a great challenge, and it's important for us to finish."

The coaches were asked about the regular season, conference championship games, bowl preparations and the importance of winning the bowl game. Richt and Dantonio are aiming to end the season with an 11th win after falling short in their bowl game a year ago.

"It's not too often you have a chance to win 11 games and you're going up against a team with 10 wins," said Dantonio.

"I haven't thought about last year's bowl game too much, but we did use it as motivation in the off season and figuring out who is in or out in terms of doing things the way we want it done," Richt added. "We didn't have a lot of energy that day, and the team that wanted it more won. I've been in coaching 27 years and the more I look at what happens in the bowl games is it comes down to turnovers and special teams. The reality is it's all about executing."

After practice, the Dawgs headed to Busch Gardens for the rest of the day. On Thursday, Georgia is slated to attend a team luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center, a brief media session and then an afternoon practice. Also, the team will have a bowling night.

Kickoff for the 2012 Outback Bowl is slated for 1:08 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, and ABC Sports will televise the game live.

Dawgs 2012 Schedule Released

FOOTBALL

Georgia will be the first Southeastern Conference team to travel to the newest Eastern Division team—Missouri--according to the 2012 SEC schedule announced Wednesday by the SEC office.

The Dawgs will also play seven home games for the first time since 2007. The overall 2012 SEC schedule includes all 14 teams with the addition of Missouri in the east and Texas A&M in the west.

The Dawgs will play the Tigers in Columbia, Missouri, on September 8th, following Georgia’s season home opener on September 1st with Buffalo. The rest of the schedule features seven home games, four of which are among the first five contests. After the opener with Buffalo, Georgia will host Florida Atlantic, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech during the season.

The Dawgs go on the road to face South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida (Jacksonville), and Auburn in addition to Missouri.

2012 Georgia Football Schedule
Sept.1 Buffalo
Sept. 8 at Missouri
Sept. 15 Florida Atlantic
Sept. 22 Vanderbilt
Sept. 29 Tennessee
Oct. 6 at South Carolina

Oct. 13 Open
Oct. 20 at Kentucky
Oct. 27 Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 3 Ole Miss
Nov. 10 at Auburn
Nov. 17 Georgia Southern
Nov. 24 Georgia Tech

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dawgs Wrap Up Bowl Preparations In Athens

FOOTBALL

The 18th-ranked Georgia football team held its final practice of 2011 in Athens on Tuesday as the Dawgs continued preparations for the Outback Bowl contest against Michigan State.

The Dawgs and the Spartans will square off January 2nd in Tampa, Florida, in the Outback Bowl. Georgia’s players and coaches will reconvene in Tampa on December 26th. The Dawgs worked out for about an hour on Tuesday.

“I thought we prepared well,” coach Mark Richt said. “We had the right amount of practices and we practiced each day for a good amount of time. I thought everything we did the last few days was valuable.”

Richt was asked if he thought having quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles playing in their hometown of Tampa would be a distraction. “As many big games as they’ve played in, I don’t think it will be a factor,” Richt said. “Maybe for a freshman or a sophomore who hasn’t played that many games, it would be, but I don’t think it will be for those guys.”

Richt also was asked for his impressions on Michigan State’s defensive front. “They’ve got a couple of really big inside guys who push into the quarterback’s face,” Richt said. “If you’re not firm up front, there’s not an area for the QB to step up.”

The Dawgs will be making their 15th consecutive bowl appearance, and Georgia ranks as one of the top five bowl teams of all time in wins and appearances, they are 26-17-3 in bowls.

This will be the third meeting between Georgia and Michigan State in bowl games, with the Dawgs claiming a 34-27 win in the 1989 Gator Bowl in Vince Dooley’s final game as Georgia’s coach and a 24-12 win in the 2009 Capital One Bowl.

Kickoff for the game between Georgia (10-3) and Michigan State (10-3) is slated for 1 p.m., and the game will be televised by ABC. A win would give the Dawgs their fourth season of at least 11 wins under Richt.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lady Dawgs Fall To Gonzaga In Final Second

BASKETBALL

Haiden Palmer hit a long three-pointer with two-tenths of a second remaining to give Gonzaga its only lead of the game in a 71-68 victory over No. 13 Georgia in the opening day of the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic on Monday.

Palmer's three completed a 22-4 run over the final 6:45 as the Zags (9-2) erased a 15-point deficit to rally past the Lady Dawgs (8-2).

"We played very well for much of the game, but in the final minutes we came unraveled," coach Andy Landers said. "We turned it over and let them get offensive rebounds and missed some shots. You put that all together and it turned this game into a very disappointing performance."

Jasmine Hassell paced Georgia for the third consecutive game with 21 points, while Anne Marie Armstrong and Jasmine James chipped in 15 and 13, respectively. Katelan Redman posted game highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga, and Palmer added 22 points.

James' three-pointer with 7:12 remaining put the Lady Dawgs up 64-49, the fourth time in the game Georgia led by 15 points. Palmer answered on the other end to ignite a 10-0 over the next 2:19 that closed the gap to 64-59.

The Zags eventually tied the game at 68-68 on a Palmer layup with 20 seconds left. Palmer then fouled James with 9.8 seconds remaining. James missed the front end of a one-and-one, setting the stage for Palmer's game-winner.

Georgia started quickly and led by double figures for most of the game.

Armstrong hit consecutive buckets to start the game and Hassell added a layup at the 18:33 mark to quickly put Georgia up 6-0. The Lady Dawgs maintained a two-possession lead for the remainder of the period, with the lead topping out at 15 points twice.

After Georgia led 31-16 with 4:27 left in the period, Gonzaga closed the half with on a 11-4 run to trim the margin to eight at the intermission.

"In the first half, we forced the game to played at the pace we wanted it to be played," Landers said. "The first 20 minutes were a very, very good half of basketball for us."

The Lady Dawgs will now face Montana State on Tuesday afternoon at 6:30 p.m. ET before returning home to host Appalachian State on Thursday at 7 p.m. That contest is the first of three-game homestand through Georgia's SEC opener against Arkansas on Sunday, January 1st at 2 p.m. The Lady Dawgs also will host Furman on Wednesday, December 28th at 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dawgs Practice Sunday

FOOTBALL

The 18th-ranked Dawgs held a two-hour practice in full pads Sunday afternoon in preparation for the upcoming Outback Bowl against Michigan State.

They will practice again Monday and Tuesday in Athens before breaking for Christmas. Players and coaches will reconvene in Tampa on December 26th leading up to the January 2nd contest against the Spartans.

“It was another good day,” said coach Mark Richt. “We had great weather. Guys were competing well, and I thought we got a lot done. We got some good scout team work in, and we are starting to get the game plan in. We’re getting there little by little.”

The Dawgs will be making their 15th consecutive bowl appearance, and Georgia ranks as one of the top-five bowl teams of all time in wins and appearances. The Dawgs are 26-17-3 all-time in bowl games.

This will be the third meeting between Georgia and Michigan State in bowl games, with the Dawgs claiming a 34-27 win in the 1989 Gator Bowl and a 24-12 win in the 2009 Capital One Bowl.

Kickoff for the game between Georgia (10-3) and the 12th-ranked Spartans (10-3) is slated for 1 p.m., and the game will be televised by ABC. A win would give the Dawgs their fourth season of at least 11 wins under Richt.

Dribble Dawgs Trip Trojans

BASKETBALL

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a career-high 21 points, including two late free-throws, to propel the Georgia men’s basketball team to a 63-59 victory over the USC Trojans at the Galen Center Saturday night.

Senior guards Gerald Robinson Jr. and Dustin Ware chipped in 17 and 12 points, respectively. Caldwell-Pope also led Georgia on the board with five rebounds.

"I'm really proud of our guys,” said coach Mark Fox. “It was a hard-fought game and we beat a very, very good defensive team tonight. I thought we took a big step forward."

The first half was a defensive battle that contained five lead changes and three ties. The Trojans led by as many as six points, but Georgia battled back to tie the game at 25 courtesy of a 7-2 run to end the half.

The Trojans, however, regained their lost ground early in the second half, holding a lead until Ware hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 51-51 with 4:38 remaining.

The Dawgs took their first lead courtesy of a Donte’ Williams dunk with 3:03 remaining. After Caldwell-Pope hit a three-pointer to put Georgia up by four with under a minute to play, the Trojan’s Alexis Moore gave USC new life with a three of his own bringing USC to within one, 60-59. But that’s as close as the Trojans would get. Caldwell-Pope hit two critical free throws with just 19 seconds remaining to put Georgia up 62-59.

During USC’s final possession, Robinson thwarted any final Trojan comeback, forcing a steal and dropping a free throw to put the Dawgs up 63-59 with only one second remaining.

With the win, Georgia snaps a four-game losing streak and moves to 2-0 in its series against USC.

