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Nick Chub Quotes from the 2014 Belk Bowl

27 Chubb3.114Georgia #27 Nick Chubb Running Back

Four months ago, could you have envisioned your freshman year going like this?
Coming in with all of these great running backs, like Coach said, we shared the load. All five of us get the ball so I take advantage of all opportunities. I had a great season, but it has to do with the whole team. The offensive linemen blocking up front, great linemen and great play calling.

When you hear the number 266 yards rushing in a game, what’s your reaction?
I’m very excited, but it wouldn’t be capable without the rest of the team blocking and pushing and everyone doing their job. I’ve done a lot in high school, but it’s a whole different animal up here. I’m very happy.

You had 33 carries tonight. Have you been tired at all this season?
Yeah, I’m not going to let y’all know that though. I’m tired a lot during the game. That last touchdown I was very tired, but it was my time. I got in there and with the good blocking up front, I got in there. You know, if you score, you get off the field.

You know that there’s only one running back that has run for more yards in a game – Hershel Walker. How do you feel about that?
It’s a blessing being in the same sentence with him. He’s a great running back. Like I said, it’s the awesome line up front blocking for me and making everything possible. I’m just so thankful for everything and everyone around me and it’s been a great season.

You made an 82-yard run off the goal line. Did you think you were going all the way?
It was a lead play and yeah, I thought I was going to play, but the player had a good angle on me and he didn’t give up.

How has Todd Gurley helped you this year?
Todd’s amazing. He’s a very good leader. He keeps motivating me and he’s been there for me. He’s a great person on the field, as you know, and off the field, he’s an even better person. I’m just blessed to have him in my life.

Coach Richt Quotes from the 2014 Belk Bowl

Georgia Mark Richt Head Coach:

Very proud of our team. It was a year that I thought we had overcome a lot. I think this game was maybe very similar to the type of season we had as far as losing some key people and other guys having to step up and make plays and just continue our focus and continue to fight. Just really, really proud of everybody. Our players, especially our seniors. A lot of our seniors get a lot of attention because they played a lot, they made plays. They made tackles and catches and touchdowns and all those types of things and threw touchdown passes. There’s a lot of our seniors that were scout teamers. They were seniors that were walk-ons. But, all those guys are very important to our program and I just want to wish them the best because they deserve it. They’re Dawgs for life and we’re going to be there for them to help them transition to life after football which is very important to me to let our guys know that and to follow through with that. I thought our coaching staff did a super job. Great game defensively tonight. Their offense has been averaging over 30-something points a game and we were able to hold them to 14. Even towards the very end when they were trying to get seven more on the board, they kept fighting until the very end and I’m proud of the job they did. Our offensive staff pulled together under some adversity. Anytime you lose a coach like Mike Bobo, you’ve got to rally. You’ve got to come together and do that. I know Will Friend is going on to Colorado State with Mike, but Will chose to stay for this bowl game and that was key to our success. It would have been very difficult to run this bowl game without Will there with those offensive linemen. I think they played their tails off for him and for Georgia. John Lilly obviously did a good job of honing the game plan down. Plan B made it a little bit simpler. Nick Chubb did a beautiful job, but he couldn’t do it by himself. He showed everybody in the country again that he’s a pretty talented young man. I’m real proud of Nick.

Louisville’s defense came in ranked at third before the bowl game against the run, why did you guys have so much success running the ball?
Well, you block well and you run well. You have to have a good scheme. I think you have to be patient to. I don’t know how many times early on we have a one-yard gain. It wasn’t just like we were plowing through them. When you look at the end result, you see we ran the ball well against them, but it took some patience. Just having the score the way it was, and us trying to eat up as much clock as possible in the second half, we chose to run the ball for that reason. A lot of it had to do with how well we played on defense. Some of it had to do with the fact that Hudson was out of the game and we didn’t want to put too much on our younger quarterback.

Talk about your desire to coach in the SEC?
I coached for fifteen years at Florida State and then one year at East Carolina. Then taking the Georgia job was an exciting opportunity for me and my family. You know it’s a rugged league. It’s very tough league and when you win in this league, you know you’ve done something special. It’s not just on the field. It’s in recruiting, it’s in facilities, it’s in coaching staffs. The passion of our fans is by far the most exciting thing about our league.

When you think about next year and the optimism, a lot of it will start with Nick.
We certainly have some backs that are talented and that’s a good place to start. We’ve got four out of five offensive linemen returning. We’ve got some good things offensively to build around no doubt.

