Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game – UMass

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Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game – UMass

Kevin Butler - Georgia vs. UMass 2018
Kevin Butler – Georgia vs. UMass 2018

Kevin Butler, former Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2018 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 Bulldogs’ Unsung Contributor to the Game. Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 66-27 win over UMass Saturday.
Junior wide receiver Tyler Simmons, who tallied the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of the day on a 49-yard run on the jet sweep and also pulled in a 71-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm as Georgia totaled 701 yards of offense … second best in school history.
“The junior wide receiver was spectacular Saturday at Sanford Stadium versus the University of Massachusetts,” said Butler. “His electrifying 71-yard touchdown reception vaulted Georgia’s offense in a direction that could not be stopped by the Minutemen. The Powder Springs product also ripped off a 49-yard touchdown run that involved moves, speed and desire. As we head towards Georgia Tech a lot of people got to show their talent in a game like UMass and no one showed more than Tyler Simmons on Saturday. He was a beast! Keep it up Tyler! DGD!”
Junior linebacker Tae Crowder, who picked off a UMass pass in the third quarter to set up Rodrigo Blankenship’s 40-yard field goal, and also notched three tackles as the Bulldogs limited the Minutemen running game to just 103 net yards.
“The junior from Hamilton turned in a gritty performance against the spread offense of the Massachusetts Minutemen,” said Butler. “Tae is becoming a leader on the field with his consistency and performance. Saturday’s performance netted three tackles in a game that a lot of players played in but, more importantly, Crowder’s interception and return for 13 yards stopped the Minutemen’s aerial attack in the third quarter and resulted in a Rodrigo field goal for Georgia. This week against Georgia Tech we will need Tae’s speed and tackling ability to beat the engineers of cement city.”
Georgia kick returners Mecole Hardman and James Cook, who provided the Bulldogs with excellent field position on Saturday, enabling the offense to score every single time it had the football, with the exception of the final drive when the Bulldogs simply ran out the clock.
“The tandem of Mecole Hardman and James Cook on the kickoff return team clearly shows how dangerous the Georgia return team can be,” said Butler. “A total of 75 yards on three returns helped put the offense in a key position to be successful after a UMass score. As we go down the stretch each kickoff return needs to be taken advantage of every time the opponent kicks off. If we are able to provide two first downs to our offense, they will be very hard to keep out of the end zone. Run fast my men!”
The military veterans of the U.S. armed forces, who were paid tribute Saturday on Military Appreciation Day at Sanford Stadiuim.
“Our military veterans,” said Butler. “The Red Coat Marching Band performed an unbelievable tribute to our armed forces with our Georgia veterans being recognized on the field. That patriotism and excitement carried over to our team as we destroyed the Minutemen. We have many freedoms being in the United States and our military should be honored for that. It’s great to be a Dawg and an American!”

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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.