April 16, 2011

Richt calls it a Good Day

One of the reasons head coach Mark Richt decided to select captains to draft their teammates for Saturday's G-Day game at Sanford Stadium was to create a little excitement for what is typically a hum-drum afternoon.

From that standpoint, Richt made the call as true freshman Christian LeMay led the Black Team on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive to defeat the Red, 18-11.

"When you're splitting your No. 1 units, it's not easy to break up your lines and expect everybody to be in sync, but I wanted to split the team up for the morale of it, the excitement of it," Richt said. "I thought it was a good day."

LeMay certainly made the most of his opportunity.

After playing sparingly the first half, LeMay's Black Team got the ball with 6:59 to go and after an initial 8-yard sack, completed passes of 14, 11, 12 and 13 yards before redshirt freshman Ken Malcolm capped the 75-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run.

But despite LeMay's late success, the offensive performer of the game was starting quarterback Aaron Murray, who completed 12 of 17 passes for 122 yards and one score, a 28-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Smith for the victorious Black squad.

Carlton Thomas - who rushed for a game-high 48 yards on 13 carries - tallied the only touchdown for the Red on a 5-yard run. Malcome, meanwhile, rushed for 39 yards on seven carries while Caleb King added 30 on five attempts.

"We made some great plays on offense and our running game was outstanding," said Murray. "I think we moved the ball really well today. We all felt positive about who we are, what we are about and what we can do this fall."

Hutson Mason completed 8-of-16 passes for 109 yards and an interception for the Red while backup Parker Welch completed 5-of-10 passes for 71 yards.

Tavarres King led all Red Team receivers with five catches for 62 yards, while Marlon Brown (47 yards) and Orson Charles (41 yards) each caught four passes for the victorious Black.

The Red Team's first five points came on a 34-yard field goal by backup kicker Brandon Bogotay and a first-quarter safety when defensive end Derrick Lott was credited with a first-quarter sack of Murray in the end zone, one of two for the redshirt sophomore on the day.

Other items of note:

Saturday's crowd of 43,117 was the largest in G-Day history.

Hutson Mason completed a 36-yard pass to tight end Aron White on the game's first play. It was the longest pass completion of the day.

• Nose Kwame Geathers showed why he's been receiving praise from his defensive coaches as he contributed two tackles for loss, including one of minus-four when he swallowed up Caleb King for a 4-yard loss.

• Walk-on safety Connor Norman had the game's only interception.

• Thomas' fourth-quarter touchdown was his second G-Day touchdown in as many years and made up for a fumble earlier in the contest.

• Defensively, Chase Vasser and Alec Ogletree both made seven tackles each to lead the Black and Red teams, respectively.

Reuben Faloughi added three sacks for the Black team and Derrick Lott had two for the Red including a sack of Murray in the end zone for a safety.

After the game, Richt took a moment to look ahead to the fall, in particular the potential impact of the much ballyhooed "Dream Team."

"Everything we did this year had a winner and a loser and I think the guys responded well," Richt said. "I think the guys here now realize that there's a pack of dogs coming to try to get playing time and jobs of that nature, so I think that's really going to ignite and excite our program."

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