Walsh, Bogatay Rotate

ATHENS - Georgia could employ a two-kicker rotation next week against Auburn, coach Mark Richt said following the Bulldogs 63-16 win over New Mexico State.

Senior Blair Walsh, who is 13 of 23 on FGs this season, split duties with senior backup Brandon Bogatay Saturday, taking turns on kickoffs and point-after tries.

Walsh connected on five extra points while Bogatay successfully kicked four.

"We were both really kicking well in practice and it was just something that the coaches wanted to throw in to see how it would work out," Bogatay, a native of San Diego who has one career field goal attempt, said.

While neither attempted a field goal, the plan was to rotate on those opportunities as well.

"Walsh had been struggling and Bogatay is a very talented guy," Richt said. "We felt like we wanted to give him an opportunity to see what he can do and for Walsh to continue to play because he's a great player."

The kicking rotation was just one part of a special teams overhaul. Starting linebackers Alec Ogletree and Amarlo Herrera and cornerbacks Sanders Commings and Brandon Boykin were inserted on the kickoff team.

The unit entered the game ranked last in the conference while the New Mexico State return team ranked 12th nationally. Georgia held returner Taveon Rogers to an average of 21.2 yards on six returns.

"We said let's kick it off, let's get the personnel right, the fundamentals right and improve," Richt said. "I thought we did. It was a good day for special teams. Hopefully we grabbed a little momentum."

White's celebrates in hedges

Georgia tight end Aron White may have inadvertently created a new way to celebrate touchdowns.

White leaped a fence and crashed into the hedges surrounding the field after his six-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

"I got stuck in the hedges for a little bit," White said.

Wide receiver Michael Bennett helped White get back on his feet. By then, a host of Bulldogs joined White, hopping up and down directly in front of the student section to celebrate the score.

"They were pulling on me and ripping my jersey," White said.

The touchdown was White's first score in Sanford Stadium. His previous six touchdowns all came away from home.

""It felt so great to get my first one between the hedges," White said. "My teammates pulled me up and to hear the crowd roar felt great."

Long makes his debut

Georgia redshirt sophomore Austin Long made his first career appearance in the second half.

Long, who has suffered a myriad of injuries dating back to his senior year in high school, was inserted at left tackle on the team's first drive of the third quarter.

"It was the greatest feeling," Long said. "It was so awesome. I was nervous when I got out there, but it was awesome."

Long was joined on the field by his brother Hunter, a true freshman at right guard.

Many family members, including the brothers' parents, who recently moved from Memphis Tenn., to the Athens area, were at the game.

"It was a special moment," Austin Long said.

Austin Long has endured injuries to his back and shoulder in the past. He had a bout with mononucleosis in August, a staph infection in September and a sprained ankle last week.

"Once my ankle gets back to 100 percent, I'll be good to go," Austin Long said.

Mason commands the second half

Starting quarterback Aaron Murray handed the offense to backup Hutson Mason at the start of the second half.

Playing behind the second string line, Mason led the offense on two scoring drives, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to walk-on receiver Rhett McGowan.

"It's just good to get out there," Mason said. "With as much work as we do as backups, it's always refreshing to get out there."

Mason, a sophomore, finished 8 of 10 for 131 yards.

"The most frustrating thing is looking at my two incompletions," Mason said. "You always want perfection."

This and that

Georgia's 63 points marked the highest total under Richt. … Junior Branden Smith started at both cornerback and running back. He last started on both sides of the ball against Louisiana Lafayette in 2010. … 53 Georgia players played in the game. … Georgia has won seven consecutive games, the longest winning streak since 2007. … Georgia's 49 points in the first half tied a school record dating back to 1950. … Nine different plays scored on Georgia touchdowns. … Total offense for the two teams was 1,029 yards.

Dawg Post Top Stories