- Tuesday, 03 September 2013 08:19
- Author: Murray Poole
Photo: Rob Saye/BI
The Bulldogs scored a lot of points, gained a lot of yardage and showed they are capable of moving the ball both on the ground and through the air … when not stopping themselves with turnovers and penalties. And the young and rebuilt defense stopped the explosive Tigers on a number of occasions, prompting defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to say he was proud of his unit’s effort in a hostile environment and that he saw a number of good things the Bulldogs can build on.
What Didn’t Work
There was just no consistency on either the offense or defense’s part when it came to making the clutch plays this night, plays you simply have to make when going against one of the best teams in the country. Particularly disappointing was the offense going six consecutive possessions without cashing points over a stretch in the second and third quarters. And, we’ve already harped on the costly turnovers, penalties and just a failure to execute in crucial junctures of the contest.
Gurley, despite missing time after straining a quad muscle on his long touchdown jaunt, showed he’s ready for a huge sophomore season by running for 154 yards on just 12 carries, with two scores. Making his first start, fullback Hicks ran for 38 yards on just three carries and also raced 38 yards on his lone pass reception. Murray threw for 323 yards, on 20-of-29 completions but did have a pick, that lost fumble and of course was sacked the four times. Returning to the lineup after his 2012 injury, junior Michael Bennett led the receivers with five catches for 60 yards while Scott-Wesley stepped up with four grabs for 55 yards. Barber punted for a 47.4 average on five kicks and Beless made all five of his extra point attempts while subbing for the suspended Marshall Morgan. Defensively, junior linebackers Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera had big efforts, with 13 and 12 total tackles, respectively. Then came DBs Tray Matthews and Connor Norman with eight stops each.
Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game
Kevin Butler, former University of Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2013 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ season-opening 38-35 loss to Clemson Saturday night.
OFFENSE – Sophomore tailback Todd Gurley, who ran for 154 yards on just 12 carries, including touchdown jaunts of 75 and 12 yards against the Tigers despite leaving the game early with a quad strain.
“He came right out of the gate just like we all expected of Todd Gurley throughout the preseason,” said Butler. “He showed tremendous speed and power against an elite, top five team. He had just a tremendous burst of speed on the 75-yard touchdown run. And along with that his demeanor and his leadership are invaluable to the success of the Bulldogs’ offense this year.”
DEFENSE – Junior linebacker Ramik Wilson who had 13 total tackles and teamed with fellow inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera (12 tackles) to lead a young Georgia defense which although surrendering 38 points to the potent Clemson offense, still made a number of key stops in the game that pleased coordinator Todd Grantham.
“In a game where we wanted to limit the rushing by Clemson more than we were able to, Ramik stepped up and played a very physical, fundamentally sound game,” said Butler. “His 13 tackles builds confidence and certainly we’re going to need that consistent play throughout the year.”
SPECIAL TEAMS – Sophomore punter Collin Barber, who averaged 47.4 yards on five kicks including a long punt of 57 yards. Barber also kicked off for the Bulldogs with several of his kicks going into the end zone. And, also, he ran five yards on a fake punt to pick up a key first down.
“Collin, in the first half, played a valuable role in field position with his high, towering punts,” said Butler. “Being effective like he was, it was a complement to both the offense and the defense when we were in the field position battle with Clemson throughout the game. He also did a wonderful job filling in for Marshall Morgan kicking off. Also, he was able to do the fake punt and get a first down, which was huge because I believe we scored off that drive.”