#2 Georgia Outduels Missouri, 43-29

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A defensive first half and offensive onslaught in the second half pushed the second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs past the Missouri Tigers, 43-29, Saturday afternoon at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium.

A fumble recovery touchdown in addition to a blocked punt scoop-and-score highlighted Georgia’s scoring in the first half. Meanwhile the fast-paced offensive second half consisted of seven total scores with Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) using three touchdowns and a field goal to seal the win. With its first loss of the season Missouri falls to 3-1 and 0-1 in the Southeastern Conference.

“The flow of the game was about what I thought it was be, there was a lot of emotional big plays,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “I didn’t see us having the big plays in the turnover game with the fumble recovery and blocked punt, but they were really big plays. We struggled some to stop the run today, which is not indicative of defense we want to have, and we struggled to run the ball. When you have that combination then you are going struggle some and we did. Give Missouri credit, they have a good football team. We knew that coming in. I’ve always respected them. They’ve won nine of the last 10 games and you don’t do that by accident.”

Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm finished 13-for-23 with 260 yards and three touchdowns and one interception despite finishing the first half with only 66 yards in the air. Fromm’s main target was junior wide receiver Riley Ridley who hauled in five catches for 87 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, junior back Elijah Holyfield piled up 90 yards on 14 carries and sophomore D’Andre Swift added 71 yards on 16 attempts.

Defensively, junior J.R. Reed led the team in tackles with eight with fellow defensive backs Deandre Baker and Richard LeCounte tallying seven apiece. D’Andre Walker created havoc in the backfield with two sacks including two forced fumbles. Freshman defensive back Tyson Campbell returned a fumble for a touchdown, while redshirt freshman Eric Stokes blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.

The Bulldogs headed into the half with a 20-7 lead after defense and special teams dominated the pace of the game. On third-and-nine, Campbell stripped Missouri’s Al Okwuegbunam and scoop-scored for a 64-yard fumble return to put the first points on the board.

After the Tigers evened the score, junior place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship connected on a 44-yard field goal to move Georgia back in front 10-7. On the ensuing drive, the Georgia defense produced another turnover – this time a 43-yard interception return by linebacker Tae Crowder. The takeaway turned into another Blankenship try, a 21-yard field goal, for the 13-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Special teams then made its splash later in the second to put the Bulldogs up 20-7. Georgia bombarded Mizzou punter Corey Fatony with Stokes blocking the kick and scooping the football for an 8-yard touchdown.

A back-and-forth third quarter saw both teams trade touchdowns. First, Georgia with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to Ridley capped the five-play, 59-yard drive.

Mizzou responded with a long drive and score, but the Bulldogs struck on their second play from scrimmage. Fromm threw a jump ball to sophomore receiver Jeremiah Holloman who eluded the sideline to run free for a 61-yard touchdown.

The Tigers got the last touchdown in the third to put the score at 33-22, and the scoring commenced immediately in the fourth quarter. On the first play, Fromm connected with a wide-open Mecole Hardman for a 54-yard touchdown pass to finish the Bulldogs’ longest drive of the game that spanned 77 yards in just five plays.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock pulled the game to a 40-29 margin on an 11-yard run with 10:47 left in the game. However, Georgia took the reins in terms of time of possession to seal the game.

The Bulldogs ate nearly five minutes off the clock before Mizzou blocked a field goal, but the Georgia defense forced a turnover on downs to mitigate the loss. Another drive taking up 3:17 ended with a 40-yard Blankenship field goal, putting the game at 43-29 with less than two minutes remaining.

For the fourth straight game this year, Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) scored at least 40 points marking the first time since 2012 the Bulldogs have done that.

The Bulldogs return home for a two-game home stand starting with Tennessee next Saturday at 3:30 p.m., which will be aired on CBS.

Georgia Continues Preparations for SEC Clash at Missouri

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart speaks at a press conference in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall in Athens, Ga., on Monday, Aug., 27, 2018. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

ATHENS —— The second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs continued their preparations for their SEC matchup at Missouri with a 2-hour practice on Tuesday afternoon.

Following are excerpts from head coach Kirby Smart’s post-practice press briefing, as well as comments from players who were available after practice:

Opening Comments

‘’Hot.  It’s been really hot, but our guys continue to work.  I thought we had good tempo today.  I thought we got tired quick.  The temperature was up and we did about three-fourths of it outside and the last part we came in.  We were able to get some wet ball work for the potential of rain up there, with the quarterbacks and receivers having to handle a wet ball.  I thought that was good.  Guys continue to work hard.’’

