NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Coach Mark Richt revealed after the game that his top two running backs were battling injuries before the Vanderbilt game. Musa Smith has been bothered by a hip-flexor injury since two-a-days, and Jasper Sanks came out of last week's win over Tennessee with a sore shoulder. Smith, who rushed for 69 yards on nine carries, aggravated his injury — which he said feels like a groin injury — on his last carry for seven yards in the third quarter.
Sanks was limited to four carries for 21 yards against Vanderbilt. Despite his injury, Smith rushed for first-quarter touchdowns of 3 and 40 yards.
"It's been bothering me for a long time,'' Smith said. "It just really triggered it on that last run.''
Smith said he does not expect the injury to keep him out of next Saturday's home game against Kentucky.
Not so special
It would have been difficult to match the complete domination of special teams play that Georgia enjoyed in last week's win over Tennessee.
Sure enough, Georgia's kicking game was less impressive against Vanderbilt. Damien Gary fumbled a punt and Georgia muffed a potentially crucial extra point when holder Jonathan Kilgo bobbled the snap late in the third quarter, leaving the lead 30-14.
"I talked to them about getting a reputation,'' Richt said. "You've got to do something really good or bad a few times in a row.''
TDs through the
Terrence Edwards' 17-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter gave him 16 for his career, including three this season. He now is tied for second in Georgia history with Hason Graham (1992-94) and Juan Daniels (1993-96).
Brice Hunter (1992-94) holds the record with 19 touchdown catches.
TDs on the
Though Smith had only three carries in the first quarter, two were for touchdowns, giving the sophomore a team-leading six in five games.
Smith's 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was his second of the season from 40 yards or longer. He scored on a 49-yard run in the season-opening win over Arkansas State.
Receiver Tavarus Morgan made his first appearance of the season, returning from a torn hamstring.
Also returning from a shoulder separation was running back Kenny Bailey, who caught a third-down pass for 9 yards in the third quarter. It was Bailey's first catch or carry since the second week of the season.
Mallard bags a sack
When defensive tackle Josh Mallard finally dropped Greg Zolman in the third quarter for Georgia's first sack of the game, the senior moved past Mo Lewis for sole possession of sixth place on the Georgia records with 15 career sacks. Greg Waters is fifth with 16.
Southeastern Conference commissioner Roy Kramer, a former Vanderbilt athletics director, attended the game and visited with Richt on the field during pregame warmups. Unless bad weather caused him to change his plans, Kramer said he would leave Nashville to attend Saturday night's Auburn-Florida game.
It's no coincidence the Denver Broncos have had such success in drafting Georgia players — including running backs Terrell Davis and Olandis Gary. Former Georgia assistant coach Dale Strahm is in his fifth year working as a scout for Denver.
Strahm, Georgia's linebackers coach under Coach Vince Dooley from 1981-88, was in Nashville for the Georgia-Vanderbilt game and was full of compliments for the way Richt has launched his career as Georgia's head coach.
"Georgia people have been waiting so long to embrace somebody who in turn would embrace them and the Georgia tradition,'' Strahm said. "This is one of the top programs in the nation and has so much going for it. Coach Richt has done a good job.''
Denver's most recent find from Georgia is offensive guard Steve Herndon of LaGrange, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent.
Next Saturday's home game against Kentucky will be televised by the Jefferson-Pilot network. Kickoff will be 12:30 p.m. The game time for the Oct. 27 game against Florida in Jacksonville has not been set.
Ponchos were the preferred attire as light rain greeted the start of the game. There was a tornado watch in the area through the afternoon and a threat of thunderstorms. There was a strong wind, blowing to the north, throughout the game.