Do you care to comment on Bryce Ramsey’s performance tonight?
I think Bryce came in, and of course it was really, really cold. We decided to take a shot. If you score, it’s a real smart play. If you throw an interception, it’s not exactly what you’re hoping for. He didn’t have one shot to even warm-up. We were scrambling to get him in the game and probably shouldn’t have put him in that position right at that moment. He did some good things. He made a couple of nice throws that were big on third down situations and he made some mistakes too. It was a big responsibility and overall, he secured the ball well.

What does this bowl win mean for you personally?
It’s great to win, period. It’s just not fun to lose. Losing leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I told the team before the game that I was thankful we had another game to play. I’m glad that for our seniors, we had a chance to play another game and win against a really good team. The bowl was awesome. I really appreciate everything that the Belk Bowl did for our players and our staff.

Richt Not Generally Speaking About Bobo and CSU as Dogs Appear Focused On Louisville

by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer

Bobo2ATHENS—With almost two entire weeks before Georgia’s postseason appearance against Louisville in Charlotte’s Belk Bowl on December 30th, Coach Mark Richt uncharacteristically began his weekly press conference by arriving late—nearly 20 minutes late. But, he seemingly had a good excuse for his tardiness.

“We know we’ve got to maximize the time that we have right now, and that’s part of the reason why I was late,” Richt said regarding his team’s preparation for Louisville. “[A meeting] just ran a little bit long, just making sure that when we hit the ground running, we’re highly organized and we have one purpose.”

The Bulldogs will practice tonight, Thursday and Friday afternoons, and then Saturday morning. After the team’s morning practice on December 20th, they’ll break before having to return and leave for Charlotte on Christmas Eve, where they’ll resume practice on Christmas Day.

“You hate your players not to be home for Christmas,” Richt said. “But the date of the bowl, I don’t think we had a choice.” Later at the individual player interviews, I asked a couple of players how they felt about not spending Christmas at home.

“I really don’t care about missing Thanksgiving, but missing Christmas… Man, that’s the best time to spend with your family,” senior linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. “Usually, Christmas is the only time I can go home,” chimed in offensive guard Greg Pyke, who is from Baltimore.

Besides his team’s bowl preparation, Richt also fielded a number of questions regarding his offensive coordinator—Mike Bobo—who is interviewing for the head coaching position at Colorado State, and presumably at the very moment of the press conference. In fact, Georgia’s 7:35 p.m. practice start time for tonight—or, about two hours later than usual—is believed to have been pushed back to accommodate Bobo’s return trip to Athens.

“Mike is taking advantage of the opportunity to go visit [Colorado State], and right this minute he’s our offensive coordinator and we’re planning on him being here at practices,” Richt said. “Obviously if there’s an opportunity for a staff member to do big things, you want to give him that opportunity.”

Later, Richt was asked to comment on the challenges an assistant might face preparing for a bowl game, yet certain to be another team’s head coach following the bowl, as was Richt’s case at Florida State while preparing for the 2001 Orange Bowl.

“Right now, Coach Bobo is our offensive coordinator, and he’s preparing us to win,” Richt declared as if he believed the reporter was solely suggesting Bobo’s circumstances. As the reporter attempted to clarify his question, Richt interrupted, “When I answer a general question about a hot topic, it usually doesn’t get recorded that way (it’s taken out of context)…so, I just assume not talk about that.”

Not hesitant to talk were a couple of standout seniors I approached, asking if it has “hit” them yet that the Belk Bowl will be their final appearance in a Bulldog uniform.

“I haven’t exactly thought about [my final game at Georgia] at this point,” receiver Chris Conley said. “It’ll probably hit me when I’m closer to being on the field. Right now, you have no time to think about it. It’s about winning a football game.”

For Herrera, he enters the Belk Bowl ranked 10th all time at Georgia in career tackles (331), while becoming the first Bulldog defender in 17 years (Greg Bright, 1994-1997) to be considered a four-year starter.

“[The accolades] will mean a lot…” Herrera started and then paused with a smile, “…in a couple of years. But, right now, I want to add more tackles in the one game I got left.”

Simply, Disappointing: Dogs Upset in Overtime

by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer

C_Paul-Johnson2ATHENS—What appeared to be one of the greatest moments ever for Georgia against rival Georgia Tech, quickly turned into a disappointing, heart-breaking loss for the 8th-ranked Bulldogs, ending yet another disappointing regular season for head coach Mark Richt.Georgia (9-3) seemingly scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard, fourth-down reception by Malcolm Mitchell from Hutson Mason, giving the Bulldogs a 24-21 lead over the 16th-ranked Yellow Jackets with just 18 seconds remaining in regulation. However, Georgia then inexplicably elected to squib the ensuing kickoff after performing well on kickoff coverage the entire game. After a 16-yard return of the short kickoff, Georgia Tech (10-2) possessed the ball at its own 43-yard line with 13 seconds left.”I’m disappointed in my decision to squib kick,” Richt said following what eventually ended in a 30-24 win by Georgia Tech in overtime. “That was a poor decision on my part. That was no one’s decision but mine.”After a 21-yard scramble out of bounds to the Bulldogs’ 36-yard line by Tech quarterback Justin Thomas, placekicker Harrison Butker made a 53-yard field goal with no time remaining to tie the game, 24-24.