Georgia returns home to take on in-state foe Mercer Tuesday night at Stegemen Coliseum. Last season, the Dawgs outlasted the Bears 56-53 in Macon. Tuesday’s matchup is scheduled to start 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on CSS and ESPN3.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dawgs Looking Forward To Outback Bowl

FOOTBALL

Under cloudless skies and temperatures in the upper-50s, the 18th-ranked Dawgs conducted a 90-minute bowl practice in full pads Saturday.

Georgia (10-3, 7-1 SEC) will practice daily through Tuesday before taking a five-day break for the holidays. The team will reconvene in Tampa, site of the annual Outback Bowl, to begin a final week of preparations for 12th-ranked Michigan State starting on Monday, December 26th.

Defensive Dawg Todd Grantham and Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio served as assistants at MSU under then head coach Nick Saban in the late 1990s. Grantham was a part of Saban’s staff from 1996-98. Dontonio became the head coach at MSU in 2007.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Coach ‘D’ again, that’s one of the good things about bowl games,” said Grantham. “You get to play teams that you normally don’t play and get to see some friends and guys you’ve worked with in the past. He’s got a good program and they’re playing well.”

When asked to compare the Spartans to a similar SEC opponent in regards to their offensive approach, he said they are like Arkansas and complimented the play of MSU senior quarterback Kirk Cousins.

“He is very accurate, throws with a lot of velocity, and they have good concepts,” said Grantham. “They are averaging 30 points a game and utilize multiple backs, tight ends and receivers.”

Cousins ranks third in passing efficiency in the Big Ten at 151.4 with 24 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 369 attempts. By comparison, Georgia sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray ranks fourth in the SEC at 146.4 with 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 371 attempts.

The 2012 Outback Bowl will be played on January 2nd at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff against the Spartans (10-3, 7-1 Big Ten) will be at 1 p.m., and ABC Sports will televise the game live.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Press Conference

FOOTBALL

CSC_6367Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

“It is a great day for the University of Georgia in that it’s graduation day. We had a lot of student-athletes graduate today. We had 10 today from football. A couple of them had been playing pro football for a few years and came back and finished up. We’ve been averaging about 19 football players a year graduating over the last 11 seasons. We’re just so proud of them, and it’s fun to see those guys at the tail ends of their careers and seeing their families and the young men themselves be so excited about getting that sheepskin. Congratulations to all of those guys. Everybody else got to practice today. It was a great day, beautiful. It felt like the first day of spring ball. There was a lot of lively competition. I think we had a little scrap here and there. There was just a great spirit about everybody. I thought the effort was great. I thought we got better today fundamentally and at a competitive level. You definitely either get better or get worse, and I think we got better today. That was nice.

“We know we’re in for a tremendous challenge. I’m aware that Michigan State is pretty hungry for a bowl victory right now, but they have a lot of maturity and a lot of winners to go get after it. So we have to make sure we are ready to get after it too.”

On whether motivation is different for a bowl game…

“This game has a bigger feel, having a dual purpose and a dual motivation. We want to win this game for a lot of reasons. We’d like to finish with 11 wins. We’ve had seven other teams do that and we’d like to be the eighth team. We would absolutely love for our seniors to walk out of that locker room with a smile on their face. It’s hard to get all excited at the end of your career if the last game you played was a loss. It’s tough. You’re sitting there hugging everybody’s neck and wishing them the best. It’s going to be the last time that team is going to be together, and we want that to be a great victory. It’s also the first game of 2012, and the way everything is set up in the BCS system, I think how you finish has something to do with how people see you when the season begins the next year. I think it’s important for the future too to play well and try to get the victory. There are a lot of reasons why we want to win, and they have the same motivation. They have a great football team and a great group of players and coaches. You turn that film on, and you immediately see that you are playing a well-coached bunch of guys who get after it. We better be ready.”

On how last year’s bowl experience might help this year…

“It was just so different a year ago, just the overall spirit of the team by the time we got to that one. We were all professional and we all wanted to do our best. It was hard to have a lot of life. It was a battle. Out there today if you saw those guys, they were fired up about playing football. They were enjoying each other and had a great day. I think we’ve learned to understand that we get to play in a bowl game; we don’t have to play in a bowl game. I think the guys are excited about the opportunity. I think overall this team has taken on a much more positive outlook on things from the very beginning starting last January.”

On the relationship between Aaron Murray and Orson Charles…

“They have been friends a long time. I think they truly love each other as friends. I think they’ve both taken pride that they came to Georgia and had a mission to try to win some championships at Georgia. We’ve not won the SEC or anything beyond that at this point, but to win the Eastern Division championship was something I think they both enjoyed and got excited about because they both wanted to win some championships before they left here. Just their work ethic, they both are hard workers, they both love the team. They are a lot alike. They play different positions, but they both have been great leaders for us, and enjoy their friendship and camaraderie. I think they’re happy with the decisions they made coming out of high school together. It’s been a real positive thing. To get to play in Tampa in this bowl game I’m sure is going to be a lot of fun for their families and friends.”

On whether Richt and Orson Charles have discussed Charles’ future…

“I’ve not. I would imagine every junior in the United States of America is kind of wondering when is the time and when is not the time. When the regular season is over and there is a little lull between that and the bowl game, I think some of those guys are thinking about it. If you’d been out there watching practice today, he was just soaking it in and enjoying being at Georgia. He’s just kind of an upbeat guy who is just enjoying the experience right now. I’m sure somewhere along the line he’s going to sit down and figure out what he wants to do.”

On Orson Charles’ place among the tight ends in Georgia history…

“Orson is a very talented guy. He’s not like a big giant guy when it comes to blocking, but he blocks bigger than he is. Because he’s not this big lumberjack, he’s a sleek receiver. He can run routes, he can change direction, he can catch the ball .You can split him out and play receiver. You can keep him at tight end and he’s legitimate. Some guys will line up in the tight end position, but they’re not tight ends in my opinion because they can’t block like they can. Some tight ends will flex out as a third receiver, but they’re not really a third receiver. This guy is a legitimate third receiver and a legitimate blocker. We try to take advantage of those guys best we can and hope to continue to do that.”

On Richard Samuel’s status…

“We expect him to play in the game. He got some run polish, I guess it was today. We weren’t ready to go full bore with him yet, but we expect him to play. I would imagine when we get to the bowl site he would do everything would be my guess from what I’ve heard from Ron Courson. He may go full speed tomorrow. I haven’t talked to Ron yet.”

On whether he would consider moving Samuel or another tailback to fullback next year…

“No, of the bunch of tailbacks right now, we would not put anybody at fullback. Richard I would definitely not put at fullback, none of those kids. If they came and asked me and begged me, I don’t know. I don’t see those guys as being the fullback type.”

On how much Richard Samuel has been missed while injured…

“Richard has been around the program a while. This is his fourth year. He’s got some maturity about him, and that group had a lot of inexperience. When he was in there they were just a little more grown up. There was more stability there and more maturity there, so we definitely missed him. Just as a player he’s a powerful back. He had a couple of great moments before when he played tailback, but as far as a game his last game he played when he got hurt, I think that was his best performance. I think he thought it was his best performance. Sometimes you need one of those games to give you the confidence to do it every single game. I think he was just hitting his stride and he got slowed up. I would say by the time we play the game he will have run the ball enough and changed direction enough. Hopefully he doesn’t have much rust on him at all.”

On having an open competition at running back…

“Do you guys think anybody established themselves as a solid starter at the tailback position? I’m not seeing that. Competition is a good thing, so I’m looking forward to it.”

An Update on Mike Gilliard's progress towards returning to action from injury…

"I just saw him walking on the field here towards the end of practice. He did have a boot on, but he was not on crutches, he wasn't very ginger. His gait was good, and if you didn't look down below his knees you would say he was just walking normal. So I thought that was a good sign, but I have no idea for what that means for practicing in the next couple of days. Richard (Samuel) we expect to play unless there is some kind of set back. Michael we are hoping he can play."

On player's he has coached throughout his career, if there has been a more scrutinized player than Isaiah Crowell…

"I won't talk specifically to Isaiah's notoriety, but nowadays the way the recruiting process is guys become bigger than life before they even walk on the campus. That's a tough responsibility for anybody to try to live up and to feel like you are just a regular guy when all of a sudden every move you do make somebody has got a comment on it or an opinion about it. That's got to be tough. I've talked to Isaiah. I've talked to other guys like Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and A.J. Green about learning to deal with the notoriety, the celebrity of it. I get to live with certain things, but you have to know that when you walk out the door to grab a bite to eat or something more than likely someone is going to come up to you and speak to you and maybe want an autograph, a picture or something like that. It's just kind of part of the thing, and you just kind of used to the fact that people watch you and are interested in what you say and do. That's tough on a kid that young. I'm pretty much of a full grown man I think most of the time. That's kind of hard to get used to myself, but I don't want to start a speech."

