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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Post-Game Notes: Green Gets Revenge

In the days leading up to the game, Arkansas cornerback Ramon Broadway made a glaring mistake in his preparations for Georgia receiver A.J. Green. He said he didn’t think Green was that much better than most of the other receivers he had faced.

Broadway and the rest of the Razorbacks’ secondary got a firsthand taste of Green’s revenge Saturday as the Georgia receiver scored twice in a thrilling shootout in Fayetteville, with the Bulldogs prevailing 52-41.

“Everybody knows how good he is in our locker room, and that’s what matters,” said quarterback Joe Cox, who had five touchdown passes in the game. “If somebody wants to run their mouth before the game, that’s their problem. Obviously it might not end up good after the game when he has a couple touchdowns on them.”

Green’s second touchdown with 10:46 left to play proved to be the turning point in a back-and-forth contest in which the two offenses traded blows throughout and the defenses struggled to find their footing.

Cox completed 18-of-26 passes for 375 yards and Green had seven catches for 137 yards.

“I think we had a perfect game plan for everything they were doing and we knew we had them on their heels,” Cox said. “We knew if we executed and made plays that we weren’t going to be stopped, and that was how it was the whole night. It was a fun feeling.”

Green's big game wasn't meant as a slap in the face to his critics, he said, but he didn't have the comments from Broadway in the back of his mind as he racked up catch after catch.

“That’s disrespect to me," Green said, "but I showed them today.”

COX SETS MARK

For the past nine months, Joe Cox heard plenty of criticism that he couldn't match the offensive fireworks of his predecessor, Matthew Stafford. Saturday, Cox put himself in rarified air -- tying a school record with five touchdown passes in a game, helping Georgia past Arkansas 52-41.

Cox's mark ties him with D.J. Shockley, David Greene and, of course, Stafford. The difference, however, was that Stafford's mark came in a loss against Georgia Tech last season, but Cox rallied his troops to a win.

"It's pretty cool, and it's definitely not something I expected to happen," Cox said. "We didn't know it was going to be a shootout like that, but if a team wants to make it a shootout, we've got to find a way to answer."

Cox finished the game 18-of-26 passing for 375 yards, both career highs. He was matched pass-for-pass by Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, who set the Razorbacks record with five touchdowns and 408 yards passing.

More than the numbers Cox posted, however, it was his demeanor in the huddle that made the difference, tight end Orson Charles said.

“My feeling was that we couldn’t be stopped, and Joe got in the huddle and said, ‘We can keep going, they won’t stop us.’”

BIG RUN MEANS A BIG DAY

In his first start, Richard Samuel couldn’t manage to break a tackle, but still mustered 87 yards.

A week later, his second start was hampered by Georgia turnovers and he got just 15 touches.

By Week 3, however, Samuel was ready for his breakout performance, and he showcased his impressive speed in the second quarter with an 80-yard touchdown run.

It was Samuel’s second touchdown of the season and the longest touchdown run by a Bulldogs’ player since Knowshon Moreno had an 80-yarder against Troy in 2007. Robert Edwards was the last Georgia player to run for a touchdown of 80 yards or more in an SEC game when he scored on an 80-yard run against Kentucky in 1997.

“It was a needed run for the running backs, just to show that they’re good for more than just five, six yards a carry,” Samuel said. “It was a good little run.”

Samuel ended the game with 16 carries for 104 yards — without his 80-yard scamper factored in, the sophomore averaged under two yards per carry at 15 rushes for 26 yards.

HAPPY RETURNS

Caleb King got his first taste of action this season after sitting out more than a month with a sore hamstring.

After weeks of confusion on whether the sophomore tailback would be available to play, King finally took his first handoff in the first quarter against Arkansas – a 5-yard run. He got back into the action in the second quarter with two more runs, both more than 10 yards, helping the Bulldogs to 122 rushing yards in the first half.

"It felt real good not having a broke wheel," King said. "I'm just glad the coaches still had the trust in me to put me back in the fire."

In what turned into a pass-happy affair, King finished the game with 11 carries for 59 yards. Three of his carries came as the Bulldogs tried to run the clock on their final drive.

“It’s just adding another asset to the little rotation we’ve got going on here,” Samuel said. “It’s good to have him back in the rotation and just playing football.”