How does (Missouri QB) Drew Lock compare to anybody else you’ve seen?

‘’You know, I hate to compare guys like that.  I mean, his arm strength is Stafford-like.  Cutler.  Those are the guys I’ve coached against that were elite arm talent like him.  He’s a really good athlete as well.  He’s one of the better ones.  Hard to compare him to somebody.  He’s in a league of his own.’’

You’ve mentioned the success of Missouri’s run game.  How have they improved this season?

‘’They’re more committed to it.  I mean, they’re running more traditional run plays, and they still have a lot of the same run plays that all of America is running now, especially with ‘fastball.’  They have similar run plays to what we have.  But they run power, they run counter, they run a lot of plays that you’ve got to be physical to run, and they’re creating that brand of football.  It’s been a commitment to play in the SEC.  You’ve got to run the ball.  They’ve done that in the last three games and their commitment to that allows them to get one-on-one matchups outside.’’

How would you gauge Cade Mays’ confidence level so far, given the status of Andrew Thomas this week?

‘’Cade’s a very mature kid.  He comes from a family that’s raised him to be that way, to prepare hard, to work hard.  He was a confident kid in high school.  He likes competition.  Good athlete.  He’s in a good place, probably the most difficult position to play, in all of football, as a freshman, maybe outside of quarterback.  It’s tough because there are some elite players in this league.  He’s come in and taken the brunt of that pressure on his shoulders and done a good job with it.  It’s a tough position to play.’’

Was Andrew (Thomas) able to practice today?

‘’He was out there.  He was able to do a little bit.  He wasn’t able to do a lot of physical, pushing work, but he was able to move around, be in pads, get the assignments, pick up on the mental aspect of the game.  But he didn’t take a lot of what I would call ‘live’ reps.’’

What kind of progress have you seen in Richard LeCounte?

‘’Richard had a really good game against South Carolina.  He played an OK game last week.  He continues to grow.  I think he’s gaining confidence in the system. Our defense requires a lot of calls for the safeties to make and he’s gotten command of that better.  I see him in here a lot, meeting and watching some tape.  He’s grown up.  That’s what we need for this defense to function smoothly is the communication skills between linebackers, safeties and corners have to be a really good triangle, and he’s filling that triangle out much better.  I’m really pleased with him.’’

What’s the thinking behind getting Kearis Jackson carries on offense?

‘’He’s just a good athlete.  I mean, it’s no different than handing the ball off the Demetris Robertson, Mecole (Hardman), Tyler Simmons.  Touches.  I mean, that’s really it.  You want your playmakers to touch the ball, and we think he’s a good player.’’

How important is Brenton Cox in his role on defense?

‘’Brenton has grown and progressed.  He probably hasn’t shown up in games as much as he has in practice.  I just don’t think he’s had many opportunities to get out there and flash and do what I think he can do.  He’s played really hard. He’s played physical.  He’s very conscientious about his assignments and learning those.  Brenton just has to continue to grow up and mature.  I’m hoping that a lot of these freshmen, who have played in three games now, can start to have a little confidence where they get over the butterflies and anxiety, so they can go play.  He’s getting better with each and every game.’’

Will you bring up the game at Missouri from two years ago to the team this week?

‘’I don’t think so.  I thought last year’s game they scored on us and got really hot two or three times.  It’s a tough place to play.  I’ve played there other times besides two years ago.  They’ve got a great environment there.  Their fan base is very passionate.  But I don’t think this game has anything to do with the one two years ago.  Not a lot of the same names and faces are present.’’

Does it feel like Justin Fields is settling into his role on this team?

‘’He’s a pretty calm kid.  He’s a calm character.  He doesn’t get real anxious about things.  He’s excited.  He likes to celebrate when he does well.  Each time somebody else has scored, he runs down there and celebrates with them.  But I definitely think he gets into a rhythm when he plays, the more he gets to play.  He’s patient.  He’s been good.’’

You’ve talked before in pre-season camp about freshmen hitting a wall.  Is there a point in the season when freshman hit a wall?

‘’Oh yeah.  I mean, some of these kids have daily walls.  Every day it’s a struggle because of the focus and concentration, the intensity of practice.  There are a lot of high school practices that aren’t like ours, from the standpoint of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, the intensity, the amount of pressure you put on a kid to make decisions and make calls.  They’re not used to that.  We have a high-tempo practice.  So a lot of these kids struggle with it and you hope they acclimate.  And the older players have to bring the younger players along because a lot of the older players weren’t used to it their first year.’’

