ATHENS—In front of a G-Day record crowd, the Black team held off the Red for a 24-17 victory in the annual spring game which was, granted, a glorified scrimmage, but one 46,815 Bulldog fans thoroughly enjoyed on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
“Georgia won today, which is good,” head coach Mark Richt said first when addressing the media following the game. “It’s so hard to try and judge what kind of a day it was when you go Georgia against Georgia while working your first, second, and third units because it’s just a lot of guys getting a lot of reps.”
The Red featured Georgia’s first-team offense, the Black the first-team defense, while the Bulldogs’ top two quarterbacks—sophomore Brice Ramsey and junior Faton Bauta—played for both squads. Quarterbacks Jacob Park and Sam Vaughn appeared solely for the Black.
The game featured a bit of excitement on the third play of the game, when first-string center sophomore Isaiah Wynn snapped the ball over Ramsey’s head back to his own 2-yard line for an 18-yard loss. Wynn, who appears to be the replacement for standout David Andrews, played the rest of the contest without any miscues.
“I just forgot about it, got my mind right, and got the ball down,” Wynn said with a chuckle regarding how he recovered from his bad snap. “I think I played pretty good [after that].”
Beginning in Red territory following a poor punt by Collin Barber, sophomore tailback A.J. Turman carried the ball on the first three plays for the Black. He capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge, giving his team an early 7-0 lead. Turman finished with 106 yards on 26 carries, and averaged around 110 rushing yards this spring for the three scrimmages, including today.
“It feels good (how he has performed this spring), but I know I can do better and improve on some things,” Turman said.
Three plays after Turman’s touchdown, the Red answered when Ramsey connected with sophomore Isaiah McKenzie for a 72-yard, game-tying touchdown. McKenzie was hurt on the play, pulling a hamstring, and was still limping after the game; however, by all indications, the injury is nothing serious.
The Black retook the lead on the first play of the second quarter when Bauta avoided a sack and tossed a short pass to sophomore tight end Jordan Davis, who completed a 25-yard scoring play. For the game, Bauta completed 16 of 25 passes for 171 yards, whereas Ramsey was 5 for 9 for 174 yards.
Just before halftime, quarterback Park drove the Black into Red territory before throwing an interception corralled by true freshman Jarvis Wilson. The Red couldn’t take advantage of the turnover, however, as Marshall Morgan missed a 42-yard field goal as the first half ended.
Park finished the contest 10 of 15 passing for 92 yards, and seemingly will be Georgia’s number-three signal caller entering fall camp; however, according to Richt, nothing is for certain when it comes to his trio of quarterbacks.
“It’s still a race,” Richt said regarding the quarterback competition. “I don’t think there’s any question that it will go through the summer and fall before we make that decision on who will start the first ball game [at quarterback].”
Midway through the third quarter, Turman broke loose for a 52-yard touchdown run for his second score of the game, giving the Black a 21-7 advantage. Later in the quarter, he did lose a fumble—the second of only two combined turnovers committed by the teams.
“The offensive line has worked hard,” Turman said. “I knew my [second] touchdown was coming. [The line] blocked well and opened up a hole for me.”
Soon after Morgan kicked a 25-yard field goal to pull the Red within 11 points, 21-10, they scored again on a 17-yard touchdown run by Nick Chubb. Chubb, who hardly ran the ball in Georgia’s first two scrimmages, carried three times today for 34 yards, including, and surprisingly, two rushes in the final 17 minutes of the game. He also made three receptions. Minus Turman and Chubb, the two teams combined for a lowly minus-39 rushing yards on 23 rushes due in large part to eight combined sacks.
“I’m ready for whatever; they tell me to go in, I’ll go in, to come out, I’m coming out,” Chubb said regarding his playing time this spring. “It’s whatever the coaches think. I just love playing football.”
The Black built its lead to a touchdown, 24-17, with less than a minute remaining on a 37-yard field goal by Patrick Beless. With one more shot, the Red moved the ball to near midfield in seven plays behind Bauta before turning it over on downs, clinching the victory for the Black.
Still, the main attraction for the Bulldogs on G-Day, and the player receiving the most attention from the media in the locker room, was one who played on the losing team, and touched the ball just six times. Nevertheless, for superstar Nick Chubb, as he said, he just loves playing football.
“It’s always good to get out there in front of the fans at Sanford Stadium and play with all the boys,” Chubb said. “It’s always a great experience.