Greene lost two first-half turnovers against Kentucky. In the first quarter, he was rolling to his right and did not protect the ball when he stopped in an attempt to throw back to his left. Greene fumbled when Kentucky defensive end
Dennis Johnson hit his left arm.
In the second quarter, Kentucky led 16-7 when Greene, attempting to pass to Terrence Edwards, was intercepted by Derrick Tatum, who cut in front of Edwards.
The turnovers were especially glaring because Coach Mark Richt had stressed an improved turnover ratio as a major goal for his team this week. The lost fumble helped set up Kentucky for a touchdown and a 22-7 lead.
But Greene bounced back quickly, completing passes of 7 and 68 yards to Fred Gibson in a three-play touchdown drive that put Georgia back in the game. The redshirt freshman finished with career highs of 364 yards passing and three touchdowns while completing 22 of 36 passes.
"I knew I couldn't get down because there was a lot of ball left to play,'' Greene said. "We're good enough to put points on the board; we just weren't executing. Finally, when Fred made that big play, I think it changed things for us.''
Richt took the blame for "giving Greene too much to think about'' in the Kentucky gameplan.
"Greene was a little confused,'' Richt said. "... I gave him too many options. He just had done such a good job of learning what to do, I
overloaded him some. He made a couple of calls we just don't have. Fortunately, each one went for about eight yards.''
Stinchcomb suffers groin injury
Starting offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb, a leader of the offensive line, suffered a groin injury on Georgia's opening drive that forced him to miss the rest of the game.
"For Stinchcomb not to go back in the game, I know he's hurt,'' Richt said. "I'm most concerned about him.''
After the injury, George Foster and Kareem Marshall played most of the rest of the game at the two tackle spots. The three have shared time in a rotation this season, though Stinchcomb has been the only tackle to start every game.
Foster was left as the primary blocker against Kentucky's Johnson, the Wildcats' defensive leader. Despite the loss of Stinchcomb, Kentucky was limited to one quarterback sack — Johnson.
Gilliam makes debut
It didn't take long to learn Richt's decision about giving freshman running back Mike Gilliam his first playing time of the season.
With Musa Smith missing the game with a groin injury, Gilliam came in the game on Georgia's first series. Gilliam did not have a catch or a run on that possession, but he finished with two catches for seven yards and one carry for two yards.
Gilliam said he was told by assistant head coach John Eason during pregame warmups that he would play, thereby ending plans for a redshirt season.
"That first play, I was shaking inside,'' said Gilliam, from Tallahassee, Fla. "Once I got past that, I was OK.''
Added Gilliam: "I'm glad I'm playing. Anytime you can help the team, it's a big thing.''
Weakside linebacker Will Witherspoon returned from a sprained left knee to start the game. He was credited with six tackles, including a stop of Kentucky running back Artose Pinner on a third-and-one play in the second quarter.
Georgia scored on its first possession to take a 7-0 lead. It gave Georgia scores — four touchdowns and one field goal — on its first possession for the fifth time in six games. The lone exception was the Tennessee game, when the first possession ended with a punt.
Billy Bennett missed a 37-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half. He is 9 for 14 for the season. ... Tim Wansley blocked an extra point in the second quarter. It was the first block for Georgia since Jamie Henderson blocked a field goal and an extra point against Vanderbilt last season. ... In addition to his record-setting day as a receiver, Fred Gibson returned three kickoffs for 84 yards, including a long return of 40 yards. ... The 2001 Homecoming Queen named Saturday was Ali Acree, a senior from Lilburn, Ga. The Homecoming King was Isidro Panizales, a senior from Chatsworth, Ga.
Charles Odum can be reached at CEOdum@aol.com.