Sophomore DB Richard LeCounte:

‘’(On preparations for Missouri, after their success passing vs. UGA last season) I’ve watched that a few times, reviewing last year’s tape and watching this year’s tape on Missouri.  He (Emanuel Hall) is a real fast guy.  We’re playing a great team this week and I’m all in on focusing on everything we need to do.  Definitely staying deep, protecting the defense in front of you, because I’m the last line of defense back there.  So whenever I can stay deep and chase the ball down, that’s something I take pride in.  (Is Missouri the toughest test so far?)  You could say that.  Every week we come in with the mindset of making us better, as far as the team, so the game plan is still going to be executed to a ’T’, but this team is definitely a real good team.  We never take any opponent lightly, but we’re really focused this week.  (On preparing for Missouri’s offense) Definitely just make sure we get back to our fundamentals and basics, getting everything back to what we’re used to doing.’’

Sophomore LB Monty Rice:

‘’(Keys to defending Missouri’s offense) We’ve got to get pressure on the quarterback so he doesn’t have all day to sit back there and go through his progressions and make good throws, which he can do. (On improving the pressure on QB) It’s not about getting sacks because sacks don’t win games.  It’s about getting pressure on the quarterback and making sure he’s not comfortable, getting him to move on his feet.  (Evaluate Georgia’s run defense so far) I think it can be better.  We just need to be better at staying in gaps. (On importance of stopping on first and second downs) It’s big because we’ve got some good stuff on third down that we can go to that people won’t be able to block.  But if it’s third-and-two, we can’t run that. I just want to stop the other team.  It doesn’t matter what call we’re in.’’

Notre Dame, Texas A&M highlight 2019 schedule

ATHENS——–Games with Notre Dame and Texas A&M highlight the 2019 University of Georgia home football schedule announced Tuesday by the Southeastern Conference.

 

         Notre Dame will be visiting Athens for the first time in history while the Aggies will be making their first appearance between the hedges since 1980.  The Bulldogs have seven home games on the schedule which also includes SEC contests with South Carolina, Kentucky, and Missouri along with non-conference teams Murray State and Arkansas State.

 

         The schedule also includes two open dates on Sept. 28 and Oct. 26. The Bulldogs will travel to Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia Tech along with the annual game against Florida in Jacksonville.

 

 

2019 GEORGIA Schedule

Aug. 31                  at Vanderbilt

Sept. 7                   MURRAY STATE

Sept. 14                 ARKANSAS STATE

Sept. 21                 NOTRE DAME

Sept. 28                 Open Date

Oct. 5                     at Tennessee

Oct. 12                   SOUTH CAROLINA

Oct. 19                   KENTUCKY

Oct. 26                   Open Date

Nov. 2                    vs. Florida (Jacksonville)

Nov. 9                    MISSOURI

Nov. 16                  at Auburn

Nov. 23                  TEXAS A&M

Nov. 30                  at Georgia Tech

Bulldogs In The NFL — Week 2

How the Bulldogs fared in Week 2 in the NFL:

Cincinnati 34, Baltimore 23:

Geno Atkins: Atkins had five tackles, including two sacks, and four quarterback hurries for the Bengals.

Clint Boling and Cordy Glenn: Boling and Glenn started at left guard and left tackle, respectively, helping the Cincinnati offense roll up 373 total yards. The Boling and Glenn-led line did not allow a sack.

A.J. Green: Green hauled in five passes for 69 yards and three touchdowns for Cincinnati.

Shawn Williams: Williams registered eight tackles, including a sack, and picked off a pass. His sack created a forced fumble recovered by a Bengals teammate.

Chiefs 42, Steelers 37:

Chris Conley: Conley had two catches for 17 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown for the Chiefs.

Justin Houston: Houston had four tackles for Kansas City.

Dolphins 20, Jets 12:

Reshad Jones: Jones had three tackles for the Dolphins.

Jordan Jenkins: Jenkins had a 12-yard sack for the Jets, forcing a fumble that he recovered.

Saints 21, Browns 18:

Benjamin Watson: Watson had three catches for 19 yards for the Saints.

Nick Chubb: Chubb had two carries for 14 yards for the Browns.

Orson Charles: Charles was a reserve for Cleveland but did not post any stats.

