Penalties erase Georgia's style points

An opening kickoff return for a touchdown two weeks in a row sounds too good to be true. Especially when you add Todd Gurley’s return to the scene.

With Gurley in to receive the first kickoff, his first play back from his suspension, it seemed his hyped return was going to live up to expectations as he powered the entire football field.

And then the yellow flag hit the grass: holding on Ryne Rankin.

Special teams glitches dotted the first half, with a single appearance in the third quarter, of the 34-7 routing of the Auburn Tigers. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, the penalties did not affect the final outcome.

“If we’d have lost the game, we would’ve been sick about that,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “Both [penalties] were probably going to result in seven points if we don’t get the penalties.

Within one drive of Gurley’s erased touchdown, Georgia went for style points early in the game when second-string punter Adam Erickson showed off not his leg but his arm, executing a fake punt to freshman receiver Shakenneth Williams for 41 yards.

Offensive lineman Greg Pyke noted that he “threw a pretty good spiral.”

Richt said: “We’ve practiced that play a lot and he’s been throwing it well.”

Erickson’s spiral into the hands Williams was called back on an ineligible receiver penalty, marking Georgia’s second special teams penalty in the first six minutes of the game.

“Other than the fact that we had a penalty on it, which means it was no good,” Richt said. “It was pretty to watch, but it was sad that we got called back.”

Richt noted that penalties sometimes make their appearance when guys are “playing hard, playing aggressive on the kickoff return team.”

The only penalty on specialty teams for Georgia after halftime was a holding call on Reggie Davis during a third-quarter kick return.

Though the special teams suffered penalties on two attractive plays, Georgia partially made up for its snafus with a fumbled punt recovered by senior Lucas Redd.


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