Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game: Georgia 52 – Georgia Tech 7

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Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game: Georgia 52 – Georgia Tech 7

Kevin Butler
Kevin Butler

Kevin Butler, former Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2019 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. And this season Butler has added a new category to his superlative awards, “The Kicker” (Unsung Contributor to the Game). Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 52-7 win over Georgia Tech Saturday. 

Compiled by Murray Poole

Jake Fromm (11) shares in the celebration of tight end Charlie Woerner's (89) first touchdown reception as a Bulldog, first-quarter, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019
Jake Fromm (11) shares in the celebration of tight end Charlie Woerner’s (89) first touchdown reception as a Bulldog, first-quarter, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019

OFFENSE 

Senior tight end Charlie Woerner, who scored the first touchdown of his Georgia career when he pulled in a late first-quarter 20-yard pass from his roommate, Jake Fromm. Woerner’s touchdown catch lifted the Bulldogs into a 17-0 lead over the Yellow Jackets.

“The senior tight end accomplished a goal that had been out of his reach for four years when he caught his first touchdown pass against the hated rival Georgia Tech,” said Butler. “Charlie is the ultimate team player. Most tight ends would want to be featured in an offense catching passes and scoring touchdowns but Charlie has made his name as the tight end that will do anything to win. Charlie is an extremely physical tight end with blocking skills much like an offensive lineman. His athletic ability makes him a weapon and hopefully, his scoring touchdowns will not be held to just one. Having a great bloodline creates good media for Charlie but he only wants to be known as an SEC champion and he’ll get that opportunity Saturday. He is the ultimate damn good dog and can be a factor the rest of the season.” 

UGA linebacker Monty Rice (32) introduces himself to the Yellow Jacket ball carrier, first-quarter Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019
UGA linebacker Monty Rice (32) introduces himself to the Yellow Jacket ball carrier, first-quarter Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019

DEFENSE 

Junior linebacker Monty Rice, who had eight solo tackles to lead a Georgia defense that held the Yellow Jackets to the one touchdown, just seven first downs, 99 yards rushing and 40 yards passing.

“This is certainly not the first time Monty has been recognized as player of the week and this week is no different for his recognition,” said Butler. “The linebacker from Montezuma created havoc for the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech with his physical play and dominating performance. Monty had eight solo tackles to lead the Georgia defense that is ranked fourth in the nation in total defense. Rice’s play has enabled the Georgia defense to grow and become more powerful with each game. Currently, the No. 2 rush defense in the nation is complemented by the 15th-ranked passing defense in the nation and Monty is the captain of that force. As we enter championship week, Monty’s preparation and leadership will be a huge factor in preparing for one of the most potent offenses in the nation when the Bulldogs face LSU at Mercedes-Benz on Saturday. It will take a huge showing from a great defense to neutralize the LSU offense and Monty will lead the charge.”

Dominick Blaylock (8), first-quarter Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019
Dominick Blaylock (8), first-quarter Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019

SPECIAL TEAMS

Freshman punt returner Dominick Blaylock, senior place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship and junior kickoff and punt coverage performer Prather Hudson, who all contributed to the Bulldogs’ romp over the Jackets and, as Kevin Butler points out, can do even better in the upcoming SEC Championship Game against LSU.

“It was a weird game for special teams so this week I will sprinkle a few accolades for people that can do better,” said Butler. “Dominick Blaylock has brought back the fear of a punt return for the University of Georgia. Dominick’s 32-yard return of a punt Saturday presents a problem for the LSU Tigers. His speed and his ability to get the ball upfield can be a factor. Dominick, keep your eyes on the ball, catch it first! Rodrigo Blankenship will be a weapon and has been an offensive weapon for the Bulldogs all year long and Saturday versus LSU he could be the difference. The 49-yarder versus Georgia Tech got Georgia off on the right foot. Rodrigo, we need all of them to go in from now on. Prather Hudson is an individual who does not get recognized enough. All season long and Saturday against the Yellow Jackets, Prather made tackles to limit returns on punts and kickoffs for the Bulldog special teams. His play Saturday against LSU will be key as they have tremendous return capabilities, both on punts and kickoffs. As Tech’s onside kick attempt showed Saturday Prather had his hands on the ball and then lost it, which could be costly against LSU. These three individuals are my special team players of the week and as a special team guy myself, I pointed out they can do better and I know they know that, and that’s what it will take to be SEC champions.”

Dawg fans take over Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, November 30, 2019
Dawg fans take over Bobby Dodd Stadium,
Georgia vs. Georgia Tech,
Saturday, November 30, 2019

THE KICKER

The Georgia fan base, which continues to take over visiting stadiums. It was estimated that Saturday’s crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field was comprised of close to 70 percent of Bulldog fans, who spurred their team to the most points ever scored by UGA against Tech and to also the biggest ever margin of victory over the Yellow Jackets.

“Once again the Georgia fan base, the Dawg Nation, the red and black wave and the fans that run this state, showed up in force at the concrete monument they call Grant Field,” said Butler. “The Dawg Nation has been a factor all year and continued their dominance of each stadium they visit with an enthusiastic and supportive atmosphere delivered to their team. At least 70 percent of the concrete site was occupied with red and black and it mirrored the dominance that the team showed on the field. The Dawg Nation will be needed more than ever Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the SEC championship. I encourage the Dawg Nation to continue to be a factor in this great march to a championship. Red and black over yellow and purple will be the theme come Saturday. Our Bulldog team plays off the crowd and our crowd is the best there is. Continue that support Saturday! We’re in the quarterfinals and we need the Dawg Nation to come together to bring home a victory!”

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.