49ers 30, Lions 27:

Matthew Stafford: Stafford went 34-of-53 for 347 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions.

Rams 34, Cardinals 0:

Todd Gurley: Gurley had 19 carries for 42 yards and three touchdowns as well as three catches for 31 yards for Los Angeles. He also ran in a pair of 2-point conversions.

Ramik Wilson: Wilson had four tackles for the Rams.

Garrison Smith: Smith registered a tackle for the Cardinals.

Jaguars 31, Patriots 20:

Abry Jones: Jones had two tackles, including one for loss, for the Jaguars.

David Andrews: Andrews started at center and helped the Patriots roll up 302 total yards.

Sony Michel: Michel made his NFL debut, pacing the Patriots with 10 carries for 34 yards. Michel added a 7-yard reception and had a 22-yard kickoff return.

Colts 21, Redskins 9:

Corey Moore: Moore got in as a reserve on defense for the Colts but did not record any stats.

Titans 29, Texans 17:

Ben Jones: Jones started at center and helped Tennessee accumulate 283 total yards.

Cowboys 20, Giants 13:

Lorenzo Carter: Carter recorded three tackles and a quarterback hit in Sunday night’s loss to the Cowboys.

Alec Ogletree: Ogletree posted six tackles Sunday night in Dallas.

John Jenkins: Jenkins entered as a reserve for the Giants but did not record any stats.

Bears 24, Seahawks 17

Leonard Floyd: Floyd started at OLB for the Bears and recorded three tackles, one pass defense and fumble recovery.

Roquan Smith: Started at ILB for the Bears and led the team in tackles with seven, including a pass defense.

Javon Wims: Wims was on the Bears’ inactive list.

Practice Squads:

John Atkins (Lions)

Davin Bellamy (Texans)

Isaiah McKenzie (Broncos)

Maurice Smith (Dolphins)

Injured Reserve:

Marlon Brown (Bears)

Tyler Catalina (Redskins)

Isaiah Wynn (Patriots)

Reserve/Suspended by Commissioner

Thomas Davis (Panthers)

Bulldogs Roll Past Blue Raiders 

ATHENS, Ga.– Forty-nine Bulldog points and a definitive Georgia defense backed a resounding 49-7 victory against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Sanford Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

 

The Bulldog offense completed the contest with 484 total yards, including 382 in the first half.

Averaging 45.3 points per game this season, the Bulldogs have scored 40-plus points through three consecutive matchups.

 

Junior tailback Elijah Holyfield led the Bulldog run game, becoming the first Georgia running back to record a 100-yard game this season, reaching the mark in the first half.

 

He was joined by sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm, who threw for an efficient 10-for-12 clip with three touchdowns and 128 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman paced the pass game with 90 yards on three catches, becoming the third different Bulldog receiver to do so in as many games.

 

Senior inside linebacker Juwan Taylor and sophomore inside linebacker Monty Rice led the Georgia defense with six and five tackles apiece. The Blue Raiders were held to 288 yards on 68 plays with one touchdown.

 

“We started off a little rough with some penalties and organizational stuff that we’ll clean up” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “But I thought we came out physical and played hard. … I like the toughness we show during the week. We’ve created a standard the last couple of years, and now we’re owning it with players holding other players accountable.”

 

The Bulldogs opened Saturday’s contest with a seven-play, 87-yard drive, highlighted by Holyfield’s career-long 66-yard rush, which set Georgia up at the Blue Raiders’ 17-yard line. Three plays later, tight end Charlie Woerner provided a timely block to set up the Fromm-Hardman five-yard connection. Junior wide receiver Mecole Hardman leads the receivers with three touchdowns this season.

 

At the 6:02 mark, senior defensive back Deandre Baker stepped in front of the intended Blue Raider receiver to snag his second interception of the season, which he returned for 26 yards. The following drive featured 35 yards from junior tailback Brian Herrien on three carries, including a 21-yard rush. To cement the 14-0 lead, Fromm found Holloman in the end zone for his first career touchdown.

 

To usher in the second quarter, junior wide receiver Tyler Simmons broke free for a career-long 56-yard rushing touchdown, the first of his career.

 

At the 12:23 mark in the second frame, Stockstill connected with Brad Anderson, but an incoming Baker stripped the ball from Anderson’s hands, sending it to sophomore defensive back Richard LeCounte, who returned it for seven yards to the Georgia 29-yard line.

