Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dawgs Win 55-7

FOOTBALL                                          (Click Pictures To Enlarge)

DSC_0001 With today’s 55-7 victory, the Dawgs have won 13 of their last 14 season openers, including a 9-1 mark under Mark Richt. The Dawgs all-time record for season openers is 89-25-3.

Coach Mark Richt liked what he saw, “It was a good start. It’s a credit to everybody involved. It takes so many people to put the plan together and to have a team effort like that. I want to thank everybody for the job they did. And I want to thank the Dawg Nation for coming out and supporting us.”

DSC_0377 “The defense really stifled Louisiana-Lafayette. We did have one mental error, and one mental error can be the difference between seven points and a shutout. The defense did an exceptional job of shutting them down. The guys were locked in and played extremely hard and disciplined. There were an awful lot of positives.”

“Aaron Murray did well. He’s definitely got some things to learn from. We’ve already pointed some out and we’ll probably have more when we see the tape. That’s part of the learning and growing process. … We didn’t put a tremendous amount in the plan. We tried not to overwhelm them with the plan, especially Murray.”

“It’s been a long time coming for Kris Durham. He’s been practicing tremendously well. He’s been leading the guys during summer workouts and camp. I was glad to see him play well and have a lot of balls thrown his way.”

“South Carolina looked good on TV Thursday night, and I have an awful lot of respect for what I saw. Hopefully they will see our tape and see something to respect us too. We’re looking forward to starting conference play. Winning the league is what it’s all about.”

DSC_0351Louisiana Head Coach Rickey Bustle was impressed, “Georgia is a heck of a football team. They have great talent at a lot of positions. I haven’t seen running backs run like that in a very long time. I’m disappointed in the way our offense played today. We left our defense out there for too long. We could have played a lot better today. I’m more frustrated with the way our team is playing now. There’s no consistency in the way we played.

We dropped two balls where we could’ve had first downs on the first quarter. I think we have to look at the film to see what to take out of it. I told our team we could take some positive things out of this game.”

Points to Ponder: Georgia’s 55-point outburst was the most points for the Dawgs in a season opener since beating Kent State 56-3 in 1998. The most points Georgia has scored in the Richt era was in a 62-17 whipping of Kentucky in 2004.

Non-Conference Success: Also under Coach Richt, Georgia owns a 39-4 record against teams from outside the SEC, and the Dawgs improved to 26-1 against non-conference foes in Athens.

DSC_0148 Senior cornerback Vance Cuff, senior defensive end Demarcus Dobbs, senior fullbacks Fred Munzenmaier and Shaun Chapas were the captains versus the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Munzenmaier also had his first TD catch of his career today.

Redshirt freshman Aaron Murray made his debut (17-for-26, 160 yards, 3 TDs, 1 TD rushing, 1 INT). His rushing TD came in the final play of the first half as he managed to scamper in from 16 yards out.

DSC_0696 Murray on his first career start, “It’s been a long time since I played and it was great to get out there. I really felt great. I was a little nervous earlier this week, but once I got out there and warmed up it really felt great.”

On the game overall, “We worked really hard all week as a team - all preseason – and it really paid off. I’m looking forward to getting back
out there in practice this week.”

On his rushing touchdown, “It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do because we would’ve run out of time before the half (if he didn’t score), but luckily I scored. I need to work on making decisions that will always get us points at the end of the half.”

DSC_0326 On the play of the offensive line, “Those guys are great. They’ve had my back the entire preseason. I had plenty of time all day, and got to get through all of my reads. That was a big part of our success today.”

Freshman Hutson Mason came on for Murray with 2:42 left in the third quarter. As far as QB debuts go, Murray’s numbers ranked second in the Richt era. D.J. Shockley had a school record five TD passes (and 1 rushing) and 289 yards in his debut during the 2005 season opener against Boise State.

DSC_0755 On his first down as a Bulldog, Hutson Mason connected with Logan Gray for a 26-yard touchdown. Prior to this season, there have only been seven QBs in NCAA FBS Subdivision history who have thrown a TD on their first career passing attempt.

It was also Gray’s first TD catch of his career.

Senior SE Kris Durham started at flanker for the Dawgs after redshirting the 2009 season with a shoulder injury. Durham finished with five catches for 83 yards (both career highs) and a touchdown.


His TD reception was the second of his career after having his first in 2008. Durham’s TD also marked redshirt freshman QB Aaron Murray’s first career TD pass.

“It feels great to get back out there. It was just like practice and we’ve been working on that throw all week. Murray made a perfect throw and it did the job.”

