Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dawgs Lose Heartbreaker 45-42


Coach Mark Richt

South Carolina is a tremendous team, and I think Georgia’s a darn good team if we don’t help the opponent too much. I saw an awful lot of fight from our guys, I saw some outstanding plays at crunch time, I saw banged-up guys sucking it up and going – all the ingredients of a very good football team. But very good football teams don’t turn it over the way we did. So we’re potentially a very good football team.

I thought we kept fighting. We took the lead a couple of times and never gave in. The clock just ran out on us basically. We have a number of guys who are inexperienced, but they will get exponentially better. I think we can have a heck
of a football team. I think this is a team that will get better as the season goes along. In time, we’re going to shake off the mistakes and become a good football team.

A lot of guys showed a lot of character. They played their tails off. We just can’t make that many mistakes and expect to win the game. … We’ve still got a lot of football to play, and I think we’re still in the Eastern Division race.

We’ve definitely been through some really tough games, games that take a lot of guts, energy and games where you need the majority of things to go right to get the victories. We lost and we understand that. But we’re going to be a good football team. We’re resilient enough to shake it off and make the corrections.

We have a tight-knit group. Our guys love each other and believe in each other. We will tweak a couple of things and be in good shape. The future is still very bright. We’ve just got to do things to get results on the scoreboard.

Aaron Murray

On the interception…

I think I just threw it a little behind Orson. There was pressure, it was a tight window, and you have to put those right on the money, and I didn't. The defender made a great play on it.

On the game...

I think we had great plays on both sides of the ball. We had some great plays on offense, and the defense had some awesome plays. We just gave up too many big plays and those mistakes hurt us. We can be a great football team, we have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, but those four turnovers hurt us.

Isaiah Crowell

On the game...

I hate to lose, but we have to deal with it. We have to come out this week and be ready to work. There isn't time to put our heads down.

On being put back on the field after the fumble...

I learned that they have confidence in me. [The fumble] was my fault. I told them it wouldn't happen again. It was nice to get back out there so I could try to redeem myself.

Christian Robinson

On the game...

They made some great plays, and we didn't do what we needed to do. It's disappointing, but we're going to go back to the film room, look at our mistakes and get better.

On critics...

It's our job to get the job done, and we didn't do that today. It's not the coaches, it's us. We played our hearts out and just didn't finish. I'm looking forward to getting back out there.

Brandon Boykin

On mood in the locker room after the loss...

People were disappointed, but no matter what, we all know that we have to come back on Monday ready to work. We know that we're capable of winning a lot of games, and winning close games. We're ready to get back out on the field.

On kickoff returns...

I told the team before the game that I was going to give all I got. The blockers did a great job of opening the holes, and I just got myself through the holes. I was happy I was able to give the offense good field position.


Tonight marked the highest scoring game in the Georgia / South Carolina series history as the teams combined for 87 points. The previous was in 1970 in Athens when Georgia won 52-34. USC scored 21 points off three Dawg miscues. For the eighth time in the last 11 meetings, the margin of victory was seven points or less. Georgia is 6-5 in these games.

After playing two teams ranked in the top 12, the Dawgs are now 0-2 for the first time since 1996.

Senior CB/KOR Brandon Boykin saw action on defense, special teams and offense for the second straight week. He had two tackles, one interception, 14 rushing yards and 184 kickoff return yards on a school record seven returns. The 184 yards ranks third best in school history. In the fourth quarter, he had a key 58-yard kickoff return that setup a TD with 6:28 left for a brief 35-31 edge.

Freshman RB Isaiah Crowell scored his first career touchdown at the 6:09 mark in the third period to give the Dawgs a 20-14 lead. During the 43-yard scoring drive, Crowell accounted for all of the yards with two catches and two rushes. The receptions were also the first two of his career. Georgia’s other #1, Branden Smith, set up the scoring drive on a 32-yard punt return.

Crowell finished the game with a team-high 118 yard rushing and 40 yards receiving. This is the first 100-yard rushing game for the Dawgs since Washaun Ealey accomplished the feat versus Georgia Tech last year with 118.

Sophomore QB Aaron Murray (19-for-29, 248 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT ) set a career high with four touchdown passes against the Gamecocks.

Junior FLK Rantavious Wooten hauled in a 26-yard touchdown from Aaron Murray at the 2:53 mark to give the Dawgs a 13-7 edge. This was Wooten’s first score of the year and the fourth of his career. In the fourth quarter, redshirt freshman SE Michael Bennett grabbed his first career touchdown. Bennett’s three catches in the game marked the first in his career. Following Bennett’s score, Murray connected with junior Tavarres King for a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 28-all. This was the first 2-point conversion for the Dawgs since Murray completed one versus Florida in 2010.

The Dawgs tallied their second and third interceptions of the year in the opening half as junior FS Bacarri Rambo snagged a pick late in the first quarter. This is the sixth INT of his career. Georgia turned the INT into a field goal and has now scored three points on three turnovers. Senior CB Brandon Boykin grabbed his first pick of the year as the second quarter expired near the Dawg goal line. Boykin now has seven in his career and is the team’s active leader. Branden Smith had Georgia’s first INT of the year against #5 Boise State last weekend.

Senior PK Blair Walsh tallied nine points to move into third place all-time in Dawg history with 315 career points, passing Herschel Walker who had 314. Walsh connected on his first two field goals of the year after hitting a 37 yarder with 5:59 remaining in the opening period and another 39 yarder at the 3:09 mark in that quarter. However, he missed his third attempt at 33 yards. He is now 16-for-21 from the 30-39 yard range and 57-for-72 in his career.

South Carolina’s DE Melvin Ingram ran a fake punt back 68 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to put the Gamecocks up 14-13. This marked the first fake punt attempted versus the Dawgs since Vanderbilt’s Brett Upson ran a 7-yard rush to get a first down in 2009. Ingram added a 5-yard fumble return for a TD in the fourth quarter, the first against the Dawgs since 2006 (Ray McDonald, UF).

The Dawgs had three first-time starters. Redshirt sophomore OLB Chase Vasser, redshirt sophomore OG Dallas Lee and freshman ILB Amarlo Herrera all took the field as starters for the first time. Herrera is the second true freshman Dawg to start a game this year after WR Malcolm Mitchell started versus #5 Boise State.

Georgia’s captains on Saturday were senior C Ben Jones, junior ILB Christian Robinson, senior DE DeAngelo Tyson and senior TE Aron White.

The Dawgs wore black #23 decals on the back of their helmets today with the initials “J.E.” above the number. The initials stand for Valdosta native James Eunice. Eunice was expected to be a walk-on this fall, but drowned in an accident earlier this year.

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier:

Opening Comment…

This was a good win for us. Give Georgia credit, they outplayed us but we were fortunate to win. That’s how football is sometimes. We had some big plays and had a few defensive scores, which helped us out a lot. I think Melvin Ingram deserves a lot of credit for making some huge plays. He’s a heck of an athlete.

On Marcus Lattimore…

We weren’t going to forget about him. He gives us out best chance to win. At the beginning, there wasn’t much room to run there because Georgia’s line was able to stuff us. It opened up some in the second half and he was able to move the ball. It’s a great back and we had to keep going to him. He gives us hope to make any kind of run.

On importance of holding Georgia to field goals…

They were dominating the game and had to kick field goals. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Those type of plays can come back to haunt you. We lost one here a few years ago like that. Our defense played well in the first half, but the pass defense got shoddy in the second half. Luckily we were able to get some scores from our defense which helped us get the win.

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