 

With 7:19 remaining in the second quarter Hardman widened the Georgia lead to 28 on a 70-yard punt return, the first since Isaiah McKenzie in 2016. The Bowman, Georgia native finished the game with 111 all-purpose yards.

 

Georgia allowed its first points in Sanford Stadium this season in the second quarter with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Stockstill to Patrick Smith.

 

With 2:14 left in the half, senior wide receiver Riley Ridley capped a 4-play, 74-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown, sneaking in a foot at the edge of the end zone on a pass from Fromm for the 35-7 advantage.

 

Freshman quarterback Justin Fields sent the Bulldogs into intermission with his first rushing touchdown of his career, a 15-yard dash to the end zone. Georgia’s 42 first-half points were the highest output since Troy through the first two quarters in 2014.

 

With 6:33 left in the third quarter, Georgia tacked on another career-first touchdown with a nine-yard pass from Fromm to senior wide receiver Jayson Stanley in the middle of the end zone.

 

Up next, the Bulldogs head to Columbia, Missouri to take on the Tigers. The matchup is slated for 12 p.m.

# 3 Georgia Postgame Notes vs. Middle Tennessee State, Sept.  15, 2018

*Lighting Up The Scoreboard: The Bulldogs topped Middle Tennessee 49-7 on Saturday, giving Georgia three consecutive wins with at least 40 points.  The Bulldogs last did that when they started the 2012 season with five straight 40+ point games.  Georgia tallied 45 points in the first half, marking the Bulldogs’ highest output since scoring 45 versus Troy through the first two quarters in 2014.  Georgia won that contest 66-0.  Through their first three wins of 2018, the Bulldogs are averaging 45.3 ppg. Georgia is now 2-0 all-time against MTSU. 

*Pounding The Rock: The Bulldogs churned up 382 yards (217 rushing, 165 receiving) by halftime as they jumped out to a 42-7 lead. For the game, Georgia finished with 484  total yards (261 rushing, 223 receiving) with a performance that featured a 100-yard rusher during its latest victory.

Junior TB Elijah Holyfield had a career-long 66-yard run on the Bulldogs’ first possession to set up a touchdown three plays later. Holyfield completed the half with eight carries for a career-high 100 yards.  The last back to hit the century mark was Sony Michel (181) and Nick Chubb (145) in the Rose Bowl Game win over Oklahoma last year.  Today, sophomore QB Jake Fromm connected with junior receiver Mecole Hardman for a 5-yard touchdown after Holyfield’s longest run. This was Hardman’s team-leading third touchdown catch of the year.  Hardman later returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown.  He last scored two different ways when he caught a touchdown pass and ran for a touchdown in the CFP National Championship Game against Alabama.

The Bulldogs’ seven-play scoring drive went 87 yards.  Fromm finished the first half 10-for-12 for 128 yards and three touchdowns, which matches his career high, and completed the game 10-for-12 for 128 yards and 3 TDs.

Junior WR Tyler Simmons took a handoff at the beginning of the second quarter a career long 56 yards for his first career touchdown of any kind.  This capped a season-long scoring drive of 94 yards, which was six plays and lasted 2:40, and was Georgia’s longest scoring drive since the Bulldogs went 98 yards on 11 plays in 6:34 versus Auburn in 2014. Freshman QB Justin Fields led this scoring drive after Fromm played the first two series. Fields finished 6-for-8 for 71 yards and 1 TD passing and 1 TD rushing (15-yarder).

 

*To The HouseMecole Hardman, who led the SEC in punt returns/yards/avg. last year, returned a punt 70 yards in the second quarter for his first career PR for a touchdown. This gave the Bulldogs a 28-0 edge. Isaiah McKenzie was the last Georgia player to return a punt for a score after he went 82 yards versus UL-Lafayette in 2016.  Hardman finished with 111 all-purpose yards in the game (90 PR yards, 21 receiving). 

*Back To Back Picks: Senior DB Deandre Baker snagged his second interception of the year and in as many games on a 4th-and-9thsituation in the opening period.  He returned it 26 yards a week after he had a 55-yard return in the win at #24 South Carolina.  Baker’s seventh career pick led to a Georgia touchdown.  In the second half, Baker forced a fumble that Richard LeConte scooped up and returned seven yards. Baker finished with 3 tackles, 1 FF and 1 INT.

*Firsts: Sophomore WR Jeremiah Holloman hauled in an 11-yard touchdown catch from Fromm to put Georgia up 14-0.  This marked Holloman’s first career touchdown and Fromm’s second scoring pass of the half. Holloman later caught a 65-yard pass from Fromm and ended the day with a career-high three catches for 90 yards and a TD.

