Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dawgs Defeat Georgia Southern 45-14

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…
"It was a very good game. It was hard fought. Georgia Southern has an outstanding football team. They run their offense well. They're well coached, even the little things like sprinting to the other side at the end of a quarter. They have a plan for everything, and they execute it well."

On the first half…
"We got a couple of breaks in the first half. If not for the chop block, they may score right there. Instead, they had to kick a field goal and left some time on the clock. I was very impressed with the job Murray and the boys did with less than a minute to go."

On Aaron Murray…
"Murray has been very accurate. It's got a lot to do with protection and routes and schemes, but if it's not put on the money, you don't have a chance."

On the second half…
"We tackled better in the second half. We had to make sure we were tackling better and wrapping up better."

On Chris Conley…
"Conley really did a good job. He was on special teams and he was on offense, and he's had more opportunities with the injuries. He's been blocking good and running good routes."

On the 10th win…
"Ten wins is big. It's great to have that many with a few games to go. To win 10 in our conference is a big deal."

On the Georgia Tech game next week…
"Georgia Tech is very similar in philosophy. It's not run exactly the same way, but a lot of things they do on the perimeter and in blocking style are similar. It's good that we got that week (of practice) under our belt. Tech is so hard to stop. They've got one of the best offensive teams in America. We've got our work cut out for us."

On the second half of the season…
"The second half of the season has been pretty impressive. We're happy with the results. I think the guys are focused and they think we've got a chance to do something special. All of our goals are still ahead of us, and we're happy about that."

Most Touchdowns And Another 10-Win Season: Georgia (10-1) scored six touchdowns today in the 45-14 victory, giving the Dawgs a school record 56 TDs this year. The old mark was 54 set in 1942 (12 games) and in 2011 (13 games). Also, Georgia collected its 10th win of the season, which is the 20th time in school history a team has posted 10 wins in a year. It marks the first back-to-back 10-win seasons for them since 2007-08 as Georgia was 10-4 last year.

Defending The Triple-Option: The Dawgs held Georgia Southern to 14 points on 318 yards of total offense (302-rushing, 16-passing). The Eagles had 58 rushing attempts and went 1-for-4 in passing attempts.

Offensive Leaders: Junior quarterback Aaron Murray finished the game 18-for-28 for 330 yards and 4 TDs. He had scoring strikes to sophomore split end Malcolm Mitchell, sophomore flanker Chris Conley and senior flanker Tavarres King. Conley had a career-high two TD catches and 76 receiving yards on the day and now has three this year and five in his career. King now has eight touchdown catches this year and 20 in his career, which is tied with Fred Gibson (2001-04) for third all-time. Sophomore quarterback Parker Welch connected on a 13-yard scoring strike to redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley late in the 4th quarter. It was first career touchdown pass and catch for the duo. Junior tight end Arthur Lynch hauled in a career-long 49-yard reception from Murray on a 3rd-and-long in the first quarter. His previous career long was 38 yards against Tennessee this year. Lynch had a 15-yard catch on the next play as the Dawgs finished the 79-yard, 3:39 drive with a Todd Gurley 1-yard TD.

Flanker Chris Conley

On getting more involved in the game plan…
“It feels good. It’s been a lesson in patience, especially since I’ve been playing with greater guys. I’m thankful for the opportunity and the coaches trust in me to call plays for me.”

On the offense today…
“It’s great as an offense, especially since we got started slowly. We work on things all week to be a better passing team, to be a better running team and to be a better blocking teams and today I think we showed some of that.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the first half…
“We were just shooting ourselves in the foot. We were driving the ball, but kept committing penalties or turning the ball over which helped Georgia Southern stay in the game. We need to work this week to correct that and be sharper.”

On Chris Conley…
“He’s been playing great and it’s good to see him step up. We never like to lose players to injury, but [Chris] has shown that he’s able to step up and make plays for us.”

On looking ahead…
“We just have to continue to focus in practice and in the game. This is a week-to-week game and we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”

Quick Scoring Strike: Georgia went up 17-7 late in the second quarter after a 59 second scoring drive. The Dawgs went 78 yards on six plays. Murray connected with Mitchell for a 24-yard touchdown with only four seconds remaining in the half. This is the seventh scoring drive for Georgia this season that has been in a minute or under.

Gurley Hits 1,000: Todd Gurley finished with 68 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts and has 1,041 yards on the season. He is the 11th Dawg to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season and the first since Knowshon Moreno in 2008. Gurley is only the second true freshman (Herschel Walker) to have 1,000 or more yards in a season. Gurley now has 12 touchdowns on the year. Fellow freshman tailback Keith Marshall had 29 yards rushing on seven carries in the game. The “Gurshall” pair now has 1,695 yards and 18 touchdowns compared to Herschel Walker’s 1,616 and 15 scores in 1980.

Tailback Keith Marshall

On the offense’s play today…
“It’s really good. Obviously, we didn’t run a ton but I think that we were pretty solid in the pass protection game.”

On scoring just before the end of the half…
“That was a ten-point swing so it was big. It kind of crushed there momentum and gave it to us. I think after we got settled in we looked pretty good.”

Going For It: Georgia is now 2-of-6 on fourth down conversions after converting one in the opening period. Junior fullback Zander Ogletree picked up a yard to the Georgia Southern 1-yard line before Gurley ran in for the score. The Eagles also went for it on 4th-and-3 in Georgia territory during the first quarter and again on their final play in the 4th quarter but did not convert. Dawg opponents are now just 3-of-11 on fourth down conversions this season.

Points Off Turnovers: Georgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon fumbled the ball late in the first quarter and defensive end Garrison Smith recovered it. Four plays later, split end Rhett McGowan caught a 19-yard pass and gave it back to the Eagles on a fumble. Georgia Southern later scored on a 55-yard drive. In the third quarter, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree recovered a fumble around midfield. Conley snagged his second touchdown catch of the game on the next series. Georgia has scored 51 points off 23 turnovers while its opponents have tallied 56 points off 16 Dawg miscues.

Leading Tackler: Junior inside linebacker Alec Ogletree led the team with 12 tackles, including one tackle for loss. Ogletree now has eight games with at least 10 tackles, including six this season in only seven games played.

Inside Linebacker Alec Ogletree

On the game today…
“It just took us some time to get comfortable with what they were doing and what plays they were going to run. Once we got comfortable with them, I thought we played a pretty good game.”

On next week…
“It definitely will help [playing Georgia Southern the week before Georgia Tech], but we have to come back to practice this week and work. This was a good test, but we have some things to fix.”

Outside Linebacker Jarvis Jones

On the game today…
“I think that we could have played better. We did win, and overall I think that we played well, but when we go back and look at the tape we’ll see things that we need to fix.”

On staying focused…
“We just have to keep fighting. Having this game before Tech is good, but we have to get back to practice and focus on this week’s game plan, and then the week after focus on Atlanta. It’s week by week and we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”

Starters: Senior inside linebacker Christian Robinson made his first start of the year and the 16th of his career. Robinson last started in the 2012 Outback Bowl. Robinson responded with 9 stops.

Injury Report: Redshirt freshman fullback Merritt Hall injured his right ankle in the first quarter and did not return. Hall had missed the last two games with a right ankle injury.

Up Next: No. 5 Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC) hosts Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3 ACC) at Sanford Stadium on November 24th. ESPN will televise the game at noon.

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