In overtime, the Yellow Jackets’ offense executed exactly what it had done for most of the game: run the ball right down Georgia’s throat. Georgia Tech covered 25 yards in five rushes, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run up the middle by Zach Laskey. For the game, Laskey rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries.

After Butker’s PAT attempt was blocked by Ray Drew—the Georgia defensive lineman’s second blocked placekick of the game—it was the Bulldog offense’s turn in overtime, needing a touchdown and successful PAT to reclaim a victory which had been snatched from them only moments before.

Georgia moved to Tech’s 9-yard line in four plays; however, facing second down, Mason threw into coverage and his pass was corralled by cornerback D.J. White. The game-winning interception gave the Yellow Jackets, who entered the game as 10.5-point underdogs, an upset, 30-24 win.

“It was a slant route and the guy jumped it,” Richt said of White’s interception. “[White] did a good job of undercutting it.”

For Richt, the loss was only his second setback to Georgia Tech in 14 games as Georgia’s head coach. For Mason, his errant throw was the final pass attempt in Sanford Stadium for the fifth-year senior, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

To begin the game, Mason and the offense took the opening kickoff and made things look easy, zipping down the field in 10 plays for 75 yards in just over four minutes. Nick Chubb’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead. Chubb would finish with 129 yards on 25 carries.

On the Yellow Jackets first three offensive possessions of the game, they punted twice and had a field goal blocked by Drew. However, following their touchdown, the Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize on opportunities–first, Chubb lost a fumble on Tech’s 3-yard line, and then Michel fumbled into the Tech end zone for a touchback.

What perhaps could have been a 21-0 lead for Georgia late in the second quarter, was instead merely a 7-0 advantage.

Early in the week, Richt was adamant that his team was “very focused on this game.” But, any “focus” on Georgia Tech was seemingly not evident for most of this afternoon, making one wonder if the squad was more focused on yesterday when a win by Missouri over Arkansas knocked Georgia out of the SEC Championship Game.

From late in the first quarter through late in the fourth, five of Georgia Tech’s six offensive drives went for at least 60 yards while lasting for at least eight plays. A month after allowing Florida to rush for 418 yards, Georgia yielded a staggering 399 to the Yellow Jackets on 70 rushes. Tech also had a time of possession of over 36 minutes for the game.

“There aren’t a whole lot of offenses that effect you as an offense also, but [Georgia Tech]’s does,” Mason said. “They don’t give you too many possessions and you look up and half the quarter is gone. Against something like that you have to take advantage of opportunities and turn them into touchdowns instead of field goals.”

Midway through the third quarter with the score tied 7-7, Georgia finally caught a break when cornerback Damian Swann forced Thomas to fumble on the Bulldogs’ 1-yard line. Swann then picked up the loose ball and raced 99 yards for a touchdown. Still, Georgia squandered opportunities by later having a field goal blocked and following a run on a fake field goal gave the Bulldogs’ a first-and-goal at Tech’s 3-yard line, having to settle for a short field goal.

Georgia Tech took its first lead with 4:22 left in regulation when a touchdown run by Laskey put the Jackets up, 21-17. After the Bulldogs misplayed the ensuing kickoff, giving Georgia Tech the ball at the Bulldogs’ 27-yard line, the Yellow Jackets lost a fumble five plays later.

From his own 31-yard line, Mason drove Georgia 69 yards in 12 plays for the apparent game-winning touchdown, but any victory celebration by the Bulldogs would be very short-lived.

“We didn’t capitalize,” Swann said following the game. “We had opportunities but we didn’t capitalize on them. We don’t lose to them. We aren’t supposed to lose to them, so it hurts.”

Finishing with a 9-3 regular-season record, Georgia wasn’t “supposed to lose” to any of the three teams which defeated the Bulldogs—South Carolina, Florida, and now Georgia Tech—all of which were substantial underdogs to the Bulldogs by a touchdown or more. And, for the third time this season, the inconsistent Bulldogs didn’t fully capitalize on opportunities, costing them a memorable victory over their intrastate rival, while ending their regular season in disappointment.