Justin Fields also registered his first TD run on a 15-yard rushing score near the end of the first half. Also of note, senior WR Jayson Stanley caught his first career touchdown on a 9-yard strike from Fields in the third quarter.

Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship Named To Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (98) prepares to kick at practice in Athens, Ga., on Thursday, Aug., 16, 2018. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia junior place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was named to the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team on Thursday.  Blankenship is one of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) selected based on their commitment to community service.

 

For 27 years, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) has recognized a select group of college football players committed to making a difference in their communities.  There were also 11combined players chosen from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Divisions II, III and the NAIA.

 

Blankenship, a Digital and Broadcast Journalism major and native of Marietta, Ga., is the only player from the Southeastern Conference on the FBS 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

 

Georgia leads the nation in Allstate AFCA Good Works Team honorees with 19 since the award’s inception in 1992, including seven in the last eight years and for the last five consecutive years.  The Bulldogs’ previous Good Works Team honorees are Alec Millen in 1992, Travis Jones in 1993, Brian Smith in 1995, Matt Stinchcomb in 1997 and 1998, Brett Millican in 2000, Jon Stinchcomb in 2001, David Greene in 2003, D.J. Shockley in 2005, Quentin Moses in 2006, Kelin Johnson in 2007, Jeff Owens in 2009, Aron White in 2011, Aaron Murray in 2012, Chris Conley in 2014, Malcolm Mitchell in 2015, Jeb Blazevich in 2016 and Aaron Davis in 2017.

 

Blankenship, a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, has volunteered for a variety of community service opportunities during his time in Athens.  He is a member of the UGA Athletic Association’s Leadership Academy (L.E.A.D.) and has given his time to the following activities and many more: spokesperson for “No More,” which is a public service announcement against domestic violence and sexual assault; visitation at Camp Sunshine, which is a camp that provides support programs for children with cancer and their families; volunteer for the “Empty Bowl” luncheon, which is a luncheon sponsored by the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia where hand-painted ceramic bowls done by the football players were part of a silent auction to raise funds for needy families; and volunteer for the Home Runs for Hometown Rivals, which is a softball game at UGA’s Foley Field for Special Olympians.

 

On the field, the 2018 Preseason All-American has drilled 37 of 44 career field goal attempts, including 3-for-3 this season.  He stands fifth on the NCAA FBS active career leaders’ list for Field Goal Percentage at 84 percent.  Five of his misses have come from 40 or more yards.  Blankenship has connected on all 101 PATs since 2016 and has 103 kickoff touchbacks in his career, including all 15 in 2018.  He is the school record holder in the category for a single season after registering 67 last year.

 

Blankenship proved pivotal during the Bulldogs’ run to last season’s SEC title and spot in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.  After hitting both of his attempts in the SEC Championship Game, Blankenship recorded a career-long 55 yarder during the win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl Game and a 51 yarder versus Alabama in the National Championship.

 

He has twice been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week, most recently receiving the honor this season following his two field goals of 44 and 45 yards and five PATs in the 41-17 rout of #24 South Carolina during the Bulldogs’ league opener on the road.

 

The 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be invited to New Orleans to participate in a special community service project ahead of the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl, where the entire team will also be recognized on the field during a halftime presentation.

 

Fans are encouraged to visit ESPN.com/Allstate to vote for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain now through Nov. 23.  The Team Captain will be honored at this season’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.

 

The No. 3 Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SEC) plays host to Middle Tennessee State University (1-1) in Sanford Stadium at 12 p.m. on Saturday.  ESPN News will televise Georgia’s second home game of the year.

 

Georgia-Middle Tennessee State game moved to 12 noon

Statement from University of Georgia Athletic Association:

 

After extensive evaluation involving the uncertainty of weather conditions on the east coast, and consideration of all constituencies involved including fans, support staff, and law enforcement, the Saturday Georgia-Middle Tennessee State game has been moved from 7:15 p.m. to a 12 noon kickoff in Sanford Stadium.

 

The game will be televised on ESPN News and will stream live on the ESPN app.

