The Thundering Herd probably would contest that after being held to just 160 yards and seven first downs in falling to the third-ranked Bulldogs in the non-conference game at Sanford Stadium And considering more than a third of the yardage total came on the game's first play, who could blame them.
"Georgia's defense looked really good," understated Marshall
quarterback Stan Hill, whose 57-yard pass to Emanuel Spann to start play
from scrimmage was the Herd's lone offensive highlight of the day.
"They're one of the best in the nation."
Ian O'Conner converted the streak pattern down the sideline into
Marshall's lone points of the game with a 33-yard field goal five plays
later. The Herd attack, however, was stymied from there.
Marshall's yardage total was the lowest the Dogs had allowed since
Arkansas managed only 139 in the 2002 SEC Championship Game. The Herd
averaged only 3.5 yards per play, but just 2.3 without the Hill-to-Spann
bomb. The points were the fewest for a Georgia opponent since the 30-0
shutout at Clemson to open the 2003 season.
"We knew we had to play hard against those guys," said safety
Thomas Davis, who joined Jarvis Jackson with a team-leading six tackles. "The
way they played Ohio State (24-21 loss on field goal as time expired),
you can't take anything for granted. I think we played the way we
Said defensive end Will Thompson, who shared in one of Georgia's three
sacks: "We had a good plan and executed it pretty well. We played hard
and were hustling from the start."
Marshall's offensive total included just 37 yards rushing. The longest
of the day came on a Hill scramble for 11 yards early in the fourth
quarter. The senior was hit late by safety Greg Blue tacking on another
15 yards making the run and penalty the Herd's second-biggest offensive
advance of the day.
Hill's longest pass completion after the one to Spann covered 21 yards
to Wilbur Hargrove on the first play after the kickoff from Georgia's
lone touchdown of the day. It proved inconsequential, however, as the
Dogs forced a punt four plays later.
"Georgia probably has the best front four in the nation," Hill
"It's hard when they drop seven and their front four still gets pressure
Hill's time in the pocket was precious after the opening play. Georgia
players were at a loss to explain the quick strike, in which Hill faked
a run and found Spann in the seam between the cornerback and safety.
"I don't know what happened back there," said Thompson, a
junior and a
former Northside High standout. "We came back from it. That's what's
The Dogs best effort of the day came early in the second half after
Tyson Browning fumbled at the end of a pass reception. The Herd
recovered the bobble at the 23, and personal foul penalty gave it the
ball on the 11.
Running back Earl Charles got 7 yards on the first play, but could
manage just two more on following runs to set up fourth down. The Herd
bypassed the field goal, and Hill was pressured by Davis on a roll out,
badly underthrowing tight end Jeff Mullins on the goal line.
"Good defenses bail out the offense when they make a mistake,"
Pollack, a senior defensive end. "We had to stuff them there, and we
did. At that part of the game, it was big."
Their offensive mates, who had 371 yards but converted just 3 of 14
third downs, were appreciative.
"We watched that (Ohio State) film. That's an explosive
quarterback David Greene said. "That was a great defensive effort. To do
that to (Marshall's offense), that tells you something about our guys."
And what about a repeat in two weeks when defending national champion
"We have to be better," Davis said.
Defense Not Satisfied
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