There’s Little “Clean” About This “Old-Fashioned Hate”

by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer

“Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” (although many will say the hate is far from clean) will ensue Saturday in Athens between intrastate rivals Georgia and Georgia Tech. The teams enter with identical records both overall and in their respective conferences (9-2, 6-2); however, the 16th-ranked Yellow Jackets have already clinched a spot in the ACC title game, whereas the 8th-ranked Bulldogs must wait until Friday to know if they’ll be playing in the SEC Championship or not.Coach Mark Richt is a spectacular 12-1 against Tech, losing only in 2008 when his Bulldogs were upset as more than a touchdown favorite in Athens. This season’s meeting will match the highest combined AP Poll rankings in the rivalry in nearly 50 years (1966: No. 5 GA Tech vs. No. 7 Georgia). Still, there has been some question whether the Bulldogs (currently, a 12.5-point favorite) will be fully focused Saturday, considering they’ll already know if there is a game to be played the following week or not.”I think around here, just the fact that Coach Richt has lost to [Georgia Tech] before and knowing what that means and what that feels like, I don’t think [the coaches] allow [a lack of passion] to happen,” said receiver Chris Conley, who will be one of 27 seniors making their last appearance in Sanford Stadium. “I think the team learns how to get up for this game.”When the Dawgs Have the Ball: Last season, Georgia’s offense was relatively stagnant early on at Georgia Tech; the team trailed 20-0 late in the second quarter before finally coming alive to win in overtime, 41-34. But this year, the Bulldogs should have little trouble moving the ball, and move the ball from the very beginning.

“I think [the Georgia Tech defense] did a good job against us last year,” senior center David Andrews said. “We struggled at times last year. We’ve just got to go out this year and earn the right to win and come out there and have a physical game.”

Andrews and his big, physical fellow linemen pave the way for arguably the best running attack in UGA football history. Led by tailback Nick Chubb, who is seeking his seventh consecutive 100-yard rushing performance, Georgia’s ground game will face a Yellow Jacket run defense which allowed Wofford, Georgia Southern, and Duke to each rush for more than 240 yards. What’s more, Georgia Tech is yielding a lofty 5.09 yards per rush; only two FBS teams currently with winning records—South Carolina and Rutgers, both with mere 6-5 marks—are yielding more per carry.

Although the Bulldogs rarely turn the football over, committing just eight turnovers this season—second-fewest in the FBS—they have to be extra careful to hold onto the ball against the Jackets. Remarkably, Georgia Tech has scored six touchdowns this season on interception and fumble returns, while averaging 10.5 points per game off turnovers.

When the Jackets Have the Ball: Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense has produced similar results in 2014 as previous seasons under Coach Paul Johnson: many points, a lot of rushing yards, and many backs involved in its success. Currently, nine different Jackets have carried the ball at least 15 times this season for more than 100 yards. Their leading rusher, quarterback Justin Thomas (827 yds), is perhaps slightly different than Tech’s previous triple-option signal callers as he actually is an accurate and dangerous passer. Thomas would rank 6th in the FBS in passing efficiency (161.22) if he averaged just 1.8 more pass attempts per contest (need 15.0 to be eligible; Thomas averages 13.2).

Georgia’s defensive coaches and most of their defenders will confront an offense like they’ve never seen before from the Yellow Jackets.

“[Defensive Coordinator] Jeremy [Pruitt] has had experience, and I think all of our coaches have had some experience defending this type of offense, but going head to head with Georgia Tech, I don’t believe they did…” Richt said. “So you know, it’ll be the first shot out of the cannon, so to speak, for this staff to go against that offense here at Georgia Tech.”

For what it’s worth, although Georgia Tech has lost five consecutive to Georgia, the Yellow Jacket offense has averaged a staggering 286 rushing yards per game against the Bulldogs during the losing streak. Nonetheless, this season’s Georgia defense is considered not only improved from previous editions, but steadily improving as the season has progressed.

“I think our confidence has always been there,” said nose tackle Mike Thornton when asked about the defense’s improvement. “I don’t think we’ve ever shied away from anything, any team. … But every week we have to come out and play our hardest game.”

Although Georgia’s defense is acknowledged for its steady improvement, the Bulldogs have allowed averages of 243 rushing yards per contest and 5.2 yards per rush their last four games after having what was considered one of the best run defenses in the SEC.

Special Teams: For the season, 35 percent of Marshall Morgan’s kickoffs have been touchbacks, which is slightly below the conference average of 39 percent. But, against Georgia Tech, the Georgia placekicker might have to be better than average.