 

The University of Georgia encourages fans to support disaster relief efforts through the Red Cross by texting “REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or going online to

 

https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-florence-donations.html/

 

 

Bulldogs Focus on Blue Raiders

Georgia defensive back Deangelo Gibbs (8) during the Bulldogs' session on the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

ATHENS, Ga. – Third-ranked Georgia continued preparations for its upcoming game with Middle Tennessee by conducting a two-hour workout Wednesday in full pads split between the Woodruff Practice Fields and the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Facility.

 

Speaking on the SEC Head Coaches Weekly teleconference, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs are looking forward to getting back in front of the home crowd again after being on the road last Saturday.

 

Smart was asked about the production of the tailbacks as the Bulldogs are averaging 277.5 rushing yards a game, highlighted by sophomore D’Andre Swift, juniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien plus freshman James Cook.

 

“Each one is different in their own right; they all have similarities and all have differences but you could probably say that about every position and every player,” said Smart. “Each one is unique. Swift is the larger size guy, being a 215 to 220-pound back, but he has good speed and good quickness and versatility. The other guys weigh a different amount, do a little different things, but the one thing that’s consistent with all four is they practice really hard and help on special teams a lot. They are good, hard workers. We’re trying to get more explosive in the run game.  We’ve got to have some runs go for some longer clips if we’re going to be as good as we need to be. We need to turn the 10, 15s in to 20 and 30s, and that’s important to us.”

 

When asked specifically about Holyfield, Smart added that he’s been very pleased with his performance to date.

 

“He (Holyfield) runs with great toughness; he loves contact, and he’s getting more opportunities which he’s been chomping at the bit,” said Smart. “I’ve been really pleased with the ball security he’s shown, and he’s got to continue to do that.

 

Smart was asked about MTSU’s 2018 squad compared to the one he faced while coaching at Alabama in 2015.

 

“There’s different personnel groupings and different kind of team,” Smart added. “Coach Stockstill’s son was around, he’s a good player, he was young, and they used the fullback and tight end more. It’s a little different now, and they have a different coordinator, coach Tony Franklin is back there.”

 

Following the workout, sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm commented on seeing the offensive line and running backs do their thing, “It’s so much fun to watch those guys work. … With our running backs too, it’s unbelievable watching them hit the holes and watch them break the tackles they do. I’ve got the best seat in the house to watch a football game.

 

Georgia is 1-0 all-time against the Blue Raiders. The previous meeting came in Athens in 2003 when then eighth-ranked Georgia posted a 29-10 victory. MTSU (1-1) is coming off a 61-37 win over UT Martin.

 

The Bulldogs will face MTSU Saturday with kickoff slated for 7:15 p.m. on ESPN2. Beth Mowins will be handling the play-by-play, Anthony Becht will serve as color analyst and Rocky Boiman will be reporting from the sidelines. The Dawg Walk will be at 5 p.m. and the Sanford Stadium gates open at 5:15 p.m.

 

Bulldogs Prepare for Saturday Meeting With Blue Raiders

ATHENS, Ga. – The third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs practiced for approximately two hours in preparation for their return to Sanford Stadium on Saturday against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.

 

The matchup between the Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SEC) and the Blue Raiders (1-1) is slated for 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

 

Head Coach Kirby Smart

On Natrez Patrick as a leader…

“Natrez is a vocal leader. He’s been a vocal leader for two years now. The kid loves the game, is passionate about it. He’s similar to (Jonathan Ledbetter), in that he practices hard and is not afraid to speak up. He isn’t worried about what people think about him. He’s done a good job commanding respect from his teammates as far as the way he practices.”

 

On Juwan Taylor’s evolvement on defense…

“I would say definitely in the linebacker unit he’s probably the hardest-practicing kid on our total defense. He gets respect from the way he practices. He is a vocal leader. He’s taken much more of a leadership role.”

 

On Juwan (Taylor) and Keyon (Richardson) developing into key components on the defense…

“Hard work pays off. I think this is a defense that the system allows you what you know, and if you have confidence in the system and you understand it, you can use the tools in the defensive system to help you be able to play. It’s not a system that says, ‘Just because you’re the best athlete, you play.’ You’ve got to understand what the offense is trying to do to you and how you can use the call we give you to help yourself. They both understand that. They’ve been here in the system for four years, and they understand how to use the system that helps them. They’re both really hard workers. Great special teams players too.

 

On Deandre Baker’s development..

