October 3, 2010

Green lives up to his end of bargain

BOULDER, Colo. - No, A.J. Green couldn't beat Colorado by himself. But he came close.

In his first game back since serving his four-game suspension by the NCAA for selling his Independence Bowl jersey, Green put on a performance that showed why he's considered one of the country's top wide receivers.

The junior from Summerville, S.C. caught seven passes for 119 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns, including one amazing one-hand grab while falling to the turf at Folsom Field.

Green even added 40 yards on a reverse for the biggest highlights in what was an otherwise another forgettable performance by the Bulldogs who fell to Colorado 29-27.

"I was preparing the whole time I was suspended," Green said. "I wasn't worried I was going to come out and not perform. I never took a day off."

If not for some third-quarter cramps, the game might well have had a different outcome.

The Bulldogs' offense appeared to have found itself after Green hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray.

But once he started cramping early in the third, Georgia's offense slowed to a crawl while Colorado's offense found its rhythm, outscoring the Bulldogs 15-7 to go into the fourth with a 29-24 lead.

Green said he thought the high altitude played a role with his cramps.

"I felt it a lot, this being my first game back," Green said. "It was hard for me to keep my breath, but I fought through it."

Murray didn't have any complaints, calling Green's one-handed catch for a touchdown one of the greatest catches he's ever seen.

"He's a tremendous athlete, a tremendous football player and he's going to make a lot of plays," Murray said. "You want him to get into situations where the defense is at risk. It was a great play call. We missed a couple here and there; we could have put a few more on the board."

Murray wasn't kidding.

Late in the second quarter, Green came within an eyelash of catching his third touchdown only to have the ball tipped away at the last second by cornerback Jimmy Smith.

"He's the best receiver I've ever faced," Colorado cornerback Jalil Brown said. "He's a big receiver but he's got speed, too. Usually, receivers that size aren't as fast as he was, but he's unbelievable and it showed out there today."

Bulldog coach Mark Richt was not surprised by what he saw.

"It's nice to have A.J. You could see tonight just how talented he is, and how dangerous a player he is," Richt said. "He's a momentum changer, and he did (change momentum). We reversed the momentum of the game and the more plays he made our offense sparked. He's definitely a special player and a special kid."

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