With exams wrapping up this week is everyone going to be eligible…

"I have not talked to our academic people yet. I asked a bunch of kids today how they are doing and everybody seemed to be thinking things went well. I know going into it there weren't any major concerns but there's always a chance somebody blows up. Going into these rounds of exams it wasn't like we were holding our breath on anything."

On if grades will be posted at a certain time that he knows of…

"I'm sure they will, but I don't know when the deadline is and I have not asked. Two days ago I started at 6 a.m. and got in at midnight. Yesterday, we practiced, went straight to the airplane, recruited and got in after midnight, got up went to graduation, did practice and came here, so really I haven't had much time to do anything other than recruit and coach."

If it is gratifying to be having contract extension talks…

"Oh yeah. I know I had a comment that went out, but I love Georgia. It's a great place. It's our home. I want it to remain our home for a long time. I'm thankful that Georgia wants me to be here, and I certainly want to be at Georgia and now we just got to talk about terms and all that kind of thing. All the talks we've had have been very positive and upbeat. It is about the head coach sometimes because if the coach's contract is long enough everybody has a little bit of peace and has a sense that there is stability within the program. All that is going to happen, but there are other things that we talk about too. Student-athlete welfare stuff or maybe we can do this or that. He might see something that he would like me to improve and I might say we want to work on some kind of facility issue. What I'm saying is we've just had some great talks, not only about extending my contract, but what can we do to be the 'Best in America' type talks too, which is exciting. There are no great details to talk about, but it's an atmosphere of sensing the excitement of what the future is holding for Georgia. I feel like we've created a lot of really positive momentum and just want to keep it going. We want to do everything it takes to keep it going."

On if his future has been something he's had to address in recruiting…

"There's been some that have just come out and said 'I'd like my son to go to Georgia, but I'm not sure what is going on' maybe in the summer or after the second game of the year. So there were some people that would just come out and say that, and there were others that maybe through the high school coach would say 'coach, if everything was set he would have done it a month ago.' You hear some of that type of conversation going on. Now that everything is real solid in that way I got a feeling there will be a few guys that were kind of holding back or maybe deciding on another school or rethinking what they are doing because they feel really good about what is happening at Georgia right now."

If UGA has been playing catch up in the recruiting process because of that…

"Yes. I guess that's a good way to say it. We really felt like we were going to have a really good class or had the makings of a really good class. We knew the more we won the better chance we would have to nail a great one. I think we still have the potential for a really great class."

If midseason enrollees can participate in bowl practice…

"They can but we are not going to do that. What happens is if the underclassmen participate in a bowl practice they can't play in these all-star games, so that's kind of stopped that a little bit. The other thing is that it used to be that they not only could practice on your site they could go to the bowl with you. They used to be able to get bowl gifts. Now it's a little different story. Those guys might have taken the bowl trip rather than playing in an all-star game and they had to weight that out. I think it's good. I don't think they can gain much by practicing once or twice. It's awkward. They don't know what they are doing. They're not going to be confident. I don't think it's a good idea."

On injury updates for Derrick Lott and Drew Butler…

"Derrick sprained he ankle in practice yesterday. Drew, he sprained his ankle out and about I guess. What happened was he had those shoes you get for tuxedo nights and they are kind of slick and slippery. He slipped, but I don't know exactly how it happened. You can ask him, but something happened where he slipped because the shoes were kind of slick and it tweaked it."

On what he is doing to turn special teams around…

"First of all, we know we have got to get better. It's two things in my opinion that it could be – either what we are doing schematically or its who do we have on those teams. I guess it could be a third thing – are they actually doing what we are asking them to do. In all those areas we must improve. I think there's going to be a high sense of urgency on our special teams to become more than just decent. We need to become really good. That's one of the biggest things is that we try to become one of the top teams in the league and the country in special teams play. There will be some very heavy discussions about it. We'll probably do more special teams work in the spring than we've done in the past. We knew we had a great punter, great kicker, holder, snapper and all that kind of thing, but we also knew we had some youth on some of those teams. We lost Akeem Dent, Darryl Gamble, Demarcus Dobbs – I'm trying to think of some of the other guys that were on some of these guys that were on that punt team – they were guys that could protect, escape and run and tackle a guy in the open field. We lost a batch of those guys and we were a little shy on linebacker depth and all that kind of thing, so we just have to keep recruiting those kinds of guys. If we got to put a bunch of starters on defense on some specials or starters at wide receiver or whatever you got to do – tailback. I don't care what position, we got to get the best guys out there and understand how crucial it is."

On his thoughts on his name being connected to other jobs…

"Texas A&M got bigger than life…I had not been contacted personally. Anybody who could have possibly represented me in any way, shape or form, never said to me A&M is interested. I don't know where all that came from. That was interesting to me to have that much smoke and no one that I know of got contacted on it. I have not heard a thing or word from Penn State. I've never been a guy to try and leverage a situation because the first day I got it here I said I want to be at Georgia. I said I wanted it to be the last coaching job I have. I'm very interested in winning, doing things the right way and stability for my family. I got to see at Florida State the benefits of stability in a coaching staff. I got to see the benefits of guys playing five years ago, six years ago, seven years ago, eight years ago, and coming back and seeing coach Bobby Bowden. Seeing people he knows, loves and trusts it's great. I've coached with a couple guys along the way that have never seen a class go from freshman to senior in their whole career. They never stayed four or five years anywhere long enough to see a guy through to the end. You see guys like Ben Harden and Justin Anderson and all these guys like Bruce Figgins. You see them in their house when they are 17-year-old kids and then you see them all grown up ready for life. I enjoy that a lot. That's a big part of why I coach. You don't get that if you are always looking for something better. There's always going to be something that might look better, but for me, there is no place that is better."

On if it gets irritating to have his named come up over the years in regards to other coaching jobs…

"I personally don't think it's become that big of an issue. I'll answer this. Have teams contacted me? Yes. Have people contacted my agents in the past? Yes. But I've always behind closed doors, behind the scene said you know what I appreciate your interest but I like it where I'm at and I don't have any interest. So a lot of things haven't become a big deal. I haven't said let me go fly there and take a look. I've never done that. I've never really wanted to do that because I care about our recruiting class currently. If I know in my heart this is where I want to be then I don't want to play a game for any reason. All I'm asking is for everything to be as fair as we can. I want to give Georgia my best, and I want Georgia to give us its best."

On reflecting back to his playing days and the bowl game selection process being more open compared to now bowl games being more structured and which way he likes better…

"All I know is when I was a player we went to one bowl when I was at Miami. It was the Peach Bowl. That was a big deal. We froze our rear ends off. We got a Peach Bowl watch. I gave it to my dad. But I don't know. I think one that I would be for – and I might get in trouble for this but I hope not – I think it would be interesting to rotate some of the BCS games. Where the SEC may go to the Sugar Bowl this year, go the Fiesta next year and whatever and have people do that. But there is such tradition in the SEC with the Sugar Bowl and the Pac-10 and Big Ten or 12 or whatever they are called now going to the Rose and all that kind of thing. I don't know if that will ever happen, but I think that would be interesting for fans, players and coaches to have a different destination, a kind of built in rotating destination."

If there are any concerns with the defense from the second half of the LSU game…

"A lot of the issues were special teams related and turnover related. There's some times we just got gapped out on a run and it went to the house. I don't think we left there with problems we can't solve at all."

Center Ben Jones

On playing Michigan State…

“It’s going to be a great challenge. Michigan State has one of the top defenses in the, so from an offensive standpoint, we are looking forward to the challenge.”

On playing in a bowl game…

“It’s been nice weather all week and we’re looking forward to going to Tampa. We are really excited to go down there and experience everything that the Outback Bowl has planned for us. I think it’s going to be a great bowl game for me. It’s been a rollercoaster during my time at Georgia and I’m really excited about finishing off my career here with a bowl game.”

Safety Bacarri Rambo

On getting back to practice…

“It feels good to be back on the practice field. Everyone had a good break and had a chance to give their bodies a rest after a long season. We’re excited to be back out there and continue to get better and work on fundamentals.”

On stopping Michigan State’s offense…

“We have to get in the film room and learn their offense. When we watch film, we have to pick up on some of the key things about their offense. Once we get out on the field, we just have to continue to play our best. We have to run to the ball and continue to do things that we have done all season. Everyone needs to focus on doing their job and not trying to do too much. Michigan State has good receivers and a really good quarterback. He is a guy that shows a lot of leadership and makes good decisions with the ball.”

On playing the last game of the season…

“We have to go out there and leave it all on the field. This is the last game of the season for us so we don’t have anything else to look forward to. We have to go out there and give our all for this team and the fans.”

Linebacker Christian Robinson

On playing Michigan State…

“I’m really excited to play Michigan State. I was a freshman the last time that we played them and I didn’t get to play. I think this game is going to be a great matchup because of the style of offense that they run and the defense that we have. There is a lot of motivation for both sides. We are both playing for respect and to end our seasons on a high note. These two teams match up really well on paper and I am excited to see how that translates on the field.”

