Shockley gets on track right on time

ATHENS - For 54 minutes Saturday night in Atlanta, D.J. Shockley was just plain shaky.

Georgia's senior quarterback had completed 11 of 30 passes for 154 yards and one interception. Sometimes his receivers dropped passes, but he missed his fair share of open looks, too. It was beginning to look like a repeat of last year's Georgia Tech game, when he was booed in his home stadium during a rocky appearance against the Yellow Jackets.

But then, the No. 13 Bulldogs (9-2) got the ball at Georgia Tech's 39-yard line with five minutes and 26 seconds remaining. From there, Shockley completed 4-of-4 passes for 44 yards, including a brilliantly thrown 19-yard scoring pass to Bryan McClendon that proved to be the game-winner. (The Bulldogs were penalized on the drive, allowing Shockley to get 44 yards of offense when his team started at the 39.)

Despite Shockley's struggles, Georgia coach Mark Richt always believed his quarterback would get the job done, Richt said the day after his team's 14-7 victory.

"I've got a lot of faith in the guy," Richt said. "He's definitely our guy. He's our leader. He's the guy we'll win with or lose with. It didn't surprise me that he rose to the occasion when we needed him the most."

It was a good night for the Bulldogs' seniors as Shockley and McClendon hooked up for the winning score, and cornerback Tim Jennings sealed the win with an interception deep in Georgia territory.

"We easily could have lost that game, but a lot of guys persevered and came though when it counted," Shockley said.

The victory was Georgia's fifth straight over the Yellow Jackets and assured this year's large senior class a perfect record against their in-state rivals.

"Just to be in the locker room with those guys and see the looks on their faces and the hugs and the congratulations…," Richt said. "The seniors definitely wanted that game."


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