On Saturday, the No. 3 Bulldogs had their second straight anemic offensive performance, the kind blamed last week on the ghost of Williams-Brice Stadium, this time in front of 92,746 mostly friendly fans in Sanford Stadium. Georgia survived for a 13-3 victory over Marshall thanks only to an unflinching defense.
"It's a shame," wide receiver Fred Gibson said. "We have
talented players. We should be putting 40, 50 points on the board no
matter who is in the game. We've got so much. I just don't understand
why we're scoring 13 points."
The total tied for the fewest points in a victory in the Richt era.
"A win is a win," Gibson said, "but you know as a player
accomplish what we wanted to accomplish today."
Not so, said Coach Mark Richt, whose team improved to 3-0 and faces
its first crucial game of the season when it returns to the field Oct. 2
to play No. 4 LSU.
"Three in a row. You have to be happy... right?" he said.
Marshall fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1975 and has lost three
straight for the first time ever under ninth-year coach Bob Pruett.
"It came down to a game we could have won in the fourth
Pruett said. "Our guys played hard and we had a chance to win. I felt
like coming into this game, our offense and defense could play with
He was right about his defense, but the Thundering Herd offense was
completely overmatched. After giving up a 57-yard pass on the first play
of the game, the Bulldogs' defense allowed Marshall just 103 yards. The
160 total yards was the fewest Georgia has given up since the 2002 SEC
Championship Game against Arkansas (139).
"Our defense is playing great," center Russ Tanner said,
"but we can't
depend on them to hold everybody we play to three points."
Marshall scored on its first drive of the game, but Georgia took a
10-3 lead into the halftime locker room thanks to a 2-yard Michael Cooper touchdown run and a 33-yard Andy Bailey field goal.
The Bulldog defense, which held Marshall to 1.6 yards per rush, made
its most dramatic statement on the Thundering Herd's first drive of the
second half. Tyson Browning fumbled to give Marshall the ball at
Georgia's 11-yard line. Earl Charles gained 7 yards on the first play of
the drive, but the Bulldogs stopped Marshall on a fourth-and-one three
plays later. The Thundering Herd had 11 yards of offense in the third
"We pretty much controlled the game throughout," Richt said.
got in real trouble."
That was thanks to the defense. The Bulldogs scored more touchdowns
(four) in the third quarter of the Georgia Southern game than they have
in the two games since (three). Georgia had 371 yards of total offense
Saturday but converted only 3-of-14 third downs and had 11 penalties for
102 yards (not all of those were called against the offense).
Richt was quick to give plenty of credit to Marshall, which also has
lost to Troy and Ohio State this year.
"I really think if you put Auburn or Alabama or LSU or Tennessee on
the side of their helmets, I think they would stand up with anybody in
our league," he said. "That's what I think of them."
But the offensive players were clearly frustrated and no one expressed
it more than Gibson, who caught five passes for 34 yards. Tight end
Leonard Pope was the leading receiver with two catches for 49 yards.
Thomas Brown led all rushers with 81 yards on 18 carries.
"I'm not saying I'm worried. I'm just saying we have to pick it
Gibson said. "Three-and-out isn't going to get it done, especially with
LSU coming to town."
The Bulldogs have an off week this Saturday before hosting the No. 4
Tigers. Quarterback David Greene, who was 17 of 30 for 209 yards, thinks
Georgia will be able to use the extra time to develop a larger offensive
game plan, he said.
"That'll help... I hope," he said.
Georgia Struggles to 13-3 Win over the Herd.
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