On getting back to practice…

“We have had a lot of free times to finish up exams and wrap up the semester. Now, we are getting in the groove of bowl practices. We’ve had great weather this week, so practice hasn’t been as rough.”

On playing in a bowl game…

“The biggest difference in playing in a bowl game and regular season game is that there is a lot of stuff going on. We don’t have school, so it’s about playing football and enjoying the experience. This is a big trip for us. I love going to bowl games because we get to be with the seniors for one more trip and one more game. I’m ready to go out there and make some memories.”

Cornerback Brandon Boykin

On bowl preparation…

“You have a lot more time to prepare for a bowl game than you do for a regular-season game. The environment is a little more laid back because we have some time to enjoy ourselves before the game. Once the game starts though, we have o handle business. We are going to treat this like any other game but still enjoy the experience.”

On Michigan State…

“Michigan State is a great team that is evenly matched on paper. They have a great defense and a lot of explosive players on offense. They have a great group of wide receivers and an experienced quarterback, so we have our work cut out for us. We’re excited to get the chance to play them.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dawgs Chow Down At Outback

FOOTBALL

The 18th-ranked Dawgs continued preparations for the Outback Bowl with a 90-minute practice Thursday in full pads and then dined at the local Outback Steakhouse restaurant.

It is customary for the participating teams in this bowl game to have their student-athletes and coaches enjoy a lunch at their local Outback to get a taste of what their bowl trip will be like when they arrive in Tampa. Local media that cover the teams were invited too. Outback Bowl representative Glen Shamblen welcomed the Dawgs to their local restaurant Thursday.

Waiting at Outback were:

• 170 steaks
• 120 pounds of ribs
• 600 grilled shrimp
• 100 pounds of chicken
• 120 steamed lobster tails
• 170 baked potatoes
• 60 Blooming Onions
• 170 salads and bread
• And 60 gallons of sweet tea

“We walked in and saw all that food, and it was like, ‘Oh yeah,’” said offensive tackle Justin Anderson, who will graduate Friday morning. “That was awfully nice of the folks from Outback to do for us. We really appreciated it. I’m glad we practiced before we went over there. I ate so many ribs, there’s no way I could have practiced later in the day.”

Thursday’s practice session was in full pads and under sunny skies with temperatures hovering in the high 60s. Georgia is making its 47th all-time appearance in a bowl, and it owns a record of 26-17-3. The Dawgs are 3-0 in the Outback Bowl including a 24-21 triumph over Wisconsin in the 2005 game. Georgia is 2-0 all-time against the Spartans, both coming in bowl games (1989 Gator in Jacksonville, 2008 Capital One in Orlando).

Georgia will practice the next five days in Athens before taking a five-day break for the holidays. The team will reconvene in Tampa for final bowl preparations on Monday, Dec. 26.

“I thought we started a little sluggish since it was our first time back in awhile, but the pace picked up when we got into our competitive drills,” coach Mark Richt said. “We were blessed with a great morning temperature-wise, and we got in some good work. We’re excited about this opportunity to play a quality opponent like Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. We have a lot of respect for the Spartans, and we will keep focusing our energy on this game.”

The 2012 Outback Bowl will be played on Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff against 12th-ranked Michigan State (10-3, 7-1 Big Ten) will be at 1 p.m., and ABC Sports will televise the game live.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dawg Degrees

Twenty-seven University of Georgia student-athletes will receive degrees at Fall Commencement on Friday, December 16th at 9:30 a.m., in Stegeman Coliseum.

Among the graduates are 10 football players, three members of the track and field team, three members of the swimming and diving teams, two soccer players, two members of the softball team, two baseball players, two equestrian team members, one gymnast, one women’s basketball player, and one volleyball player.

Baseball: Justin Earls, Lawrenceville, Ga., Sport Management; Carson Schilling, Macon, Ga., Communication Studies,

Women’s Basketball: Meredith Mitchell, Midfield, Ala., Management.

Equestrian: Amelia Rodgers, Burlington, Vt., Animal Science; Kate Stewart, Dawson, Ga.

Football: Justin Anderson, Ocilla, Ga., Housing; Nic Clemons, Griffin, Ga., Child and Family Development; Candler Cook, Atlanta,Ga., Management; Eric Elliot, Kennesaw, Ga., Risk Management and Insurance; Demetric Evans, Haynesville, Ga., Child and Family Development; Bruce Figgins, Columbus, Ga., Communication Studies; Ben Harden, Perry, Ga., Housing; Josh Sailors, Athens, Ga., Biology; Richard Samuel, Cartersville, Ga., Sport Management; Trinton Sturdivant, Wadesboro,N.C.; Finance.

Gymnastics: Hilary Mauro, Boston Mass., Communication Studies.

Soccer: Kelli Corless, Acworth, Ga., Exercise and Sport Science; Caroline Simpson, Atlanta, Ga., Finance.

Softball: Taylor Schlopy, West Hills, Calif., Child and Family Development; Megan Wiggins, Snellville, Ga., Sociology.

Swimming and Diving: Lexie Bryant, Duluth, Ga., Art; Lauren Cartwright, Fayetteville, Ga., Exercise and Sport Science; Chelsea Nauta, Tampa, Fla., Biology.

Track and Field: Alesha Asijie, Mesa, Ariz., Child and Family Development; Odeika Bent, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Sociology and Criminal Justice; LaTroya Darrell, Smith’s Parish, Bermuda, Child and Family Development.

Volleyball: Carla Tietz, St. Charles, Ill., Child and Family Development.

Dawgs Trio Named AP All-Americans

FOOTBALL

Georgia sophomore linebacker Jarvis Jones and junior safety Bacarri Rambo have been named to the Associated Press All-America first team, while senior tackle Cordy Glenn was named to the third team, it was announced Wednesday.

Jones and Rambo are the first UGA defensive teammates to earn AP All-America honors since Jake Scott and Bill Stanfill in 1968.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus, Jones is the Dawgs’ leading tackler this season with 69 stops, including an SEC-leading 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks, which ranks second nationally. He moved to No. 2 on the school’s all-time single season sack list behind David Pollack, who had 14 in 2002. Jones has also forced two fumbles.

A 6-0, 218-pound native of Donalsonville, Rambo is third in the nation with seven interceptions this season and has 52 tackles. He is the team’s active leader with 12 picks over the last three seasons, which is tied for fourth among active players in the NCAA. Rambo is also No. 2 on the NCAA’s list for active player interception return yardage with 241 yards, which ranks third in school history.

Glenn, a 6-5, 348-pound native of Riverdale, leads the Dawgs with 49 career starts including the last 46 contests. He was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following the Dawgs’ 24-20 win over Florida and has helped sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray stand at the No. 2 spot in the conference in both total offense (229.6 ypg.) and passing yards per game (220.1) this season.

The SEC was also represented by eight other players on the first team including Alabama tailback Trent Richardson, Alabama tackle Barrett Jones, South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram, Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower, LSU cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu, Alabama safety Mark Barron and LSU punter Brad Wing.

Dawgs Get JUCO Offensive Tackle

FOOTBALL

Offensive tackle Mark Beard has committed to the Dawgs and becomes the 16th member of the class of 2012.

Beard, (6-5, 300) is transferring from Coffeyville Community College and will have three years of eligibility remaining. He will enroll in January and participate in winter conditioning drills and spring practice. Beard will provide immediate help at a position that the Dawgs will lose two seniors from following the bowl game, he has been told by the staff that his first opportunity will be at left tackle.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jarvis Jones Named FWAA All-American

FOOTBALL

University of Georgia sophomore linebacker Jarvis Jones has been named to the 68th Football Writers Association of America All-America Team, according to an announcement by the FWAA.

Jones is the third Dawg in as many years to be named to the team after punter Drew Butler and linebacker Justin Houston received the honor in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The Southeastern Conference has 10 players on this year’s team, including the only three sophomores in Jones and LSU’s Sam Montgomery and Tyrann Mathieu.

A Butkus Award finalist, Jones forced two fumbles for one of the top defensive units in the country. The Dawgs are among the national leaders in scoring defense (19.6 ppg.) and rushing defense (103.4 ypg.).

Jones was also named a Walter Camp Football Foundation First Team All-American.

Four Dawgs Make Yahoo AA Team

FOOTBALL

Four members of the University of Georgia football team were named to the Yahoo Sports All-America Team, it was announced Monday. Senior center Ben Jones and junior defensive back Bacarri Rambo were named to the first team, while sophomore linebacker Jarvis Jones earned second team honors and tailback Isaiah Crowell was named to the freshman team.

Ben Jones, a 6-3, 316-pound native of Centreville, Alabama, developed into one of the most dominant linemen in the nation and graded out at 82 percent average through the regular season with an average of five intimidator blocks a game. He was named to UGA's Victor's Club 10 times during the 2011 season for his outstanding play on the offensive line and of Georgia's 29 sacks allowed, Jones did not give up any.