GIVE IT AWAY

Georgia’s problems holding onto the football surfaced quickly against Arkansas.
After turning the ball over twice in the first quarter a week ago, and the results were no better against the Razorbacks.

Prince Miller muffed early in the first quarter after Brandon Boykin backed into the play on coverage. Arkansas responded with a touchdown four plays later.

With 24 seconds left in the first quarter, Joe Cox tossed to Samuel, who mishandled the ball and the Razorbacks’ Adrian Davis recovered the fumble. Again, Arkansas made Georgia pay for the miscue, with Ryan Mallett hitting Greg Childs for a 30-yard touchdown on the next play.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over a third time in the second quarter when Cox threw an interception down the middle of the field on a third-and-long play.

Georgia now has nine turnovers on the season, leading to 40 points by the opposition.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot and we still put up more than 50 points,” said wide receiver Michael Moore. “That just shows that we still have a long way to go. We can’t make mistakes and stupid penalties. We still have a long way to go and that just shows that we can be that much better.”

CHIPPING IN

Two Bulldogs got their first career touchdowns Saturday.

Redshirt freshman Tavarres King made the first big play of his career, hauling in a career-high 50-yard pass in the third quarter for his first touchdown as a Bulldog. He would add a 14-yard, third-down reception early in the fourth quarter.

Freshman tight end Orson Charles got in on the action too, reeling in two consecutive third-quarter passes for 62 yards and his first Georgia score.

“It was awesome. It was everything I dreamed it would be,” King said. “We had a lot of fun out there today. On that touchdown, Joe just looked at me, I looked at him and I knew it was coming my way. I embraced my opportunity and went up and got the ball.”

With Kris Durham out for the season, Moore is the Bulldogs' only scholarship senior at receiver. After career-highs in January’s Capital One Bowl, Moore had been quiet this season.

But Saturday he proved a valuable weapon at Cox’s disposal, besting his previous season totals and career-highs with six receptions for 91 yards.

EXTRA POINTS

-- Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent was a surprise scratch from the game, which left the Bulldogs thin at the position, given the absence of Darius Dewberry as well. Marcus Dowtin got the start at middle linebacker, with Darryl Gamble at Sam linebacker.

-- Blair Walsh’s 35-yard field goal in the first quarter, 37-yarder in the second and 31-yarder in the fourth make him a perfect 6-for-6 on the season.

-- Rantavious Wooten’s carry for no gain in the second quarter was the first touch of his career.

-- Bulldogs’ defensive end Justin Houston made his first start of the season after serving a two-game suspension to start the year.

-- Georgia senior Justin Fields left the game with an injured shoulder and did not return. Corner Vance Cuff also left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return.

-- Georgia’s 52 points matches its total from a win at LSU in 2008 as the most the Bulldogs have scored in an SEC road game since 2004.

*Thanks to Tyler Estep for assisting with these notes.

** I'll get to the Willie Martinez commentary tomorrow.

6 comments:

Dawg Stephen said...

I was about to go to bed and saw you posted....now im so sleepy I have to wait till tomorrow you wrote so much...Good job im sure as always David.

ClintThomason said...

Here's my Willie Martinez commentary, he sucks and needs to be fired. Florida will score 80 on us.

Steve said...

Willy ain't perfect, but let's not forget the players.

No pressure from the defensive line + some inexplicable blown coverages + some pretty nice throwing and catching by Arkansas = lots of points.

Glad we got the win. And that sure was a fun game to watch.

Knowshon4Heisman said...

All I ask from Willie M. is that he works as hard as David pollack, Thomas davis, and Rennie curran have for us!

rbubp said...

Steve, it's Willie's job to get the players prepared through teaching, game plan, and execution.

On top of that, it's Willie's job to recruit and get the right players.

I have personally been patient. Last night was the last straw for me; the results are unacceptable. If things don't change immediately and stay changed, the guy needs to go.

Furthermore, the kickoffs...what is the f'ing ever-loving deal with the kickoffs??? Kickoffs???? I just hope we can win a game!

Coach Fab, just stop kicking off and give the other team the ball on the 40. just forget it, we obviously cannot do it.

Dawgfan said...

rbubp- I agree 100%. This is on Willie's head. It's his job to get the players prepared. Did you hear Erin Andrews say that in the 4th quarter, Willie said he thought we were doing well! I have been patient but I hope his gone at the end of the season.