“We evaluated him at Alabama. We thought he was a really good player. We didn’t pursue him as hard as we did some other guys. We were probably wrong. He had track speed. He was a 400-meter guy; he could fly. The first things you look at with corner are size, speed – he checked off both boxes there, but he’s a kid who’s developed and has gotten better. From the time we got here, we thought he was a good player. We thought some guys were in front of him. I was telling him the other day, ‘I remember it like it was yesterday’ – During training camp that first year, he was really competing for that starting job with (Juwuan) Briscoe and some other guys. We went with the other guys, and what happened, happened at the Ole Miss game. He got to go out there, and ever since then, he’s gotten better and competed and proved us wrong that he should’ve been out there the whole time.”

 

On the key four inside linebackers…

“They do a good job. What’s best is they all complement each other. Our ability to play all four of them helps keep them fresh. I thought Natrez made a couple plays Saturday he might not have made had he not just come from the sideline. So they’re able to go four, five plays, come back in, so you see max effort. I think sometimes at linebacker you play guys too long, you get tired, so those four guys have done a good job. Channing Tindall and Quay (Walker) are coming on. As they learn, they’ll be able to help us. They’re probably both a little more explosive and quick and fast, but they’re still learning and learning the defense, and that’s important for them. The other four know what to do well, and I appreciate how they practice.”

 

On where the competitive drive comes from…
“I think it’s just wanting to be the best. For me, it’s always been a passion to coach. For me, if you’re going to do something, I’m all in, whatever I do. It doens’t matter if it’s golf, checkers, or football. I just think it’s important if you’re going to spend the time that we spend – the time that I spend away from my family and my kids, and not getting to be around them. I know our coaches would feel the same way. You’ve got to give all you’ve got. I want these players to see day in, and day out, if they really try hard, and they really demand a lot of themselves to be successful in life – I don’t know that some of them realize the hard work they actually do. What they do here as players, it’s much harder than what they do in the real world. They’ve got to get up and go to class, work all day, go to workouts, do football, and then they do a 9-to-5 job, and they think that’s a little bit easier. I want them to be able to say that our coaches have set an example of giving everything they had everyday. That’s important to me.”

 

On what David Marshall brings to the defensive line…

“Strength. He’s powerful. He can play all the positions. He’s smart. He never complains. He’s the toughest guy in the room. He’s hurt all the time, but never hurt. At practice, he doesn’t complain. He’s a worker. He’s really strong. He’s at the point of attack so they don’t move him, and I think that’s allowed him to become – what you said – ‘an unsung hero.’ He doesn’t play a lot of third down. He gets us to third down.”

 

On the win this weekend for Colorado State Head Coach Mike Bobo…

“I texted him and told him, ‘You better never count a Bobo out.’ I’ve been in many a battles with him – against him and with him. Lifelong friend, growing up right down the road from him. Seeing what he’s endured and what his family’s endured. Amazing. To go through two losses that he had, and then come back and beat an SEC opponent when at some points in the game, they were 99 percent probable to lose, by the ESPN stats. He comes back and wins. And seeing him with his dad afterwards, and getting to see him hug his son, that’s just really what it’s all about. You don’t ever count him out, I can promise you that. He’s a great football coach and a really good person.”

 

Senior ILB #6 Natrez Patrick

On buying into the Smart system…

“I just feel like it’s a mentality that good isn’t good enough. We’re striving for greatness. I know great is hard to come by, but pushing forward, we’ll be better than good. He doesn’t allow us to get comfortable. That’s the drop-off between a lot of teams, and guys who do well, and guys who don’t…I’d say it was definitely a process that we did have to buy into. Once he got us, the process worked. It was a no-brainer for me. Everybody bought into it.”

 

On facing teams with a prevalent pass rush…

“Those guys do throw the ball a lot, but it’s kind of different the schemes that they run. Just as far as these types of offenses, we have to be great zoners. So that’s been an emphasis in practice, just being great zoners and breaking up the ball for the teams that air-rate the ball.”

 

On if the defense’s concentration on the run game inhibits the pass rush…

“I can see that, but at the end of the day, it’s all about reading and reacting. Reading and reacting. Reading whether it’s a run, reading whether it’s a pass – read and react.”

 

Junior ILB #30 Tae Crowder

On Natrez Patrick…

I think he’s just doing a great job. It’s his senior year, and he’s doing a great job of being a leader. I’m proud to see him stepping up and doing what I know he can do.”

 

On buying into the Smart system…

“We sat down and talked about, about when we get on the field. We just talked about it, and I bought into it.

 

On his development at Georgia at linebacker…

“I put on a good bit of weight, probably about ten pounds. Just worked hard in the weight room.”