A 6-0, 218-pound native of Donalsonville, Rambo is third in the nation with seven interceptions this season and has 52 tackles. He is the team’s active leader with 12 picks over the last three seasons, which is tied for fourth among active players in the NCAA. Rambo is also No. 2 on the NCAA’s list for active player interception return yardage with 241 yards, which ranks third in school history.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus, Jarvis Jones is the Dawgs’ leading tackler this season with 69 stops, including an SEC-leading 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He moved to No. 2 on the school’s all-time single season sack list behind David Pollack, who had 14 in 2002. Jones is currently third on the national sack list and has forced two fumbles.

Crowell (5-11, 215) ranks fifth in the SEC with 77.0 yards rushing per game after tallying a team-high 847 yards and five touchdowns on 182 carries in 11 games played. The Columbus, native has four 100-yard games this season and was named the SEC Freshman of the Week four different times.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Team Awards Gala Held Saturday Night

FOOTBALL

Senior center Ben Jones of Centreville, Alabama; sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray of Tampa, Florida; sophomore linebacker Jarvis Jones of Columbus; senior punter Drew Butler of Duluth and redshirt freshman Kosta Vavlas of Tarpon Springs, Florida, took home the top awards at the University of Georgia football annual team Gala Saturday night at the Classic Center in Athens.

Ben Jones was named the recipient of the Vince Dooley Most Valuable Player of the Year Award, Aaron Murray was named the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player, and Jarvis Jones received Most Valuable Defensive Player honors. Vavlas and Butler were named Most Valuable Special Teams players.

Sophomore guard Chris Burnette of LaGrange and sophomore linebacker Alec Ogletree of Newnan were named winners of the David Jacobs Award as the players who, by example, portray courage, spirit, character and determination.

Ben Jones was also named the team’s overall permanent captain for 2011. Junior tight end Orson Charles of Tampa, Florida, and senior guard Cordy Glenn of Riverdale were elected as the team’s offensive captains, senior defensive back Brandon Boykin of Fayetteville and Jarvis Jones were chosen as the defensive captains, and Butler was named the special teams captain.

The Leon Farmer Award for dedication to the strength and conditioning program was presented to Boykin and Ben Jones. Outstanding Scout Team Awards went to redshirt freshman quarterback Greg Bingham of Columbus (offense), redshirt freshman linebacker Corey Campbell of Hephzibah and senior cornerback Eric Elliot of Kennesaw (defense), and sophomore cornerback Luis Capella of Augusta (special teams).

Most Improved Player Awards were presented to senior tackle Justin Anderson of Ocilla and Glenn (offense); senior defensive end Abry Jones of Warner Robins and junior linebacker Mike Gilliard of Valdosta (defense); and redshirt freshman safety Connor Norman of Duluth (special teams).

Newcomer of the Year Award winners were redshirt freshman receiver Michael Bennett of Alpharetta, freshman receiver Chris Conley of Dallas, and freshman receiver Malcolm Mitchell of Valdosta (offense); freshman linebacker Amarlo Herrera of College Park and junior nose guard John Jenkins of Meriden, Connecticut (defense); and freshman defensive back Quintavius Harrow of Columbus (special teams).

Coaches Leadership Awards went to Charles, Murray and Ben Jones (offense), Boykin and senior defensive end DeAngelo Tyson of Statesboro (defense), and Butler (special teams).

The Governor’s Cup trophy for the victory over Georgia Tech was officially presented by Shelton Stevens from Healthcare of Atlanta.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Boykin Finalist For Hornung Award

FOOTBALL

DSC_2960Georgia senior cornerback and return specialist Brandon Boykin has been named one of four finalists for the Paul Hornung Award presented by the Texas Roadhouse, according to an announcement by the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC).

Boykin joins Arkansas’ Joe Adams, Oregon’s LaMichael James and Toledo’s Eric Page as the four finalists for this season’s award. Boykin leads the foursome with eight selections to the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll throughout the 2011 season.

The Paul Hornung Award winner will be selected following the finalists’ participation in bowl games. Fan voting to select the winner is now open on Facebook. Fans can vote as often as once a day by going to www.votepaulhornung.com.

The award winner will be announced on approximately January 8 with the winner to be honored on February 2 in Louisville, Ky., at a banquet at the downtown Galt House Hotel.

The Paul Hornung Award is given annually by the LSC to the most versatile player in major college football. The award was created by the LSC in January 2010 with the support of Paul Hornung, a native and lifelong resident of Louisville and member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Boykin, a 5-10, 183-pound native of Fayetteville, was named earlier this week to the Coaches All-Southeastern Conference Second Team for his versatile performance this season. Starting at cornerback 37 times in his career, Boykin is fifth on this year’s team with 48 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, and has forced two fumbles. He is also tied for second on the team with three interceptions, giving him nine in his career.

Boykin has also proven himself to be one of the nation’s most prolific return specialists. As a kickoff returner, he is the active SEC career leader with 2,593 yards, including four touchdowns (three 100 yarders, making him the only player in SEC history to record three plays of 100 yards of any kind in his career), and is second on the SEC all-time list. This season, he has piled up an SEC-best 780 kickoff return yards on 34 returns for a 22.9 average.

For the first time in his career, Boykin has also returned punts in 2011, taking 13 of them 88 yards (6.8 avg.).

On offense, Boykin has also provided a boost. He caught four balls for 58 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown reception. Boykin has run the ball five times for 95 yards, including taking his first career carry 80 yards for a touchdown versus #5 Boise State in the season opener.

Butler Named Academic All-American

FOOTBALL

DSC_7912Senior Drew Butler has been named a Capital One Academic All-American as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Butler, a 6-2, 214-pound native of Duluth, becomes only the fourth Dawg in school history to be named a First Team Academic All-American twice. He is the first one to accomplish this feat since offensive lineman Jon Stinchcomb in 2001-02.

One of the top punters in college football history, Butler is a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection who has a 45.5 career punting average. A graduate student who earned his B.A. degree in Journalism with a 3.62 grade point average (GPA), he is pursuing a graduate degree in Sport Management.

Butler was the winner of the 2009 Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the nation and a finalist for the honor in 2010. A two-time All-American, he is averaging 44.3 yards per punt this season while leading the Dawgs to a 10-3 record and a berth in the SEC Championship Game.

In addition to his Academic All-America selection, Butler has also been named a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award, William Campbell Trophy, ARA Sportsmanship Award and the Wuerffel Trophy this season and was a member of the 2011 National Football Foundation (NFF)National Scholar-Athlete Class, which was honored this week in New York.

Butler becomes only the fourth Georgia player in history to earn a pair of First Team honors. Terry Hoage (1982-83), Matt Stinchcomb (1997-98) and Jon Stinchcomb all received the First Team honor twice. Hoage (1981) and Jon Stinchcomb (2000) were also named to the Second Team one year in their careers.

In 2010, Butler joined an exclusive Dawg club of All-Americans who have been honored for their performance on the field and in the classroom. They are: Frank Tarkenton (1960), Lynn Hughes (1966), Bill Stanfill (1968), Terry Hoage (1982-83), Matt Stinchcomb (1997-98) and Jon Stinchcomb (2002).

The 26 members of the 2011 Capital One Academic All-America® Football Division I first team have an average G.P.A. of 3.82. To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.

For more information about the Academic All-America® Teams program, please visit www.cosida.com.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jones, Charles & Rambo Honored

FOOTBALL

Georgia redshirt sophomore linebacker Jarvis Jones has been named a Walter Camp Football Foundation First Team All-American to headline a list of three Dawgs named to the 121st group honored by the organization.

In addition to Jones, junior tight end Orson Charles and junior free safety Bacarri Rambo were both named Walter Camp Second Team All-Americans.

The nation’s oldest All-America team was announced live on ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards Show late Thursday night.

Jones is the first Walter Camp First Team All-American for Georgia since punter Drew Butler earned the honor in 2009. There have been eight First Team selections for UGA since Mark Richt was named head coach in 2001 and 35 since the award began in the late 1800s.

Both A.J. Green, who is currently the Cincinnati Bengals’ leading receiver, and Justin Houston, who has 39 tackles, including three sacks, for the Kansas City Chiefs this season, were the Dawgs’ two Walter Camp Second Team All-Americans in 2010.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus, Jones is the Dawgs’ leading tackler this season with 69 stops, including an SEC-leading 19.5 tackles for loss of 103 yards and 13.5 sacks. Jones surged to No. 2 on the school’s all-time single season sack list behind David Pollack, who had 14 in 2002. Jones is currently third on the national sack list.

The Butkus Award finalist also forced two fumbles to develop Georgia into having one of the nation’s most stifling defenses. The Dawgs rank third nationally in Scoring Defense (19.6 ppg.), ninth in Rushing Defense (103.4 ypg.) and 17th in Scoring Defense (19.6 ppg.) through their run to the SEC Championship Game.

