The good and bad from Clemson

The Good: Georgia was playing with loads of inexperience, yet didn't turn the ball over once and was flagged for only five penalties.

The Good: Georgia was playing with loads of inexperience, yet didn't turn the ball over once and was flagged for only five penalties. The Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage, didn't get burned at all by experienced Clemson receivers, held the Tigers to 1.5 yards a rush, gave up nothing on special teams, and emerged from a hot day against a quality opponent with no injuries and no heat-related situations. None of the new players players new. At least not obviously.

The Bad: The Bulldogs failed to take advantage of several red-zone opportunities, settling for field goal tries - including one that was botched by a high snap - or turning it over on downs. QB David Greene was sacked three times, and his receivers had a few drops. Missed assignments prevented more big plays. Punter Gordon Ely-Kelso averaged only 33 yards on two punts in his debut.

The Injuries: Starting tailback Tony Milton suffered a bruised thigh, and Georgia kept him on the sidelines in the second half. He's expected to be ready for this Saturday's game. Georgia had no cramps problems and wasn't forced to make any other major personell changes because of injuries or the heat.

Up next: Georgia hosts Middle Tennessee State in the Bulldogs home opener Saturday at 1 p.m., with about 7,000 more fans able to fit into expanded Sanford Stadium. The Blue Raiders lost to Florida Atlantic 20-19 Thursday night when FAU complete a Hail Mary pass with no time left on the clock. This is the first meeting between UGA and MTSU.

The Notable: Georgia's last shutout to open the season was in 1991 when the Bulldogs thumped Western Carolina 48-0 en route to a 9-3 season under Ray Goff. Their last shutout in the season-opener on the road? Not since 1954, when Georgia beat Florida State 14-0 in Tallahassee.

The quotable: "We've practiced a lot of things, but we didn't practice that," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden after discussion a first-quarter Tiger fumble caused mainly when center Tommy Sharpe threw up on the ball as he was beginning to snap it.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Richt's worries about fatigue never became an issue.

"We did what we wanted to do offensively to help the defense," he said, "as far as trying to control the ball, try to have a good time of possession, try not to get many three-and-out situations."

Georgia had only one drive where it punted after only three plays, compared to five for Clemson.

"By the defense playing as well as they did, getting some 3 out and some short times and by the offense holding the ball a good bit for the game, I think that really helped the defense quite a bit."

INJURY UPDATE: Richt couldn't guess whether some of the injured players will return this week.

Defensive tackle Ken Veal (ankle), safety Kentrell Curry (leg), and defensive end Marquis Elmore (ankle) are at this point questionable for the Middle Tennessee State game.

"We're not counting them out," Richt said. "It's just still real early, but there's a chance, there's a chance for these guys.

"We didn't try anything with them last week. We just gotta test the water and see where it is. I don't know if these guys have even been jogging."

Safety Greg Blue is out for a few more weeks, but freshman tailback Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring) will be ready.

MTSU VISITS: Middle Tennessee State coaches got to watch Saturday's game and get a scouting report on its next two opponents.

The Blue Raiders travel to Athens this weekend and then to Clemson.

Middle Tennessee State, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, lost the opener 20-19 to Florida Atlantic on Thursday.

Before giving up the game-winning pass on the last play, MTSU's defense was playing well, racking up five sacks and two interceptions while scoring 10 of the 19 points.

The Blue Raiders have several Georgians on the roster, including quarterback Patrick Jackson of Macon (FPD), defensive lineman Devarick Scandrett of Forsyth (Mary Persons), defensive end Erik Waldeon of Dublin, running back Kevin Davis and safety Kevin Copeland of Manchester, defensive lineman Marcus Gates and offensive lineman Shavaskey Brown of LaGrange.

ON THE TUBE: CBS announced that it will carry the South Carolina-Georgia game from Athens on Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m. The Bulldogs will be on the same network a week later at LSU.


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