April 14, 2012

Offense rules the day

So much for the notion that Saturday's G-Day game would be a low-scoring snooze fest.

Although the defense certainly made some impressive plays, it was the offense which made the biggest statement as the Red team nipped the Black 32-31 before an announced Sanford Stadium crowd of 44,117.

There were a number of individual stars.

Running back Richard Samuel led all rushers with eight carries for 43 yards and a score for the Black, followed by Ken Malcome who added 32 yards on eight carries for the and scored two touchdowns for the Red.

Quarterbacks Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason and Christian LeMay each had good afternoons.

Murray completed 7 of 17 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, Mason 5 of 8 for 62 yards and a touchdown with LeMay completing 7 of 10 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, a 66-yarder to Jay Rome with 59 seconds left.

The touchdown cut the lead to one, but the two-point pass failed, enabling the Red to hold onto the 32-31 victory.

"It was probably a few more points than I thought would be scored today," Richt said. "But when you look at it, the defense scored points, too, and that's what happens sometimes, when the defense makes good plays it sets up short plays for the offense, but I thought both sides of the ball did well."

Of the Bulldogs' regulars and semi-regulars on defense, linebacker Ramik Wilson enjoyed a solid day, leading both teams with seven tackles, including an interception, a sack and a tackle for loss.

But it was seldom-used Ricky Lowe to make arguably the game's biggest play for the Red.

With 1:40 left to play and the game tied a 25, linebacker Reuben Faloughi, tapped quarterback Parker Welch, fumbling right into the arms of Lowe who rumbled 62 yards for what turned out to be the winning score.

"Ricky Lowe … making a play. It was awesome," Richt said. "First of all, that was more contact on a quarterback than we've had all spring. I guess me being up in the booth changed the attitude of some of those guys, plus I think maybe they're tired of getting close and not getting it (a sack)called."

Lowe wasn't the only defender to score a touchdown on the day.

Defensive end Garrison Smith also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.

"We had a lot of guys do some good things," Wilson said. "They (the offense) made some plays, but we made things happen as well."

Other touchdowns were scored by wide receiver Tavarres King on a 33-yard pass from Murray, Rhett McGowan on a 7-yard pass from Mason and Samuel on a 2-yard run.

"Richard proved he can bring a good change of pace to our running game with his physicality, and he's got speed too, of course," Richt said." We feel he can play the fullback position. He's smart enough too and he's willing enough to."

Murray accumulated his stats playing in six of the game's 25 series.

"I thought our guys did a great job against one of the best defenses in the country," Murray said. "It showed out there in the game today. The guys made a lot of plays, competed well and put some points on the board."

Richt thought the entire spring was a success for his team, which Saturday also received field goals of 46 yards by Adam Erickson and 26 yards by Jamie Lindley.

"It was good to see some young men make some plays that maybe, I guess out in the open when people can see it. Jay Rome making that play (the 66-yard touchdown) and even some of the defensive plays with Ramik and some of the other guys. Garrison Smith, who won the hustle award, you could see why he got that playing the way he did," Richt said. "It was good to see our nose guards penetrate through the middle of the line and block passes. It's very encouraging to know that we've got the edge rushers that we have and we can push the pocket up in the face of the quarterback."

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