On returning from last year’s injury, “I was a little nervous and felt like a freshman again. Once I got out there I felt like I hadn’t missed anything. That’s a big tribute to our strength and conditioning and coaching staffs.”

Durham wore #31, rather than his regular #16, in honor of senior safety Quintin Banks. Banks was forced to retire this preseason because of re-occurring knee injuries. He is still working with the Dawg program as a student coach.

A different Dawg will where #31 each game this season.

DSC_0482 Junior Place Kicker Blair Walsh drilled a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter to give Georgia a 17-0 edge. Walsh is now 7-for-11 from 50+ yards in his career. His career long of 53 came in last year’s season opener at #9 Oklahoma State. He connected for his second FG of the game, a 48 yarder, early in the second quarter. Walsh is now 11-of-12 in his career from 40-49 yards.

Leading Tacklers: Senior ILB Akeem Dent and redshirt sophomore SS Bacarri Rambo led the way with six stops. Dent had a sack, and both had one tackle for a loss. Georgia limited UL to 128 yards on 53 plays.

Points Off Turnovers: Georgia scored 14 points off of three interceptions while UL scored seven points off of one interception.

Junior CB Brandon Boykin recorded the first interception of the season for the Dawgs late in the opening quarter. “Today was just a ton of fun. It’s really fun to get out there and stop the other team a bunch of times. Coach Grantham kept telling us not to let up and we didn’t. We still made some mistakes and we have a lot of work to do, but we’re going to work on getting better this week.” This was Boykin’s fourth career INT.

DSC_0777 Junior free safety Jakar Hamilton returned the second INT 17 yards for a TD. “We were coming out just trying to play hard and play physical. We ran fast and really executed well at the beginning of the game, and set the tempo for the entire afternoon. Our twos played just as well as our ones, and that’s huge for us. We’re going to be able to go far this year if we continue to play like this.”

Georgia’s last three-INT game came in the win at #11 LSU in 2008. 

First-Time Starters: Georgia had eight first-time starters. Sophomore CB Branden Smith, Murray, junior nose tackle DeAngelo Tyson, senior DE Brandon Wood, redshirt sophomore ILB Christian Robinson, redshirt sophomore OLB Cornelius Washington, Hamilton and Rambo.

DSC_0459 Smith got his first start on defense after starting one game on offense in 2009. He also started on offense and returned the Bulldogs’ first punt, marking the first time a Georgia player has started on offense, defense and special teams in the same game since All-American Champ Bailey (CB/TB/PR) in 1998.

Bailey accomplished the feat five times that season. Overall today, Georgia had 13 freshmen or redshirt freshmen see action today. The true freshmen were Hutson Mason, Derek Owens, T.J. Stripling and Alexander Ogletree.

DSC_0024Junior flanker A.J. Green sat out today’s game pursuant to UGA Athletic Association policy and pending a ruling from the NCAA clarifying his status.

Wide receiver Tavares King and running back Washaun Ealey were suspended for one game.

Junior offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant did not feel well prior to the game and sat out also.

DSC_0416 Louisiana senior linebacker Daylon McCoy (#4) on playing the Dawgs, “They were a very agile team. They’re very athletic and you have to give them credit. We could’ve played better on
defense. We didn’t get worn down and we tried to stay positive. We stressed running to the ball.”

On the linebackers, “Our linebacking corps, we trust each other and each player knows that he can step up. We’re going to have to go back and watch film because the effort was there, we just didn’t capitalize when we needed to.”

Louisiana junior tightend Ladarius Green (#89) on the final score, “We didn’t come out with as much focus as in practice. We dropped passes when we shouldn’t have. DSC_0598We’re going to have to go back and watch film and work on our pitch-and-catch. Their defense was as good as I expected it to be. You can’t take anything away from them, but we just should have worked harder.”

On his touchdown catch, “That must’ve just been a blown coverage, and I ended up by myself downfield. It is always hard to focus when you’re by yourself to make the catch.”

DSC_0378 Louisiana junior quarterback Chris Masson (#7) on playing the Dawgs, “Our biggest problem was inconsistency. We needed a first down and couldn’t get anything going. That is my job and I didn’t do it. This falls onto my shoulders. This all stems back to practice we have to practice harder. We can’t get lackadaisical or take plays off. There were a couple of bright spots but not enough.”

Next Week’s Opponent:

Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC) travels to Columbia, S.C., to face South Carolina (1-0, 0-0) on Saturday, Sept. 11.

The Gamecocks downed Southern Mississippi 41-13 in Columbia on Thursday night.

Georgia leads the all-time series 46-14-2 and has won seven of the last nine games.

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