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Saturday, September 6, 2008

UGA-CMU Postgame Notes

It had been nearly two years since Caleb King had tasted paydirt.

The redshirt freshman running back was injured the second half of his senior season in high school, then spent last year redshirted on Georgia's sideline.

So when he was given the ball on Central Michigan's 3-yard line in the second quarter of Georgia's 56-17 win Saturday, King knew what he had to do.

Only, his first crack at the end zone came up short as King was stood up at the 1-yard line. King was terrified that might be his last shot.

"I thought Knowshon was going to run it in and get me out, but he didn't," King said.

On the next play, King drove a wall of defenders backward into the end zone for Georgia's second score of the game and the first of his college career.

"I hadn't scored in a long time," King said. "It felt good."

King took a backseat to teammate Knowshon Moreno for much of the game, but still managed to tally 28 yards on seven carries.

Freshman running back Richard Samuel, who has been battling King for playing time throughout the first two games, came on in the fourth quarter and scored on a 1-yard run for his first career touchdown, too. On the sideline, King was one of the first to offer a hug.

"I congratulated him," King said, "then I said, Let's get another one.' "


During the summer, quarterback Matthew Stafford attended a camp where he got some lessons from Indianapolis Colts star Peyton Manning. Saturday, Stafford did a nice imitation of the Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

Against a Central Michigan defense insistent on throwing varying looks at Georgia, Stafford routinely ran up to the line of scrimmage to check out of plays at the last second a signature Manning move.

A year ago, Stafford said he wouldn't have been confident enough to make those changes at the line of scrimmage. This year, however, he's in complete control of the offense.

"I think why not," Stafford said. "It's the ability to get us in the right play at the right time. Coach trusts me to do that, and I trust the offensive line to hear what I'm saying and execute."

That trust paid off to the tune of 552 yards of total offense, with Stafford topping 200 yards passing for the second straight week without an interception.

"The way they run their defense, they do a lot of twisting, they do a lot of blitzing, so Matt was trying to put us in the best scenario to score," left guard Vince Vance said. "And I think he did a heck of a job of it considering we scored 56 points."


All week, Georgia's coaches and defensive players were quizzed on the electric quarterback from Central Michigan. A year ago, Dan LeFevour became only the second quarterback in history to throw for more than 3,000 yards and rush for another 1,000.

Saturday, the Bulldogs made it their mission to slow him down, but that didn't mean he didn't leave a good impression.

LeFevour finished the game with 250 yards passing and two touchdowns, but his work ethic is what really impressed his counterpart on the Georgia sideline.

"That guy is a heck of a player," Stafford said. "He does a lot of great things for that team. He's a tough dude, he's a heck of a football player. He got hit a bunch by our guys, and he kept getting up."


Blair Walsh's first kickoff last week went into the end zone. After that, the results weren't as pretty.

Head coach Mark Richt listed Walsh's ability to prevent long kick returns as a top concern heading into the Central Michigan game, and the results didn't ease his mind.

The Chippewas started seven drives beyond their own 30-yard line and Walsh was able to pin them inside the 20 just twice.

"He's not been real consistent with his kickoff yet," Richt said.

Walsh said coaches had asked him not to comment on the situation, but Richt said the team may consider giving walk-on freshman Jamey Lindley a chance to earn the job.

"We may go with him, I don't know," Richt said. "I think they're both capable, but right now, we're not consistent."


King's touchdown came after Moreno came up lame early in the second quarter and was forced to the sideline.

This was the second straight game Moreno was forced out of action last week he left with leg cramps and didn't return but he said there was nothing for fans to be concerned about.

Moreno returned to action on Georgia's next series and finished that drive with a 1-yard score of his own.

"He got dinged a little during pass protection," Richt said. "I think he got knocked a little silly for just a second. He just had to clear his head a little bit."


-- Georgia's win moves them to 32-2 in non-conference games under Mark Richt. That record includes a 22-0 mark at home.

-- The 56 points were the most scored at Sanford Stadium by a Richt-led Georgia team. It was the second most point scored in his tenure behind the 62 UGA scored at Kentucky in 2004.

-- Dobbs' interception return was the longest by a UGA defender since Odell Thurman returned one 99 yards against Auburn in 2003.

-- The return was Dobbs' first career touchdown, joining both Caleb King and Richard Samuel, who also scored for the first time in their careers Saturday.

-- Rennie Curran led UGA in tackles with 11, including two for a loss. It was the third 10+ tackle performance of his career.

-- Georgia's 99-yard TD drive capped by a 1-yard Moreno TD in the fourth quarter was the longest for the Bulldogs since 2001.

-- Israel Troupe caught two passes in the game -- the first two of his career.

-- This was the seventh 100-yard game of Moreno's career.

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