The Yellow Jackets rank 19th in the FBS in kickoff return average (23.7); top returner Jamal Gordon is 14th in the nation, averaging nearly 27 yards per kickoff return. The Bulldogs can ill-afford to allow extra yardage on returns to a team whose offense will already presumably be able to move the ball.

DawgTime Tidbits:
* During the first 13 seasons of the Coach Richt era (2001-2013), the Georgia offense ran the ball 51% of the time, 49% passing (sacks considered pass attempts). This season, the Bulldogs run 60% of the time, only 40% passing.

* Georgia Tech is within reach of breaking the FBS single-season record for yards per pass completion: 19.1 by Houston in 1968 (min. 100 completions). Currently, the Jackets are averaging 18.3 yards per catch (85 completions entering game).

* If the Bulldogs score 20+ points against Georgia Tech, it’ll mark back-to-back campaigns in which Georgia scored at least 20 points in every regular-season game after having never accomplished as much in any regular season prior to 2013.

DawgTime Prediction: On Tuesday, Richt offered his opinion on “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate”: “I have done my best to explain, you know, kind of how this game goes, and the emotion of the game and how relentless Georgia Tech is in how they go about their business, and it’s kind of—it’s a game where you’ve gotta be—you’ve gotta be tough to play in this game.”

The Jackets might be “relentless,” and, as mentioned, they have been able to rush for an average of nearly 300 yards against the Bulldogs even when losing the annual affair since 2008. However, during the losing streak, they have averaged an un-Tech-like 23.8 points per game.

Like seemingly always, the Yellow Jackets should be able to move the ball, and may keep the game close for a while; however, simply put, Georgia is tough —tougher and more physical than Tech. Plus, no matter the outcome of the Arkansas-Missouri game, you can count on the Bulldogs being focused on the Jackets—perhaps, more focused and having more hate than for any other opponent this season. Richt improves to 13-1 against Tech, 37 to 20.

Dawgs Talk Some Turkey; Mostly Talk Tech

by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer

ATHENS—With two days until Thanksgiving, and three days until Georgia finds out if it will be playing in the SEC Championship or not (depending on the outcome of the Arkansas-Missouri game being played Friday afternoon), Coach Mark Richt and his players had little on their minds besides what they’ll encounter four days from now: rival Georgia Tech.

Richt began his weekly press conference this afternoon by first asking the Bulldog Nation to observe Saturday’s Senior Day (by arriving to the game “about 20 minutes” prior to kickoff) while taking part in his requested “Red Out.” “If you’re looking for a theme, let’s go red, and let’s get there on time,” the head coach declared.

As far as the upcoming holiday, the Bulldogs will have time for festivities, but for only a short time; practices are scheduled for both Thursday and Friday mornings.

“It’s different depending on where you live,” center David Andrews replied when asked where the players will spend Thanksgiving. “My parents live only about an hour and 20 minutes away—if that. So, we’ll get done with Thursday’s practice, and several teammates will go home with me; we’ll get home around 1:00 p.m. We’ll eat around 2 o’clock, hang out for a few hours, and then head back to Athens around 6 or 7:00 that night.”

Whether going home, celebrating at a teammate’s house, or even at the homes of certain coaches for the holiday, “everybody has a place to go [for Thanksgiving],” Andrews added.

Concerning the following day, Richt was asked what his team would be doing from 2:30 to 6:00, which happens to be the approximate time frame for when Arkansas will play at Missouri. Without even hinting at the game, Richt was unsure of his team’s exact agenda but mentioned unit meetings, walk-throughs, meals, and a bus ride to their hotel—all likely taking place during the three-and-a-half-hour window. The Bulldog head coach then concluded rather firmly, “But I can tell you this, we’re very focused on this game [with Georgia Tech]. That’s really the only thing we can control and it’s the only thing that is worth talking about right now.”

A win by Arkansas in Columbia, Mo., would clinch the SEC East division for Georgia, and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game. A win by Missouri would mean Georgia Tech is the last game for the Bulldogs prior to any bowl appearance. Nevertheless, the significant, deciding game on Friday is seemingly not even on the minds of most players, especially one in particular.

“I think a lot of [players] say that,” started receiver Chris Conley regarding his teammates apparently having little interest in the Arkansas-Missouri game, “but actually I’m the one who doesn’t [have interest]. I didn’t watch the Tennessee game last week (which could have clinched the SEC East for Georgia, as well). … I don’t want to say that I don’t care, but I care more about what we do. … I’m one of the people who probably won’t watch it; I’ll probably sleep [through the game].”