In just his first season playing on Georgia’s 3-4 defense after transferring from Southern California, Jones has been the only linebacker to start all 13 games this season. Versus top-ranked LSU in the SEC Championship, Jones had three tackles and helped hold LSU to just 12 total yards in the opening half with no first downs and only seven points on a punt returned for a touchdown.

Jones was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season for his performance in the win over Florida. He finished with five tackles, including four sacks, and forced a fumble as the Dawgs picked up a 24-20 win.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Tampa, Florida, Charles leads Georgia with a team-high 44 catches for 572 yards and five touchdowns and has started the last 23 games in a row. He is the school’s all-time leader at tight end with 1,368 yards receiving, is tied with former Dawg Leonard Pope with 10 career touchdowns and is third in UGA history with 93 receptions.

Charles is a Mackey Award finalist who has served as one of the team’s captains four times during Georgia’s run to the SEC Eastern Division title. A member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll with a 3.51 GPA, Charles has also contributed on the kickoff team, PAT/field goal team and the punt return team in 2011, including blocking a punt at Vanderbilt.

Charles now catches balls from his former Plant High School (Tampa) teammate, current Dawg quarterback Aaron Murray. With 44 catches already this season, Charles is just five catches away from tying the single season school record for tight end receptions (Shannon Mitchell, 49-539-2).

A 6-0, 218-pound native of Donalsonville, Rambo is third in the nation with seven interceptions this season and is fourth on Georgia’s defense with 52 tackles. He is the team’s active leader with 12 picks over the last three seasons, which is tied for fourth among active players in the NCAA.

Rambo is also No. 2 on the NCAA’s list for active player interception return yardage with 241 yards, which ranks third in school history. Starting 25 games over the last two seasons, Rambo has anchored a Dawg secondary that ranks 12th in the nation and third in the SEC with 17 interceptions in 2011.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lady Dawgs Defeat Bears

BASKETBALL

Jasmine Hassell scored a game-high 16 points to lead No. 14 Georgia (8-1) in an 80-43 victory over Mercer (2-7) on Tuesday night.

Khaalidah Miller added 15 points, 11 in the first half, and Anne Marie Armstrong chipped In 12. Jasmine James notched team-high tallies with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Mercer grabbed an early lead and maintained an advantage for much of the half until a Meredith Mitchell lay-up put Georgia up 15-14 with 9:11 left in the period. That bucket helped ignite a 17-2 Lady Dawg surge covering 5:13 that put Georgia up 29-16 at the 4:21 mark.

"Early on, we were switching our man-to-man defense, which is something we traditionally don't go," coach Andy Landers said. "After six or seven minutes, we went back to the way we usually play and that seemed to get us on track on defense. Offensively, I thought we really did a nice job of running the floor but we'd get eight feet from the basket and they would road block us or we wouldn't convert."

The Lady Dawgs' first-half lead topped out at 16 points with 24 seconds left, and Georgia continued to build on that after intermission. A 13-7 surge over the first 4:09 of the second half expanded the lead to 20.

Georgia committed a season-low nine turnovers and outscored the Bears 52-6 in the paint.

Ebony Jones saw her first action of the season, checking in with 2:16 left in the first half. Jones missed Georgia's first eight games while recovering from a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury in her left knee.

The Lady Dawgs will now enjoy a 13-day break from competition while Final exams are administered on the UGA campus. Georgia will return to action on December 19th when the they face Gonzaga, an "Elite Eight" team last season, in the opening round of the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic. Georgia also will take on Montana State in Vegas on December 20th before closing out the pre-holiday portion of its slate against Appalachian State in Athens on December 22nd.

Ben Jones Rimington Finalist

FOOTBALL

DSC_7813Georgia senior center Ben Jones has been named one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding center in college football.

With Alabama’s William Vlachos being the only other player from the Southeastern Conference on the list, Clemson’s Dalton Freeman, Oklahoma State’s Grant Garner, Wisconsin’s Peter Konz and Michigan’s David Molk join Jones as candidates for the honor.

The winner of the Rimington Trophy will be announced during the ESPNU/Home Depot College Football Awards show, broadcast live from Orlando, Florida, on ESPN on December 8th.

The 2011 Rimington winner will be recognized at the Rimington Trophy Presentation at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 14, 2012.

Dave Rimington, the award's namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy's only double winner as the nation's finest college interior lineman.

A 6-3, 316-pound native of Centreville, Alabama, Jones has proven to be one of the most dominant linemen in the nation and joined his teammates in representing the Eastern Division at the 2011 SEC Championship Game versus top-ranked LSU on December 3rd.

Jones was honored as the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice this year versus #24 Auburn and New Mexico State. Named a captain for the Dawgs nine times this season, Jones has 48 total starts in his career, including the last 21 in a row

Charles & Jones Named To AFCA All America Team

FOOTBALL

Georgia junior tight end Orson Charles and redshirt sophomore linebacker Jarvis Jones have both been named to the 2011 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FBS All-America Team.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. The nation’s coaches choose this squad and nine of the 25 team members this season are from the Southeastern Conference.

Charles and Jones are the first Dawgs to be named AFCA All-Americans since punter Drew Butler earned the honor in 2009. This marks the first time two Georgia players have been named to the team in the same year since safety Greg Blue and offensive lineman Max Jean-Gilles accomplished the feat together in 2005.

The Dawgs have been represented 34 times by 29 different players on the AFCA All-America Team. Herschel Walker is the only three-time AFCA All-American (1980-82) in the 67-year history of the team.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Tampa, Florida, Charles leads Georgia with a team-high 44 catches for 572 yards and five touchdowns and has started the last 23 games in a row. He is the school’s all-time leader at tight end with 1,368 yards receiving, is tied with former Bulldog Leonard Pope with 10 career touchdowns and is third in UGA history with 93 receptions.

Charles is a Mackey Award finalist who has served as one of the team’s captains four times during Georgia’s run to the SEC Eastern Division title. A member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll with a 3.51 GPA, Charles has also contributed on the kickoff team, PAT/field goal team and the punt return team in 2011, including blocking a punt at Vanderbilt.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus, Jones is the Dawgs’ leading tackler this season with 69 stops, including an SEC-leading 19.5 tackles for loss of 103 yards and 13.5 sacks. Jones surged to No. 2 on the school’s all-time single season sack list behind David Pollack, who had 14 in 2002. Jones is currently third on the national sack list.

The Butkus Award finalist also forced two fumbles to help develop Georgia into having one of the nation’s most stifling defenses. The Dawgs rank third nationally in Scoring Defense (19.6 ppg.), ninth in Rushing Defense (103.4 ypg.) and 17th in Scoring Defense (19.6 ppg.) through their run to the SEC Championship Game.

In just his first season playing on Georgia’s 3-4 defense after transferring from Southern California, Jones has been the only Dawg linebacker to start all 13 games this season. Versus the top-ranked Tigers in the SEC Championship, Jones had three tackles and helped hold LSU to just 12 total yards in the opening half with no first downs.

Dawgs Put 7 On Coaches All SEC Team

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs had nine team members named to the Coaches All-Southeastern  Conference football teams, according to a league announcement on Tuesday.

Junior tight end Orson Charles, redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, junior free safety Bacarri Rambo and senior right tackle Cordy Glenn were all named to the First Team.

The Second Team selections included senior cornerback Brandon Boykin, senior center Ben Jones and redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray.

Georgia also had two members named to the Freshman All-SEC Team. Split end Malcolm Mitchell and running back Isaiah Crowell rounded out the list of Dawgs.

Charles, Jarvis Jones, Rambo, Glenn, Ben Jones and Murray were all also recently named to the same respective AP All-SEC teams while Crowell was named the AP SEC Freshman of the Year.

A member of the 2011 AFCA All-America Team, Charles, a 6-3, 241-pound native of Tampa, Florida, leads Georgia with a team-high 44 catches for 572 yards and five touchdowns and has started the last 23 games in a row. He is the school’s all-time leader at tight end with 1,368 yards receiving, is tied with former Dawg Leonard Pope with 10 career touchdowns and is third in UGA history with 93 receptions.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus, Jarvis Jones is the Dawgs’ leading tackler this season with 69 stops, including an SEC-leading 19.5 tackles for loss of 103 yards and 13.5 sacks. Also a 2011 AFCA All-American, Jones surged to No. 2 on the school’s all-time single season sack list behind David Pollack, who had 14 in 2002. Jones is currently third on the national sack list.

A 6-0, 218-pound native of Donalsonville, Rambo is third in the nation with seven interceptions this season and is fourth on Georgia’s defense with 52 tackles. He is the team’s active leader with 12 picks over the last three seasons. Rambo is also No. 2 on the NCAA’s list for active player interception return yardage with 241 yards, which ranks third in school history.

