November 22, 2009

Turnover issues still a problem

It's a stat that will haunt Georgia coach Mark Richt forever.

In 11 games thus far, only once have the Bulldogs won the battle of turnovers, an ugly fact that bit the Bulldogs hard in Saturday night's 34-27 loss to Kentucky.

The Bulldogs now have 26 turnovers and opponents have scored 102 points off of those miscues. A total of 19 of the 26 turnovers have been in Georgia territory. For the year, Georgia is minus-18 in turnover ratio. Georgia has forced only eight turnovers for 27 points.

After the game, Richt was asked again why nothing has changed.

"We felt like we spend even more time than normal on the fundamentals of recovering fumbles, securing the ball," Richt said. "We spent a lot of time on the jugs machine this summer, both sides of the ball, working hard trying to make sure they catch the ball. We felt like we were being very proactive in that way. But whatever reason it didn't come to fruition. We've got to dig deeper in the future to make sure we do a better job."

Undoubtedly:

Kentucky's comeback started after freshman Brandon Smith fumbled the third-quarter kickoff, setting up Randall Cobb's 12-yard run.

Later, quarterback Joe Cox threw an interception in the fourth quarter for Georgia's second turnover of the game which was returned to the Bulldogs' 8 yard line. Two plays later, Cobb scored from 2-yards out.

The third turnover of the second half came when freshman Washaun Ealey fumbled at the UK 2 yard line with just under three minutes to play, and it was recovered by Danny Trevathan. Georgia forced a punt. Then on the first play, Cox's pass was intercepted by Sam Maxwell and Kentucky was able to run out the clock.

"We talked about wanting to win the turnover ratio and we did the opposite," linebacker Rennie Curran said. "I just can't understand why this has kept happening."

Remembering Uga VII

Uga VII was buried alongside his forbearers inside the vault at Sanford Stadium Saturday morning.

Prior to the kickoff, the University had a moment of silence for the mascot. A wreath was laid over the top of his doghouse as a remembrance.

It marked the first Georgia game since the 2005 matchup versus Mississippi State in Starkville that an Uga was not patrolling the sidelines. Bad weather forced Uga VI to miss the MSU game. Uga VII passed away suddenly this past Thursday.

He had a record of 16-7, including 1-0 in his only bowl game. This marks the first time an Uga has not been on the sidelines for a Bulldog home game since Uga I missed a game or two in the 1950s, according to the mascot's owner Sonny Seiler.

Injury Update

Sophomore cornerback Brandon Boykin left the game with a hip injury in the first quarter and returned in the third.

He ended up returning for kickoffs only and finished with four returns for 103 yards.

This and that

Linebacker Darryl Gamble wore No. 18 in honor of the injured Bacarri Rambo who suffered a concussion during a pass break-up late in the game during the win over #25 Auburn last week and is out tonight. Gamble and Rambo are also cousins. … Senior linebacker Marcus Washington got his first start of the season after starting six games in 2007 (he missed the entire 2008 season with shoulder surgery). … On the ground, freshman Ealey and sophomore Caleb King tied for the team-high with 77 yards apiece. Freshman Branden Smith had three carries for 52 yards. The Bulldogs had 143 yards rushing in the opening half and finished with 196 yards. … Kicker Blair Walsh connected on a 21-yard field goal in the opening quarter and a 45 yarder at the end of the second period. He is 16-for-17 in 2009, including 9-for-9 from 40 or more yards. Walsh has hit 94.12 percent of his kicks this season. The No. 1 mark in Georgia history for a single season is 92.86 percent (Billy Bennett, 13-of-14, 2000). … Curran finished with 13 tackles on the night. This is the 11th game of his career with 10 or more tackles and the fifth this season. Curran now has 107 tackles on the year. This is his second straight season with more than 100 tackles after he finished with 115 in 2008. He is the first Bulldog to accomplish this feat since Greg Bright (1996-97).

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