October 16, 2010

Big day for Durham

Even A.J. Green couldn't believe what he saw.

With Georgia facing a third-and-8 at its own 14-yard line early in the third quarter, quarterback Aaron Murray was being pressured by several Vanderbilt players when he heaved what looked to be a desperation pass in the direction of Kris Durham who was being covered by three Commodores 22 yards down the field.

Initially, it didn't look like the smartest of plays. But somebody forgot to tell Durham who leaped and caught the ball at its highest point, falling down between the would-be defenders to give Georgia a key first down.

"That was a good one," Green said, his eye lighting up. "I was like 'wow.' that's a good catch."

There wasn't much doubt about that.

While the All-American Green is obviously the player opposing defenses have to plan their scheme around, Durham is proving to be no slouch himself following another solid performance Saturday which saw him grab four passes for a career-high 112 yards a touchdown in the Bulldogs' 43-0 win.

But it was his huge grab in triple coverage that had teammates talking in the lockerroom.

Too bad, Durham was at a loss for words as to how he made the play.

"I've been asked about it, and I don't know. I was focused on the ball. I had no idea who was around me.

I didn't see them," Durham said. "I knew that that safety was over the top and the guy Nickel-Sam, he was walling me, but all I saw was the ball. I really felt I was in slow motion because the ball was just hanging. I was fortunate enough to come down with it."

Durham has been coming down with passes all year.

The Calhoun native entered play Saturday as the eighth-ranked wideout in SEC play in regards to receiving yards per game with 56.8.

After his most recent performance, Durham has a team-high 22 catches for 453 yards and two touchdowns.

"I'm real proud of Durham. He's had some injuries, but he's fought hard and found a way to get ready on Saturdays," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "We've always thought Durham was a great receiver, he just had to stay healthy. He's been productive every time he's been thrown the ball."

Davis fires up the Dawgs.

Last week it was former Bulldog Boss Bailey who fired up the Bulldogs with some heart-felt pre-game words. Saturday, it was Thomas Davis' turn.

According to head coach Mark Richt, Davis spoke to the team prior to the Bulldogs taking the field. Like Bailey, he made quite the impression.

"I gave Thomas Davis a chance to talk to the boys before the game and Thomas said it very, very well I think," Richt said. "They came out of the lockerroom pretty emotional. Thomas could have been anywhere else he wanted to be, Geno Atkins could have been anywhere he wanted to be but they wanted to be with their teammates, support and encourage them and maybe give them a little kick in the rear."

Richt said Davis' words were so inspiring he didn't have to say a thing before the Bulldogs took the field.

"It's hard to do build up a certain tradition of how we want to play defense or how we want to play football and I think some of the old guys feel like maybe we're letting that slip away a little bit," Richt said. "They've really challenged the players not to let that happen. I didn't say a word. I said 'Let's go' when he was done."

Timeout issue in the first quarter

If the NCAA kept records on the quickest use of timeouts, Georgia likely would have set a brand new mark as the Bulldogs burned all three of the first half just 5:16 into the game.

The Bulldogs' first time out came on just the second play of the opening possession by Vanderbilt before calling the final two during their first offensive series that followed.

"The first one was a substitution issue, we didn't have enough men on the field," Richt explained. "Then (on offense), the call was wrong and we were trying to line up and run a play that we don't do out of that personnel grouping, so we had to call timeout there."

The third and final timeout occurred when kicker Blair Walsh initially was sent out to try a short field goal, although the Bulldogs were just fourth-and-inches at the Vanderbilt 16.

However, after a closer look, Richt called the last time out to go for the first down. Murray converted the first on a 2-yard run, although Georgia was still forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Walsh for the game's first three points.

"That was on me.
I knew it was fourth-and-1 but I didn't know if it was fourth-and-1 and a little bit or four inches or six inches," Richt said. "I kind of ran on the field a little bit to see, then I called the timeout.

Injury update

Georgia appeared to come out of Saturday's game injury free although Branden Smith sat out his second straight contest after suffering a concussion two weeks ago. …Backup safety Nick Williams did not play (hamstring). … Backup linebacker Richard Samuel (knee) dressed out for the first time all year but did not play.

This and that

Georgia held Vanderbilt scoreless in the first half. The last time the Bulldogs held a team without any points in the first two quarters was against Tennessee Tech during the 2009 Homecoming game. The Bulldogs downed Tennessee Tech 38-0 in that contest after taking a 31-0 lead at halftime. … The Bulldogs picked up their first safety of the season after Vanderbilt snapped the ball over the head of quarterback Larry Smith deep in Commodore territory in the first quarter. The ball rolled out of the back of the end zone to give Georgia two points. This marks the first safety for Georgia since Zach Renner blocked a punt into the end zone versus Tennessee in 2009. … Senior safety Chad Gloer wore No. 31 in honor of Quintin Banks whose career was cut short due to chronic knee problems. … Junior OLB Justin Houston registered a sack at the end of the first quarter to force a Vanderbilt punt. This gives Houston an SEC-leading 6.5 sacks on the season. Also, he had five tackles today. … Senior Madison Asef, a native of Alpharetta majoring in Nutrition Science, was crowned the Homecoming queen while senior Trey Sinyard, a native of Athens majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was crowned the Homecoming king.

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