November 25, 2006

Dawgs Bite Jackets

With the 15-12 win over Georgia Tech, the Georgia Bulldogs
became the first unranked Georgia team to defeat a ranked Yellow Jacket team.
Unranked Bulldog teams failed in the eight previous games against ranked
Yellow Jacket teams. The Bulldogs retain the Governor's cup for the sixth
straight season and head coach
Mark Richt has never lost against the
Yellow Jackets at Georgia.


Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and the
Georgia defense held Georgia Tech to only 188 yards of total offense and just
42 passing yards on 22 attempts in the air.


"Coach Martinez did a great job of scheming and
of getting a plan to make it tough on Calvin (Johnson). He did a good job of
mixing blitzes and different coverages. The times when Calvin was one-on-one
we did a good job of pressuring Reggie (Ball) making it tough for him to throw
it. Tashard Choice had a big day and ran for more yards than we hoped, but we
were able to contain him enough to win on the scoreboard. We got a defensive
touchdown and three turnovers to our one which may be the telling stat."


The Bulldogs are one win shy of tying the series record
for the most consecutive wins over Georgia Tech which was seven from 1991-97.


Georgia played the roll of spoiler for the second straight
week after ruining then #5 Auburn's shot at a BCS bowl game. With #16
Georgia Tech going down, the Bulldogs improved their odds of heading to a better
bowl game like the Chik-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.


"We have put ourselves in position to get the best
opportunity after the bad run we had and to defeat a number five team and a
number 16 team back-to-back I am hoping the pollsters put us back in the top
25. I think we deserve it and hopefully that will make us a little more attractive
to the bowls as well," said Richt about the bowl situation.


Georgia and Tennessee are the two front-runners for the
Chik-fil-A Bowl, but no decisions will be made until after the conference championship
games next week according to bowl officials.


With the victory, coach Richt won his 60th game in just
six seasons in Athens. Only seven other coaches have accomplished that feat
in the history of division I-A football. Richt is 60-17 as a head coach and
has a perfect record against non-conference opponents in Sanford Stadium (17-0).


Richt has only two non-conference losses in his career
both in bowl games against Big East opponents (Boston College 2001 Music City
Bowl, West Virginia Sugar Bowl 2006).


Oliver Shuts Down Top WR


Junior cornerback Paul Oliver shut down Georgia
Tech's Calvin Johnson who many experts consider the best wide
receiver in the country. The Yellow Jackets threw eleven times to Johnson, but
they only connected twice for 13 yards.


"Paul Oliver was guarding the most talented wide
receiver in the United States and he did a wonderful job on him. He used some
of his techniques of jamming him on the line of scrimmage to slow him down and
he broke up some balls," said Richt about Oliver's performance.
"He also made the play that helped us win in the end. Paul did a beautiful
job all day long."


Paul Oliver broke up three passes to Johnson including
two consecutive short passes in the endzone in the third quarter when the Bulldogs
held Georgia Tech to a 24-yard field goal.


"Kelin (Johnson) made that one play, but for the
most part I was singled up on him (Johnson), said Oliver. "I think it
was a dream situation to shut down the best receiver in the country to those
type of numbers and it is really mind blowing right now."


Oliver ended the final Yellow Jacket threat intercepting
the final pass attempt to Johnson with 1:01 left in the game.


The Bulldogs allowed the Yellow Jackets to convert only
four out of 14 third down plays in the game. Georgia leads the nation in third
down efficiency this season.


Taylor Scores Second Touchdown


Senior linebacker Tony Taylor provided Georgia's
first score of the game on a fumble recovery from Yellow Jacket quarterback
Reggie Ball in the third quarter. Defensive end Marcus Howard stripped
Ball and Taylor picked up the ball from a Georgia Tech player's legs were
he promptly ran it back 39 yards to give Georgia the lead 7-6.


Taylor dove in the endzone drawing a unsportsman like
conduct penalty similar to the play
Tra Battle had against Auburn on
his interception return for a touchdown. Taylor is leading tackler this season
for Georgia and he leads the team in defensive touchdowns with two.


Georgia's defense has scored three touchdowns this
season.


Stafford and Massaquoi Improving


Freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford is now
5-2 as the starting quarterback at Georgia. Stafford passed for 171 yards and
the game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.


"I am happy we sent our seniors out on top with
a win at home against our biggest rival," said Stafford of the win against
Georgia Tech.


Stafford guided the Bulldogs on a 7:05 drive in the fourth
quarter they put the Bulldogs up for good ending with a 4-yard touchdown pass
to Massaquoi and then a two-point conversion play to Massaquoi


Stafford has not thrown an interception in the last two
ball games, which has helped keep the Georgia defense out of bad field position.


"Two games in a row where I do not think there was
a ball thrown that could have or should have been picked off which is huge for
you quarterback like that," said Richt of Stafford's maturation
as a quarterback. "He took a sack or two instead of throwing the ball
up for grabs and he has learned that even a sack is better than that."


Massaquoi caught six passes for 46 yards including one
touchdown and a two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs the win.


"Mohamed did a great job all the way around especially
on that last drive. The touchdown was a play were he had to be real patient
and really sell that little hook route and force the defenders to bite on the
hook route. Matthew did a good job of pump faking it to him. Mohamed did a nice
job of separating and made a very good catch because that was not a very easy
catch," said Richt. "Mohamed is one of our best receivers and he
had to work his way (through his problems with drops this year) and I think
he has."


Ball Suffers at Hands of the Dawgs


Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball fell to
0-4 against Georgia in his career Saturday. Ball has only one touchdown pass
and five career interceptions in four starts against the Bulldogs.


"I want to win every game. I don't buy into
the whole rivalry game idea," said Ball of losing to Georgia for a fourth
time. "I don't care if it is a team of old ladies playing flag football,
I want to win."


Ball put up pathetic passing numbers throwing for just
42 yards on 22 attempts with two interceptions and just six completions.


McKinzey, Holden, and Williams Moving on


Juniors
Zeb McKinzey,
Trahern Holden,
and Des Williams will forgo their final year of eligibility at Georgia
and graduate.


McKinzey and Williams have been hampered by shoulder
injuries this season.


"It is disappointing that I will never play again,
but after you sit and think about it for long enough it is the kind of decision
you have to make," said McKinzey about giving up another season in Athens.
"I made the decision for me and my long term goals because I do not want
to mess up my shoulder more."


Holden never cracked the top three tight end spots on
the depth chart during his three seasons in Athens and he was not likely to
move up next season either.


"I am out of here. I am graduating so I am done,"
said Holden about his decision to depart from Athens.


Injury Report


Offense Tackle Ken Shackleford left the game
in the first quarter with a left ankle sprain and did not return. Senior Michael
Turner replaced Shackleford for the rest of the game.


Junior kicker Brandon Coutu (hamstring) may
be able to play in the bowl according to coach Richt, but they will wait until
bowl practice to decide if he will kick this again this season. If Coutu is
not available coach Richt will look at Andy Bailey as the kicker.



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