Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dawgs Roll In Homecoming Win


*** Arkansas defeats South Carolina….Dawgs lead in the east.***

With today’s 63-16 victory, Georgia extended its winning streak to seven in a row. This streak matches the longest since winning the final seven games of the 2007 season. The Dawgs improved to 71-17-2 all-time in Homecoming games.

Coach Mark Richt….

“I thought our guys played very hard. We got an awful lot of them in the game. It’s gratifying to see that many guys who don’t normally have an opportunity to get in the game. We got to spread it around, so some of them scored for the first time in their career, and that had to be a lot of fun for them.”

Aaron Murray was very sharp, there’s no doubt about it. He was on the money and made really good decisions all the way through. When you have five TDs in a half, you’ve played pretty darn good. Brandon Harton played extremely well and Kyle Karempelis had his moments. Branden Smith was spectacular on that first touchdown. It was good to see those guys play well.”

“New Mexico State ran the ball better than I thought they would. You have to give them credit. They kept banging away. They got 400 yards of total offense, which is pretty darn good against our defense.”

“A lot of guys got opportunities that they don’t get often. We told them at halftime, ‘Show your coach that you deserve more playing time.’ I thought we were solid in the second half. It was a good victory for Georgia, and I’m so thankful
for that.”


Junior CB Branden Smith started at TB for the Dawgs and finished with 58 yards rushing on two carries in the opening half, including a 56-yard touchdown run. This marked the first start for Smith at TB since the Louisiana-Lafayette game in 2010 and the third score of his career.

Fellow starting CB Brandon Boykin had the first receiving touchdown of his career on a 42-yard reception. Boykin finished with 33 kickoff return yards and six tackles. Before that play, Boykin had two career catches for 14 yards versus Coastal Carolina.
Redshirt sophomore TB Brandon Harton came off the bench and tallied a career-high 98 yards on 15 carries and his first career touchdown. He finished with a team-best 142 all-purpose yards.

In just the first half, QB Aaron Murray was 18-of-23 for 238 yards and five touchdowns, highlighted by a 53-yard touchdown to freshman Chris Conley. Conley had a career-high 126 yards on five catches to give him the first 100-yard receiving game of his career. Murray’s five scoring strikes to five different players are a career high and equals a school record held by four other players. Most recently, Joe Cox had five touchdowns against Arkansas in 2009. By the way, the NCAA record for TD passes in a quarter is six (David Klingler, Houston, 1991). Sophomore Hutson Mason relieved Murray in the second half and finished a career-best 8-of-10 for 131 yards and one TD.

Quarterback Aaron Murray….

On the running backs…

“We had a lot of faith in Brandon Harton and he played great. Kyle Karempelis also had a great game for us. We felt good about their running ability and about their protection. Those guys were one-on-one with defensive ends and were holding their own.”

On the offensive performance…

“We started off a little slow, but then exploded in the second quarter for 42 points. We definitely got better today. The whole offense did great a job, but it all starts up front with the linemen.”

Tailback Brandon Harton:

On the game…

“It was a little nerve-racking at first, but as the game went on I got more  comfortable. The coaches did a great job all week of preparing us so we knew what to do. My teammates really picked me up, and made me feel like I could do it.”

On getting comfortable…

“The first run after the fumble I felt pretty good. I saw my whole and hit it and knew that as long as I just did my job I’d be fine. I put a lot of trust in the line, and they did a good job of helping me out.”

The Dawgs took a 49-3 lead after the first half. Georgia’s 49 points ties for the most in one half dating back to 1950. The Dawgs also scored 49 versus Northeast Louisiana in 1994. Georgia scored 42 points in the second quarter alone. Available records at the stadium date back to 1960 and the Dawgs have never reached 42 points in a quarter in that span. The most was 35 versus Idaho State in 2010 and William & Mary in 1988. In case you are wondering, the NCAA record for the most points scored in a quarter is 49 by three teams.

Georgia’s 63 points today was the most under Mark Richt, and the most since 1994 when it beat Northeast Louisiana 70-6. The Dawgs tallied 627 yards of total offense, the most under Richt, and the most since a school record of 667 against Southern Miss in 1993. Georgia had nine different Dawgs score a TD today.


Junior N John Jenkins forced a fumble in the first quarter that junior SS Shawn Williams recovered on the Dawg 42-yard line. Smith scored on his 56-yard scamper minutes later. Junior FS Bacarri Rambo snagged his team-leading sixth interception of the year and the 11th of his career late in the second quarter and returned it 51 yards. The Dawgs now have 12 INTs on the year. TE Orson Charles then scored on a 12-yard strike from Murray on the next drive. Senior Jeremy Sulek recovered a fumble with 7:16 left in the contest at the NMS 23. It led to a TD (Mason to Rhett McGowan for 23 yards). Georgia has forced 20 turnovers and converted them into 69 points.

Harton fumbled on the goal line early in the opening quarter and New Mexico State recovered it. But the Aggies turned it right back over to the Dawgs. Opponents have scored 35 points off 12 Dawg miscues.

Senior PK Brandon Bogotay scored his first point of the season on an extra point in the second quarter. He had four extra points in the game while fellow senior PK Blair Walsh also had five PATs. Bogotay, who also shared kickoff duties with Walsh versus the Aggies, also kicked a PAT against Idaho State last year. They both had five kickoffs today with one touchback apiece and no field goals.

The Dawgs held New Mexico State to just three points in the opening half. Jenkins and Boykin led the way with five stops each. Overall, Shawn Williams led the team today in tackles with seven.

Cornerback Brandon Boykin….

On the defense…

“I thought we got off to a pretty slow start, but really played pretty well in the  second quarter. It’s always good to see a lot of guys get playing time like they did in the second half. We’re going to keep working as a team to get better”

On his participation on offensive side of the ball…

“I didn’t know exactly what we were going to do coming into the game, but I knew I’d get called on, and it ended up playing out pretty well.”

Cornerback Branden Smith….

On the defense…

“I thought we played pretty good. We still need a little work, but we’ll get in the film room and work together as a team.”

On touchdown run…

“It really felt good, and I’m just waiting for another opportunity to come my way.”

Junior Branden Smith made the start at both TB and CB for the first time since he did both versus Louisiana-Lafayette in 2010. Smith scored the third running touchdown of his career in the opening period on a 56-yard run. He has now started three games on offense and 14 on defense.

Georgia’s captains on Saturday were junior TB Richard Samuel, redshirt sophomore OLB Jarvis Jones, senior C Ben Jones and senior DE DeAngelo Tyson.

Davis Webb, a senior from Marietta majoring in Finance and International Affairs, was named Homecoming King while Mel Baxter, a senior from Leawood, Kansas, majoring in Communications Studies, was the Homecoming Queen.

The Dawgs (7-2, 5-1 SEC) host Auburn next Saturday in Sanford Stadium. The Tigers are off this weekend. Game time is TBA.

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