Earning a spot on Pro Football Weekly’s 2010 All-America Team, Glenn, a 6-5, 348-pound native of Riverdale, leads the team with 49 career starts (third all-time in UGA history for non-kickers), including the last 46 contests. He was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following the Dawgs’ 24-20 win over Florida and has helped sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray stand at the No. 2 spot in the conference in both total offense (229.6 ypg.) and passing yards per game (220.1) this season.

Boykin, a 5-10, 183-pound native of Fayetteville, has proven to be a threat both on defense and on special teams for the Dawgs. Starting at cornerback 37 times in his career, Boykin is fifth on this year’s team with 48 tackles, including nine tackles for loss. He is also tied for second on the team with three interceptions, giving him nine in his career.

As a kickoff returner, Boykin is the active SEC career leader with 2,593 yards, including four touchdowns, and is third on the SEC all-time list. Also, Boykin has returned 13 punts for 88 yards (6.8 avg.), caught four balls for 58 yards and run the ball five times for 95 yards. He has scored a receiving and a rushing touchdown this season.

Ben Jones, a 6-3, 316-pound native of Centreville, Alabama, has proven to be one of the most dominant linemen in the nation and joined his teammates in representing the Eastern Division at the 2011 SEC Championship Game versus top-ranked LSU on December 3. Jones graded out at 82 percent average through the regular season with an average of five intimidator blocks a game. He was named to UGA's Victor's Club 10 times during the 2011 season for his outstanding play on the offensive line and of Georgia's 29 sacks allowed, Jones did not give up any of them.

A 2010 Freshman All-American, Murray, a 6-1, 211-pound native of Tampa, Florida, put together the necessary numbers in 2011 to help him become the SEC’s leading active player in total offensive yards (6,193), completions (427), touchdown responsibility (63), touchdown passes (57) and passing yards (5,910). Murray also set a new school record in touchdown passes in a season for UGA (33) in 2011 and touchdown responsibility by a quarterback in a season (35).

Mitchell, a 6-1, 184-pound native of Valdosta, leads the Dawgs with 614 receiving yards after hauling in 38 catches. Recording four of Georgia’s 35 receiving touchdowns this year, Mitchell has led the Dawgs in receiving three times this season. He missed three games with a hamstring injury midway through the season, but had four catches for 32 yards in his team’s last action versus No. 1 LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

Crowell (5-11, 215) is fifth in the SEC averaging 77.0 yards per game after tallying a team-high 847 yards and five touchdowns on 182 carries in 11 games played. The Columbus, native has four 100-yard games this season and was named the SEC Freshman of the Week four different times

Richt Finalist For Coach Of The Year

FOOTBALL

DSC_6838University of Georgia Head Football Coach Mark Richt was named among 10 FBS finalists for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.

The Dawgs are 10-3 on the season and won the 2011 SEC Eastern Division. They are preparing to play against the No. 12 ranked Michigan State Spartans in the Outback Bowl scheduled for January 2.

The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award recognizes the guidance and leadership that coaches extend beyond the playing field in terms of leaving lasting impressions on the players they mentor and the communities they reach. The 10 finalists were determined by fan voting and through an objective scoring model by the College Football Hall of Fame.

“College Football fans clearly recognize Coach Richt as one of the game’s true leaders, and we agree he is an excellent finalist for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award,” said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president. “Each year, we ask fans to vote for the coaches who best exemplify the award’s characteristics – sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, on and off the field. Coach Richt does just that, through his success on game days, as well as providing leadership to his student-athletes and commitment to the greater Georgia community.”

Fans can vote for Coach Richt by going to www.CoachoftheYear.com between December 6th and December 22nd. The winner will be announced prior to the BCS Championship game on January 9, 2012. If Coach Richt is named the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year for the FBS, he will receive $50,000 to donate to the charities of his choice and a $20,000 grant to his school’s alumni association.

2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Finalists (listed alphabetically)
Football Bowl Subdivision:

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University
Brady Hoke, University of Michigan
Mark Hudspeth, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Mike London, University of Virginia
Les Miles, Louisiana State University
Bobby Petrino, University of Arkansas
Mark Richt, University of Georgia
Nick Saban, University of Alabama
Bill Snyder, Kansas State University
Dabo Swinney, Clemson University

Dawgs Nab Top Running Back

FOOTBALL

For the second year in a row, the Dawgs have landed the nation’s top rated high school running back.

Millbrook, North Carolina’s Keith Marshall (5-11, 192) will enroll at UGA in January and participate in the off season program. Marshall is a big fast back similar is build to teammate Isaiah Crowell, last years top high school back and current SEC freshman of the year.

Marshall made the announcement during a ceremony at his school this afternoon, he becomes the 15th member of the class of 2012.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dawgs Accept Bid To Outback Bowl

FOOTBALL

The 18th ranked Dawgs (10-3) were extended, and accepted, an invitation to the Outback Bowl Sunday to face 12th ranked Michigan State (10-3) in Tampa, Monday, January 2nd.

Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally by ABC TV.

Both teams are coming off conference championship game appearances. The Dawgs are 3-0 in previous trips to the Outback Bowl. The ‘Dawgs defeated Wisconsin, 33-6, in the 1998 game; defeated Purdue, 28-25, in overtime in the 2000 game; and won the 2005 game with Wisconsin, 24-21.

Georgia lost to Boston College, 27-24, in the 1986 Hall of Fame Bowl which was also held in Tampa.

This will mark the third all time meeting with Michigan State. The ‘Dawgs defeated the Spartans in the 1989 Gator Bowl, 34-27, in Vince Dooley’s last game as head coach at Georgia. The Dawgs and Michigan State also faced each other in the 2009 Capital One Bowl, a 24-12 Georgia win.

“We are delighted with the selection of our team to represent the Southeastern Conference in the Outback Bowl,” said UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “It’s a great destination for our student athletes and our fans --- warm weather, wonderful attractions, a first class stadium, and we look forward to competing against a great Michigan State team. Our fans have been a big part of our success this season and I’m confident they will support the team with their attendance in this bowl game.”

“I’m really excited for our team and especially our seniors with the opportunity to play in the Outback Bowl which is one of the premier January bowl games,” said coach Mark Richt. “We were fortunate to play in this game back in 2005 and had a terrific experience. This will be the first time the members of our team have the opportunity to play in Tampa and playing a top quality opponent like Michigan State will be a challenge we’ll look forward to.”

This will be Georgia’s 47th bowl game―sixth most of any team in the country. The Dawgs’ all-time bowl record is 26-17-3.

Lady Dawgs Swat Jackets

BASKETBALL

Jasmine Hassell scored a career-high 24 points and recorded six rebounds and one assist to lead the No. 15 Georgia Lady Dawgs (7-1) to a 75-68 victory against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-3) Sunday afternoon.

“Jasmine was terrific tonight," said coach Andy Landers. "She played well on the defensive end of the court and shot about as well as anyone could shoot. She went out there and went after rebounds that she hasn’t gone after before. She’s really becoming a better rebounder.”

Hassell connected on 9-of-10 shots from the floor and 6-of-7 attempts at the line en route to her career outing.

The Yellow Jackets saw double-digit scoring efforts from three players and out-rebounded the Georgia 47-42, but it was not enough to overcome the solid effort shown by the Lady Dawgs as a whole.

“I was impressed by the way we played tonight," continued Landers. "We forced some turnovers to end the first half and then again to start the second half. Georgia Tech is a team that likes to force turnovers and really needs to get to the free throw line a lot to win games. Tonight, we didn’t allow either of those things to happen. We did get beat on the boards tonight, but when we are forcing turnovers and hitting free throws, you have a Georgia team that is put in the position to win.”

Meredith Mitchell led the Lady Dawgs on the boards with seven rebounds. She also contributed 10 points, three assists and one block. Jasmine James notched 12 points, five rebounds and five steals.

Georgia started the game quickly when James hit a jumper four seconds in to spark an 8-4 run that lasted 3:08 minutes. Georgia Tech then came back with a 7-2 run that gave them their first lead of the game, 11-10. Throughout the entire half, neither team led by more than six.

With 46 seconds left in the first period, James hit a layup to knot the score at 33-33. For the first time this season, the Lady Dawgs entered the locker room tied at halftime.

Georgia shot 41.7 percent from the floor in the first half. Interestingly, neither team connected from behind the three point line until late in the second half.

At halftime, Landers told the Lady Dawgs, "Every shot, every move and every rebound has to be with a purpose. Go out there and make sure they do."

The Lady Dawgs shot 64.3 percent from the free throw line for the night, including six in their 8-2 run to start the second half. Once the they took the lead with 17:43 left in the game, they never relinquished it.

With 6:47 on the clock, Khaalidah Miller stepped up and made the first three-pointer of the game.

“It was a learning experience for Khaalidah tonight," said Landers. "She usually has her pick of shots, but she wasn’t getting many looks today. I told her at the start of the second half to wait and be patient because your shot is coming. When she hit the three late in the second half, I knew before she even looked at the basket that it was her shot.”