One of Georgia’s seniors playing his final game in Sanford Stadium is standout cornerback Damian Swann. With the Bulldogs riding a five-game winning streak over Tech, Swann has never experienced a loss to the Yellow Jackets, but realizes Saturday is a whole new ballgame against Georgia’s intrastate rival.

“Regardless of what we’ve done in the past, on [Saturday], we have to get a stop for us to get another win,” Swann said.

Stopping Tech’s vaunted triple-option offense won’t be easy. And, for this season, the Jackets’ offense appears to have discovered a new wrinkle in the form of a legitimate passing game. Sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas not only leads the squad in rushing (827 yards), but his 161.22 passer rating this season currently ranks second all time at Georgia Tech. “He’s a winner. He’s got ‘it,’” boasted Richt regarding Thomas.

On Saturday, Georgia will attempt to limit “it” from Thomas, while becoming the “winner” in this rivalry for the sixth consecutive season, and the 13th time in 14 tries during the Richt regime.

Dawgs Prep for Tech by Bashing Bucs, 55-9

by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer

ATHENS—Georgia entered today hoping for an easy victory this afternoon over FCS foe Charleston Southern (yet experience a tune-up for the Georgia Tech game next week), and a Tennessee win tonight over Missouri, which would clinch the SEC East title for the 9th-ranked Bulldogs.

Resulting in a resounding 55-9 victory over the Buccaneers (8-4), Georgia (9-2, 6-2 SEC) has accomplished at least one of its two desires for the day.

“We talked all week about respecting this opponent and you show that respect by giving them your best shot,” Coach Mark Richt stated after Georgia improved to 16-0 all time versus Division I-AA/FCS opponents. “We did just that. … We had great execution offensively and our defense didn’t give them much hope all day long.”

The CSU offense may have lost hope on the game’s initial possession, when the Bucs fumbled on their third play, giving the Bulldogs the ball on their 35-yard line. It took Georgia just one play to score—Hutson Mason finding Chris Conley for a quick-strike touchdown—and the Bulldogs had a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the ballgame.

After a CSU punt, it took Georgia just two plays to score again when freshman Nick Chubb sprinted 83 yards for a touchdown—the third-longest rushing touchdown by a Bulldog in Sanford Stadium history. Chubb would finish the game with just nine carries, but for 113 yards—his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance—and two touchdowns.

With just over five minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Mason passed to junior receiver Justin Scott-Wesley for a 19-yard touchdown, and the Bulldogs had built a 21-0 advantage. For Scott-Wesley, it was his first reception in nearly 13 months when he departed the Tennessee game a year ago with an injury as the 2013 team’s leading receiver through five games. This afternoon, he would also add a 14-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

Following a 53-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan, Chubb scored his second touchdown on an 8-yard run, and the Bulldogs led, 31-0.

Less than five minutes later, Morgan’s try at a 49-yard field goal was a rare miss. However, two plays later, CSU quarterback Austin Brown’s pass was tipped and intercepted by safety Quincy Mauger, who returned the errant pass 13 yards to the Buccaneer 23-yard line. It was Mauger’s fourth interception this season—a team high.

“I was just reading my keys and knowing where to be,” Mauger said regarding his interception. “Doing my assignments properly has just put me in the right position to make these kinds of plays.”

On the very next snap following the turnover, Mason passed to Conley, who made a remarkable, back-of-the-end-zone catch for 23 yards and a touchdown. Mason was near-flawless for the contest, completing all but two of 12 pass attempts for 187 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, the fifth-year senior has now thrown just three interceptions in 234 attempts, or a 1.28 interception percentage—currently, the lowest single-season mark in school history.

Following a 38-3 lead at intermission, the second half was Georgia’s time to empty its bench.

“We had some young men who had never stepped on the field before in the game,” Richt said following the victory. “To get in and play for the Bulldogs and to play between the hedges was a big thrill for these guys. I’m glad they got this opportunity.”

Early in the third quarter, backup quarterback Brice Ramsey passed to Jonathon Rumph for a 12-yard touchdown. Rumph, who finished with 5 receptions for 67 yards, led Georgia in receiving for the second time in three games after not seeing the field at all the first eight games of the season. Ramsey completed 8 of 12 passes for 92 yards, but was intercepted on one occasion.

Late in the third quarter, fullback Quayvon Hicks streaked for a 33-yard touchdown, giving Georgia a 55-3 lead. For the junior Hicks, it was just his 19th career carry; however, he has gained a staggering 157 yards for an 8.3 yards-per-carry average.

In the second half, CSU’s offense began to show some life with a solid running game. After gaining just 35 total yards in 24 plays in their first seven offensive possessions, the Buccaneers gained 186 yards in 39 plays in its final six drives.

