Closing Spring With A Win

ATHENS - Inevitably, Mark Richt used his cinch spring game liner to sum up his thoughts about G-Day Saturday.

"And Georgia won, too," Richt said of the Red team's 18-11 victory over the Black team.

While the Black team—led by quarterback Aaron Murray—beat Christian Robinson's Red team with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Richt is correct; Georgia was the outright winner, especially since there were no injuries.

Richt always falls back on his time-tested joke, but splitting the teams in different fashion—letting captains pick teams—gave the players a different edge, according to Murray.

"It definitely put a different emotion on this game," Murray said. "We've been talking smack for a week, and it definitely feels good to get this win."

The Red team, primarily quarterbacked by sophomore Hutson Mason, outgained its counterpart in offensive yardage—266 yards to 225.

But four turnovers, three fumbles and an interception, were costly.

"We still had a chance to win on that last drive," said junior receiver Tavarres King, who recorded five catches for 62 yards. "We just lost some opportunities early."

Murray finished 12-of-17 for 122 yards with a touchdown, capping a spring in which he was named Offensive MVP.

"I feel like as an offense this spring, we've made tremendous strides," Murray said. "We've just got to keep working hard this summer and get ready for fall camp now."

Other players standing out: Ken Malcome led the Black team in rushing with seven carries for 39 yards and a score. Carlton Thomas paced the Red team with 48 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown, but did have two fumbles.

Mason compiled 109 yards on 8-of-16 passing.

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

Sophomore nose tackle Kwame Geathers racked up four tackles, including two for loss.

"I thought it was a well played game, all things considering," said Richt. "When you're splitting units up, it's not easy to break your No. 1 units up and expect everybody to be in sync."

The teams were chosen via a player draft; the first time Georgia has employed such a method in Richt's tenure. Murray and Brandon Boykin (who did not play; concussion) captained the Black team. Robinson and center Ben Jones picked for the Red team.

Switching things up added antagonism amongst the players; fitting since Richt has implemented increased measures to encourage competition this spring.

"I split the teams up that way for the morale of it and the excitement of it," Richt said. "I thought it was a good day."

"It was a great experience for us to put players out there to gain experience in situations we might not always be in," said linebacker Jarvis Jones. "They needed to gain the courage and knowledge in case anything goes wrong with a starter or key player in the future."

Steak and lobster awaits the winning players from the Black team, contrasted by beenie weenies for the losing Red squad—a tradition after the spring game.

"I just want to eat my steak in front of Christian's face nice and slow while he eats his beanie weenies," Murray said.

Jones said he didn't mind the pork and beans, saying he finds the losers meal just fine.

"It's all fun and games," he said. "But it did add some fire to the thing and made everything really fun."

Stafford Wins Skills Comp

Perhaps the most exciting moments of G-Day happened at half time, as former Georgia quarterbacks competed for charity.

Matt Stafford, D.J. Shockley, David Greene and Eric Zeier competed in distance and accuracy drills in a friendly competition in order to raise money for injured baseball player Jonathan Taylor.

"It was great to get out and do this for such a great cause," Stafford said, who won the event.

Taylor was injured in a game earlier this season and is currently in rehabilitation at the Sheppard Center in Atlanta.

When asked earlier this week, offensive coordinator and former starting quarterback Mike Bobo said he did not compete "because I'd win the thing."

Richt joked afterwards, saying, "That was kind of embarrassing, but the wind was blowing I guess. I wish those guys could have thrown the ball a little bit better."

LeMay makes his debut

Freshman quarterback Christian LeMay made his debut Saturday. The early enrollee led a few drives, completing 3-of-6 passes for 38 yards.

Suspended for his senior year in high school, the game provided LeMay with his first game-like atmosphere since winning the state championship his junior year at Butler High (Charlotte N.C).

"I think Christian is only battling the playbook right now," Richt said. "He's learned a lot this spring. Him coming early has been very helpful."

Keeping with UGA's policy regarding true freshmen, LeMay was unavailable for comment following the game.


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