With 4:08 left in the game, Hassell fouled Chelsea Regins on a made layup. Regins was then called on a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Regins hit the extra free throw, while Anne Marie Armstrong connected on two free throws to keep Georgia up by 10, 65-56.

With 2:28 left in the game, Georgia Tech attempted a comeback, with an 8-0 run, but were thwarted when Mitchell and Hassell connected on free throws to keep Georgia up 74-68.

With 2.6 seconds left on the clock, Regins fouled out and sent Mitchell to the line. She hit her first free throw, but missed the second, to put the Dawgs up for one last time, 75-68.

The Lady Dawgs will travel to Macon, on Tuesday to take on the Mercer Bears at 7:00 p.m. Mercer is coached by former Lady Dawg Susie Gardner, who helped lead UGA to the 1983, 1984 and 1986 SEC Championships, the 1983 Final Four and a 1985 NCAA runner-up finish.

Post-Game Notes

• Georgia improved to 30-4 all-time against Georgia Tech, including a 14-0 record in Athens.
• Georgia won after being tied at the half for the first time this season. A year ago, the Lady Dawgs lost both games when they were tied at halftime...at Florida and at Southern Cal.
Jasmine Hassell scored a career-high 24 points, topping her previous best of 22 against both Denver on Nov. 26, 2010 and Ole Miss on Jan. 24, 2010.
Jasmine Hassell’s 24 points represented the most by a Lady Dawg in a single game this season. Anne Marie Armstrong’s 22 points versus TCU in the season opener was the previous high.
Jasmine Hassell notched her first 20-point game of the season and third of her career.
Tamika Willis scored a season-high nine points, all in the first half. Her previous best was seven points against College of Charleston.
• Georgia took (four) and made (one) season lows for three-point attempts.
• Georgia took (28) and made (18) season highs for free throw attempts.

Lady Bulldogs In Double Digits

Jasmine Hassell scored 24 points, her fifth double-digit outing of the season and 25th of her career.
• Jasmine James
scored 12 points, her sixth double-digit outing of the season and 45th of her career.
Meredith Mitchell scored 10 points, her second double-digit outing of the season and 28th of her career.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dribble Dawgs Beaten By Bearcats

BASKETBALL

The Georgia men’s basketball team took a nine-point lead into halftime before scoring a season-low 21 points in the second half in falling 57-51 to Cincinnati Friday night in Stegeman Coliseum as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge.

The Dawgs (4-4) led the Bearcats 30-21 at the intermission, with that 21-point UC output tied for a season-low by a Georgia opponent in a first half this season. But Georgia’s offensive struggles in the second half – shooting just 6-of-21 from the floor after the break – allowed Cincinnati to mount the comeback.

Freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 16 points as the freshman has now scored in double figures in each game of his short college career. He was followed by Gerald Robinson’s 12 points. For Cincinnati, Sean Kilpatrick (22) and Dion Dixon (19) combined to lead the comeback charge for the visitors, with the pair hitting a combined eight three-pointers on the night including six in the second half.

“That was a really hard-fought, physical basketball game,” said coach Mark Fox. “Cincinnati is a really good, strong team and they fought really hard and wore us down in the second half. We competed hard but we just couldn’t make enough plays to win the game.”

“They’re an older, stronger, and more mature team than we are and you really have to give their defense a lot of credit,” Fox said. “They were very strong in the second half and they kept up their intensity.”

Georgia went down 9-3 early before erupting for an 11-0 run to pull in front by five, 14-9, with 9:03 left in the first half. Cincinnati failed to score for over nine minutes, finally snapping that drought with a three from Kilpatrick with 6:44 remaining.

A free throw by Nemanja Djurisic with 2:26 to go in the period gave Georgia its first double-digit lead of the night at 10, 27-17, and the Dawgs went up by their largest margin of 11 at 30-19 with 39 seconds left. Kilpatrick closed the half with a jumper to make the Georgia lead nine, 30-21, at intermission.

With Georgia again up 11 with 17:59 to go in the contest, Cincinnati rattled off a 17-4 run to regain the lead by two, 40-38, with 10:09 to play. Dixon’s sharp shooting from long range gave the Bearcats a six-point lead, 49-43, with 4:49 left and Kilpatrick added a three of his own down the stretch to seal it.

Cincinnati outscored the Dawgs by 15 after halftime in earning the 57-51 road win, moving to 5-2 on the year.

Georgia shot 17-for-47 on the night for a 36-percent clip, and was just 3-14 from three-point range. Caldwell-Pope padded his line with seven rebounds and four steals, while Marcus Thornton led UGA on the glass with eight rebounds.

Tonight marked the first meeting between these programs in their histories, as the Bulldogs are now 10-15 against members of the Big East. Georgia had been on the road for its previous four games and had not played in Stegeman Coliseum since Nov. 16 before tonight.

Georgia is back in action next Wed., Dec. 7 when it hosts in-state rival Georgia Tech for a 7 p.m. tip on Fox Sports Net.

SEC Championship Recap

FOOTBALL

With tonight’s loss to #1 LSU, Georgia (10-3) fell to 2-2 in SEC Championship games and saw its 10-game winning streak end. In school history, the Dawgs are 1-4 when facing the top-ranked team. LSU leads the all-time series 16-12-1 including 2-1 in SEC Championship contests.

The Dawg defense held LSU scoreless in the first quarter and without a first down. LSU’s seven points in the first half came on a punt return. Georgia has now outscored its opponents 105-27 in the opening period this season. In fact, Georgia has outscored its SEC opponents 63-20 in the first quarter in 2011. The last time Georgia held an opponent to just seven points in a half was versus #24 Auburn.

The Dawgs held LSU to 11 total yards in the first two quarters. In the first half, the Tigers went 0-for-7 in third down conversions. LSU had never trailed at halftime this season and was only tied at the half with #2 Alabama 3-3. LSU’s only touchdown of the first half came on a 62-yard punt return by Tyrann Mathieu. This was the second punt return for a TD by a Georgia opponent this year (Ole Miss, 81 yards).

Of LSU’s six scoring drives, only two on offense covered more than 26 yards, both in the second half (a 70-yard, 10-play drive in the third quarter; a 4-play, 93-yard drive in 1:51). LSU scored one TD on special teams and one on defense and a total of 21 points came off turnovers. LSU finished with 237 yards of total offense on 48 plays while the Dawgs ran 85 plays for 296 yards.

Redshirt sophomore QB Aaron Murray (16-of-40 for 163 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) connected with senior TE Aron White for a 12-yard TD at the 0:42 mark in the first quarter to put Georgia up 10-0. This improved Murray’s school record mark to 33 touchdown passes in a season while White hauled in his fourth of the year. Freshman Malcolm Mitchell and junior Orson Charles led the way with 4 catches apiece. Freshman TB Ken Malcome had his first career reception (17 yards). Sophomore QB Hutson Mason finished the game, going 4-for-11, 55 yards. Malcome finished as the leading Dawg rusher with 37 yards on five carries.

Senior PK Blair Walsh booted a 40-yard field goal at the 11:45 mark in the opening period to give the Dawgs a 3-0 edge. Walsh set an NCAA record with the connection giving him 44 games in his career with at least one field goal. Former Dawg Billy Bennett held the record with 43. Walsh is now 19-for-31 this season. Currently, he has 404 career points, second in SEC history to Bennett’s record 409. Walsh’s field goal was set up by Murray connected with Tavarres King for a 44-yard reception to the LSU 21-yard line.

The Dawgs had their first successful onside kick since 2008 after the opening score. With Walsh also on the field, senior PK Brandon Bogotay popped the kickoff in air and sophomore ILB Alec Ogletree soared above the crowd to recover the kick. The Dawgs then missed a 45-yard field goal to end their possession. This marked the first time Georgia has recovered an onside kick since Jamie Lindley kicked off and CJ Byrd recovered the ball versus #8 Alabama in 2008.

Murray fumbled on the Georgia 26-yard line early in the third quarter. LSU then scored a touchdown to make it 14-10. Midway through the third quarter, Murray threw an interception in LSU territory. The Tigers then drove down and scored a touchdown to make it 28-10 and added a pick six late in the fourth quarter. Opponents have scored 63 points off 22 Bulldog miscues. LSU came in leading the nation at +19 in turnovers; Georgia was +10.

Sophomore Alec Olgetree had six tackles, including a sack, while OLB Cornelius Washington recorded three tackles, also including a sack.

Sophomore DE Garrison Smith got his first start in place of injured senior DeAngelo Tyson.

Injury Report: Junior ILB Mike Gilliard left the game in the second quarter with a right ankle injury and did not return. Junior TB Carlton Thomas injured his left knee in the third quarter and did not return.

Georgia’s captains on Saturday were TE Orson Charles, LT Cordy Glenn, CB/KOR Brandon Boykin and OLB Jarvis Jones.

Up next, the Dawgs will learn their bowl destination on Sunday.