Lumpkin shines in win over Tech

ATLANTA - On a day when Georgia struggled catching the ball, throwing the ball and moving the ball, sophomore tailback Kregg Lumpkin was a much-needed bright spot on offense.

Kregg Lumpkin, who only moved from third team to second team last week against Kentucky, led the Bulldogs in rushing Saturday for the first time this season. He carried the ball 11 times for 74 yards in the No. 13 Bulldogs' 14-7 victory over No. 20 Georgia Tech.

Lumpkin was the team's fourth-leading rusher coming into the game with 156 yards on 33 carries. His previous high in a game this year came against the Wildcats last week, when he had 38 yards on five carries. He almost topped that total on his first series, carrying the ball four times for 32 yards to set up the Bulldogs' first touchdown of the game.

"Kregg's just been a fantastic guy," Coach Mark Richt said. "We do put team first, and the guys buy into that. It's not fun sometimes, but he never had a bad attitude the whole time."

Lumpkin's high school team, Stephenson, played Saturday night within a couple miles of Bobby Dodd Stadium, taking on Lowndes in the GHSA state semifinals.

"I'm proud he got a chance to play well tonight in his hometown," Richt said.

Although Lumpkin was clearly the strongest of the backs, Georgia stuck with its three-tailback rotation, giving Lumpkin, Thomas Brown and Danny Ware each a turn on a rotating basis for the first three quarters.

Lumpkin ended up with three more carries than Brown.

"From the opening time he came in, you could tell he was hungry to play," quarterback D.J. Shockley said. "Him running as hard as he did opened up some things for us downfield."

Lumpkin was the Bulldogs starter at the end of the 2003 season but missed all of 2004 due to a torn ACL. He said Saturday night that his knee is starting to feel like normal now.

"It's very rewarding," he said. "When my opportunity cam, I just wanted to take advantage of it. I just had to be patient and wait for the coaches to call my number."

All of Georgia's tailbacks did a good job of handling the Yellow Jackets' complicated and aggressive blitzing package. Georgia Tech didn't get its first sack until linebacker Gerris Wilkinson brought down D.J. Shockley late in the second quarter. The Yellow Jackets only had three sacks all game.

"I think that was the name of the game," said Shockley, who was 15-of-34 for 198 yards, one touchdown and one interception. "That's all (the backs) worked on all week was blitz pick up. That's their defense, but our backs and offensive line played great."

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