With 9:55 left in the game, CSU tallied what would be the final points of the contest on a 2-yard touchdown run by Christian Reyes, who led the Bucs with 75 rushing yards on 19 carries. Following the touchdown, CSU’s try for two points was no good. Therefore, in allowing just nine points today, and seven points last week against Auburn, Georgia yielded less than 10 points to back-to-back opponents for the first time since September 2006.

“I feel like some of the things [Charleston Southern] did gives us a good idea of what to expect from [Georgia] Tech,” said linebacker Jordan Jenkins who, along with his fellow Bulldog defenders, must face Tech’s vaunted triple-option offense next week. “This has definitely been a good learning experience for all of the guys on defense in terms of getting hit and blocked like that.”

But, before their regular-season finale against Georgia Tech, who clinched a spot in the ACC title game with a Duke loss on Thursday, the Bulldogs will be glued to the television tonight, rooting for Tennessee and hoping their second desire of the day is fulfilled.

Will the Bucs Really Be a Breather for the Bulldogs?

by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer

Following Georgia’s (8-2, 6-2 SEC) 34-to-7 thumping of Auburn at Sanford Stadium last Saturday, the 9th-ranked Bulldogs remain at home for seemingly a breather against Charleston Southern (8-3, 3-2 Big South) of the FCS. Coach Mark Richt stressed at Tuesday’s press conference that the Bulldogs could not, and would not, look past CSU; the Buccaneers nearly defeated Vanderbilt earlier this season. Nevertheless, Saturday afternoon should be a good opportunity for many Dogs to see playing time, while likely benefiting with a tune up before the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech.

Sadly, Georgia fans have probably seen the last of superstar Todd Gurley, who tore his ACL against Auburn and seems most likely to jump to the NFL before his senior campaign of 2015. Regardless, depending on the results of SEC East-leading Missouri’s final two games, the Bulldog Nation could still have a lot to look forward to, like a trip to the SEC Championship and possibly beyond.

When the Dawgs Have the Ball: While Georgia’s running game has garnered all the attention in 2014, quarterback Hutson Mason has been assembling a fine season. Through 10 games, the fifth-year senior has thrown 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions; his 150.6 passer rating ranks 17th in the nation, while 67.6 completion percentage is tops in the SEC.

Hopefully, Mason and his fellow starters won’t have to play much past halftime against CSU, when they can relax and look forward to the Tennessee-Missouri game that night. A win by the Volunteers, who are currently a slight favorite over the Tigers, would clinch the SEC East for the Bulldogs.

“It’ll be nice to sit down and watch the [Tennessee-Missouri] game,” Mason said when asked about his post-game plans. “Tennessee is fun to watch…I think it’ll be a really good match up and [Knoxville] is a tough place to play at night.”

As far as Mason’s roommate—receiver Michael Bennett—there’s no doubting where his allegiance lies: “I may paint a ‘T’ somewhere and run through it. Me and Hutson will definitely be cheering [Tennessee] on.”

Prior to rooting on the Volunteers, Georgia must encounter a CSU defense which ranks first in the Big South Conference in total defense (302.5 yards) and first in rushing defense (128.8 yards). Notably, the Buccaneers held Vanderbilt to 21 points and 295 total yards.

When the Bucs Have the Ball: As good as CSU has demonstrated stopping the run is the Bucs’ ability to do the running. Averaging more than 230 rushing yards per game and five yards per carry, they feature three backs who have each gained between 425 and 875 yards on the season. This excludes quarterback Austin Brown who, besides passing for 1,833 yards and 11 touchdowns, has rushed for 249 yards and five scores.

Still, CSU’s ground game must face a Georgia defensive unit which recently held one of the nation’s best rushing offenses in Auburn in check.

“We went out there [against Auburn] and did what other teams were not able to do and what we haven’t done all year against the run,” linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. “It was great. Everybody did their job and everybody was in the right spot and didn’t try to do other people’s jobs.”

Currently, the Bulldogs are holding opponents to a respectable low of 4.9 yards per offensive play. Entering this season, only one of Georgia’s previous six defensive units (2008-2013) held its opposition to an average of less than five yards per play.

“It’s hard to explain [in evaluating this season’s defense],” defensive end Sterling Bailey stated. “This defense is just something different. The coaching staff that we brought in, they believe in us. It’s starting to show.”

Special Teams: Something else for Georgia that is “just different” this year than before are the Bulldogs’ vastly improved return units. Last season, Georgia averaged a lowly 2.9 yards per punt return, surpassing the previous all-time program low of 3.8 established in 1957, and just 18.6 yards per kickoff return. On the contrary, the Bulldogs are averaging 12.1 yards per punt return and 23.8 yards per kickoff return this season, ranking 20th and 21st, respectively, out of 125 FBS teams.

