The Bulldogs asked for more tickets from the Tampa bowl after its allotment of 12,000 was filled, athletic director Greg McGarity said Thursday.
"We continue to move them, but our block is gone," McGarity said. "It's reassuring and comforting to know that our fans have responded like that."
Michigan State had sold 6,051 tickets as of Thursday morning, according to the school, which said its allotment was 11,500. Georgia's ticket total includes what Georgia is distributing to its band, Athletic Association staff and for its players, who get six tickets each.
Tickets can still be purchased for $75 from Georgia.
The Bulldogs (10-3) lost in the SEC championship game to LSU. Their last two bowl trips were to Memphis and Shreveport, La.
"It's probably a lot better environment, probably a more fun place maybe," Bulldogs receiver Tavarres King said after the team attended a bowl-sponsored lunch Thursday at the Outback Steakhouse in Athens. "It's a better year for us as well. That's motivation for them to get up and travel. I'm excited about it."
Georgia reported to the NCAA that it sold 3,244 tickets to the Liberty Bowl last year in Memphis, but there were about 15,000 Bulldogs fans at the game, McGarity said, after purchases from the secondary market or from the bowl directly.
McGarity said he was unsure what the demand for tickets would be given the state of the economy.
"You just don't know," McGarity said. "It's a tremendous credit to our fans who do a great job. That helps you down the road with other bowls in the future."
Michigan State lost in the first Big Ten title game, 42-39, to Wisconsin.
Ticket sales are "slower than you would want, but there's some understanding of the temperature of the fan base right now," athletic director Mark Hollis told the Detroit Free Press earlier this week.
Extension can help boost recruiting
When Georgia football coach Mark Richt and McGarity met last week to talk about extending Richt's contract they "agreed in principle that he wants us and we want him," McGarity said. The exact details of how long to lengthen Richt's deal aren't nailed down yet.
"How long that is, we'll work through all that stuff," McGarity said Thursday. "He can go tell a recruit in high school, a senior, `I'm going to be the coach at Georgia during your time here.'"
Richt's current deal runs through the 2013 season.
For a current high school senior to be ensured he will play his entire career at Georgia under Richt, the deal would need to be extended two or three years depending on if the player redshirted.
McGarity said that he not met with Richt to talk further about the contract extension since their initial meeting last Friday.
"There's no urgency to do it right now," McGarity said. "We are in a good place right now and we'll worry about all the other stuff later."
Richt is the 10th highest paid head coach in the nation at about $2.9 million a year, according to a USA Today salary survey, but he's the sixth highest paid in the Southeastern Conference.
McGarity has yet to meet with university president Michael Adams to talk about details for a Richt deal. McGarity and Adams will be in Los Angeles together on Saturday when the men's basketball team plays at Southern California. They will attend an alumni association event.
Punter Drew Butler arrived to the lunch Thursday on crutches for what was described as a sprained left ankle. The right-footed Butler is listed as "day-to-day."
Outside linebacker Sterling Bailey, who redshirted this season as a freshman, is slated to undergo right foot surgery today and will miss spring practice.
Linebacker Mike Gilliard was still in a walking boot for a sprained ankle.
Back to practice
Georgia returned to the practice field on Thursday to work out in full pads with temperatures in the 60s.
"Being out of the element for about a week and a half, it kind of felt sluggish," cornerback Brandon Boykin said. "People were making mistakes. I know I made a couple of today. …We'll definitely be a lot smoother and a lot cleaner as the week goes on."
Georgia held a light practice last Saturday. It will practice now for the next five days through Tuesday before taking a break for the holidays. The team will reconvene in Tampa on Dec. 26.
"Coach Richt did a great job of giving us some time off," King said. "I think everybody felt really good with the way their bodies felt and the mental state of the game."
This and that
Boykin was leaving with leftovers in hand from the lunch. "This is dinner for me," he said. "Any time you get a free Outback meal, I try to make it last as long as I can. I try to make it dinner, a little bit of breakfast too." …The total tally from the lunch for the team included 170 steaks, 120 pounds of ribs, 600 grilled shrimp and 100 pounds of chicken.