Richt: "We Legitimately Stopped That Drive"

ATHENS - Georgia tied for first among SEC football teams in graduating its players in a measure used by the NCAA, according to the latest figures released on Thursday.

The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for football at Georgia was 82 percent, tied with Vanderbilt.

Georgia athletes overall graduated at an 83 percent rate, up from 81 last year and the fourth best in the SEC. It was the highest for Georgia since the GSR started.

The latest figures were the four-year average rate for athletes who entered college between 2003 and 2006.

Men's basketball and football had the biggest gains in graduations rates of 13 percent.

Men's basketball improved from 50 percent to 63, which ranked fifth in the SEC. That's up from 18 percent in 2009. Football was at 48percent in 2008.

"I'm proud of everyone and I'm thankful," coach Mark Richt said. "I just think everybody did a great job and I'm happy for them."

Women's basketball, gymnastics, softball and women's tennis scored 100 percent. Also in the top five in the SEC: women's swimming (third, 96 percent), men's swimming (fourth, 83 percent), soccer (fourth, 96 percent),women's cross country/track (fourth, 91 percent), men's cross country/track(fifth, 79 percent).

"It's gratifying to see our overall rate continue to improve and that some sports made significant jumps in their scores," Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. "We're also pleased to rank at or near the top in both overall and several individual sports among our SEC peer institutions."

Unlike the federal graduation rate, the GSR includes students who transfer in our out of a school.

The NCAA's GSR this year nationwide was at an all-time high of 81 percent.

Richt `encouraged' on Gurley, LB Carter sidelined

Georgia's official injury list grew to 24 on Thursday, with top backup inside linebacker Reggie Carter out with a right knee injury sustained in practice Tuesday. Richt did not know the severity of the injury.

Carter, a freshman from Snellville, started one game and has eight tackles.

Tailback Todd Gurley was in a non-contact jersey for the second straight practice as he is set to return from a sprained ankle that kept him out for three games.

"You know what? He practiced," Richt said. "He made it to the end. He ran sprints with everybody at the end. He did scout work, which is really all weasked him to do, but he did the fundamental work, the run polish and that kindof thing. He did good. I'm encouraged."

Center David Andrews hasn't practiced this week due to asprained right foot.

"I think we expect him to play," Richt said.

Dallas Lee worked as the starting center in practice with Kolton Houston at left guard.

"We're hoping it's such a temporary thing, you don't thinkmuch about it," Richt said.

Wide receiver Michael Bennett (minor knee surgery) "looked good," doing straight-ahead running on the side, Richt said, and should return to practice on Monday, Richt said.

"The drill I saw him do was kind of a spring, job, sprint, jog thing down the field," Richt said.

Safety Josh-Harvey Clemons (foot) and wide receiver Chris Conley (sprained ankle) remain out of practice. Conley isn't expected to practice and Harvey-Clemons may not go either.

Richt: Defense knows `in heart' they got fourth-quarter stop vs. Vandy

Holding a 13-point lead early in the fourth-quarter, Georgia's defense came up with a stop that could have meant the difference between a win or a loss last Saturday against Vanderbilt

Until inside linebacker Ramik Wilson was flagged for targeting on receiver Jonathan Krause on a fourth-down pass breakup.

The penalty was overturned by replay, but the 15-yards were still marked off by rule, giving the Commodores the ball at the Georgia15.

The Commodores scored a touchdown and went on to the 31-27upset.

"We legitimately stopped that drive," Richt said. "That was a big time in the game to get that kind of a stop. Even though the penalty stood, I think they know in their heart they got a stop when they needed to get the stop. After the ball got moved, we've still got to play defense and keep them out of the end zone. I think everybody sees the improvement, and I think everybody is still building off of that."

This and that

Even with injuries at receiver, tight end Arthur Lynch has just three catches the past three games, including one for seven yards against Vanderbilt "When we had so many guys, it opened up some stuff for me, especially down the middle of the field," Lynch said. "It's the coverages, it's how Aaron (Murray) reads. There was one where I was wide open down the middle of the field, I probably would have scored on, but Aaron's progression was to take the sure thing."

Georgia players will have the weekend off. The next practice is Monday.

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