October 12, 2013

Turnovers killer for Dawgs

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Before Saturday's game against Missouri, turnovers - for the most part - hadn't been that big a problem.

They certainly were this time around.

Two lost fumbles and two interceptions helped ruin whatever chance the Bulldogs had of mounting a comeback in their 41-26 loss.

"You can't turn the ball over. We had too many of those errors. We have to protect the ball in this type of offense," wide receiver Chris Conley said. "In this offense, a pro-style offense, the ball can go to anybody. Receiver, running back, quarterback � whoever touches the ball, has to protect the ball. Those errors are on us."

Georgia came into play with just five turnovers over the Bulldogs' first five games, including three interceptions by quarterback Aaron Murray.

Saturday's two picks established a season-high, but it was his second-quarter fumble that Missouri returned for a 21-yard touchdown to extend the Tigers' lead to 28-10 that appeared to do the most damage.

"The turnovers killed us," Murray said. "Both picks were forced throws trying to put the ball into tight spots where I probably should have checked down."

Freshman running back Brendan Douglas also suffered an untimely mistake when he fumbled at the Tiger 7-yard line later in the second quarter.

"I was just fighting for some extra yards and the ball popped out," Douglas said. "I thought I was down, but I'm sure they had a better view of it. It was disappointing."

Head coach Mark Richt agreed.

"There was a chance we could have scored a touchdown when we were down close, that would have been nice," Richt said. You can't say we gave them the touchdown, they came around the edge and forced the turnover. They made the play. But you hate it when it happens that way. All the turnover bothered me."

When will injured return?

Yes, Georgia played Saturday's game without some of its key performers, but Richt did not use that as an excuse for the Bulldogs' loss.
"I'm not going to sit and talk about if we had this or if we had that," Richt said. "We have injuries, other teams do, too. Their quarterback went out and they found a way to win."

But what about next week's game at Vanderbilt?

Running back Todd Gurley missed his second consecutive game with a sprained ankle, but Richt believes his star sophomore has a shot to suit up against the Commodores.

"We'll be much more hopeful that Todd will play," Richt said. "I'd say, this is the first week that we'd sit here and say he's got a realistic shot, although I wouldn't say Todd is full speed on Monday. I wouldn't say that. We'll have to wait and see how much he gets better as the week goes along."

Richt is also hopeful that free safety Tray Matthews (hamstring) will also be able return, while wide receiver Jonathon Rumph[/d]b (hamstring) is actually scheduled to start practicing on Monday.

Green, Douglas do their part

With Gurley out, freshmen [db]J.J. Green[/d]b and Douglas shouldered the bulk of running game for the Bulldogs and actually didn't do too bad.

Green rushed 12 times for 87 yards, including a 57-yarder, while Douglas carried 14 times for a career-best 70 yards.

"They did a good job. Mike (offensive coordinator Mike Bobo) and I were talking after the game, and they're good backs," Richt said. "They ran the well and they caught the ball well. We're not handcuffed. They did a good job. We're proud of them."

The two also combined for 11 receptions, with Douglas catching six for 43 yards and a score, while Green added five for 42.

Douglas did have a key fumble, however, with Georgia driving for a score down 28-10 late in the second quarter.

Erickson gets his shot

With punter [db]Collin Barber struggling, Georgia switched to Athens native Adam Erickson in the second half.

Barber - who suffered a concussion last week at Tennessee, averaged just 32 yards on two kicks before Erickson came on and averaged 40.5 on two.

"(Barber) was struggling," Richt said. "I'm not saying we made a final decision on that considering he had the concussion and came back � he didn't punt until Thursday and he struggled a little bit there, too. I just don't want to wait forever, but I think with a week of practice, there's a really good chance he will be back in there."

This and that

Georgia tied a season high with four sacks (against LSU). A pair of those came from junior defensive end Ray Drew, who also had two at Tennessee and now has a team high five on the year. True freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd picked up his fourth sack in the game's opening quarter. Later in the period, senior defensive end Garrison Smith sacked James Franklin for loss of 9 yards. The Bulldogs now have16 sacks on the year. Drew finished with 7 tackles. � Green and freshman inside linebacker Reggie Carter got their first career starts. Seven true freshmen have started for the Bulldogs this season. Wide receiver Rantavious Wooten started the sixth game of his career and the first of 2013. He started two games last year (first start since Tennessee 2012) and three as a freshman in 2009.

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