Georgia’s foremost returner is true freshman Isaiah McKenzie, who is averaging 14 yards per punt return and 30 yards per kickoff return, and has scored three touchdowns off returns.

DawgTime Tidbits:
* Since NCAA Division I football reclassified to Divisions “I-A” and “I-AA” in 1978, Georgia has a 15-0 record against I-AA/FCS opponents, averaging a 45-to-11 final score.

* Hutson Mason’s interception percentage of 1.35% this season (3 INT in 222 attempts) is currently second-best in UGA single-season history, barely trailing David Greene’s 1.33% in 2004 (4 INT in 299 attempts).

* During the Coach Richt era (2001 to present), Georgia has entered 11 games favored by 35 or more points, including versus Troy this season; although the Bulldogs won all 11 games rather easily, just three times did they cover the point spread (including against Troy).

DawgTime Prediction: A couple of days ago, Coach Richt claimed, “[CSU is] physical. They’re well coached. … You can see on film when a team is believing and these guys are believing. They’re going to be a great opponent for us this weekend.”

“Great opponent”? Yes, perhaps, but not for long on Saturday against a big-time FBS program. The Buccaneers might contend at first, but Georgia wins—and wins big—in the end, 45 to 10. Several hours later, while the Dawgs cheer them on, the Tennessee Volunteers defeat the Missouri Tigers by 10 points, sending the Bulldogs to the Georgia Dome in early December for the third time in the last four seasons.

Richt Says Team’s “Tail Ready For A War” Against CSU & Black Jerseys In Squad’s Future

by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer

ATHENS—Fresh off an impressive 34-7 victory over rival Auburn and with a meeting looming against FCS-opponent Charleston Southern this Saturday, head coach Mark Richt faced the media this afternoon in a cheerful mood. The Georgia head coach even appeared upbeat when asked about his team without—again—Todd Gurley, whose Bulldog career most likely came to a complete end after suffering a torn ACL against the Tigers.

“We basically know who’s healthy or not healthy, or who’s eligible to play or who’s not eligible to play,” Richt began regarding how his offense copes in Gurley’s absence, “and we get those guys ready to play. We keep marching on.”

Richt interestingly indicated today that if he was beginning his coaching career again as an assistant, he’d want to coach offensive linemen. The head Bulldog had high praise for those upfront who had blocked for Gurley and his fellow backs in 2014—the unsung offensive line unit, which although often unrecognized individually, has been outstanding thus far this season.

“If we just keep doing our job the way we’ve been doing it right now, people can talk about [Aaron] Chubb, [Brendan] Douglas, and Sony [Michel] all day long—give them all the credit,” junior offensive guard Greg Pyke added when asked about offensive linemen generally going unnoticed. “We know we’re doing a good job upfront.”

In regards to the “blackout” Saturday night at Sanford Stadium, where at least 90 percent of the Bulldog crowd was donned in black, Richt was asked with at least three games remaining this year—maybe as many as five—if his players might join in and wear black jerseys before the season ended.

“No,” the head coach replied conclusively. “Maybe next year.”

Richt stated that his “goal” would be to have one game—a “planned event” and not a surprise unveiling—during the 2015 season when the Bulldogs would wear black jerseys. “We are Georgia. We are the red and black. It would be pretty natural for us [to wear black jerseys for one game],” he said.

The Bulldogs were also asked if facing Charleston Southern—a Division III program as recently as the 1990s and a team which endured a 15-game losing streak ending just two seasons ago—was a time to completely rest standout players, and a situation where it might be difficult to carry over the intensity from the Auburn game.

“It is a little bit difficult [to carry over the intensity], but it’s just another time to compete,” receiver Michael Bennett said. “We’re competitors and it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Charleston Southern has a good team. They’re 8-and-3 and they’re a hard, physical team.”

Since halting their 15-game losing streak in 2012, the Buccaneers have a 23-9 record, including 8-3 this season which includes a narrow 21-20 loss to Vanderbilt in early October.

“I’ve said this before and I mean it, it’s hard to beat teams that are used to winning,” Richt declared. “You can’t [completely rest standout players]. That’s why people get beat. They start thinking something different other than get your tail ready for a war.”

MRI on Todd Gurley confirms torn ACL

ATHENS———– An MRI performed Sunday on University of Georgia junior tailback Todd Gurley confirmed a torn ACL.

The injury occurred in the fourth quarter of Saturday¹s victory
over Auburn. A surgery date has not yet been determined according to UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson