Georgia upsets Auburn: News and Notes

AUBURN - Josh Kendall's news and notes from Georgia's upset of Auburn.

LONG TIME COMING: Junior receiver A.J. Bryant, a graduate of Peach County, has been waiting for something good to happen this year, and it did Saturday when he caught a career-long 53 yard pass on the first series to spark Georgia's best offensive performance of the season.

"I knew it was coming, but I didn't know when it was going to come. I'm glad it happened today," he said. "Coach (Mark) Richt has been saying all week we need a spark, and I'm glad I was able to give it."

The Bryant catch was "huge," quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo said.

"I think it just ignited the whole offense," he said. "It gave us confidence, gave the receivers some confidence. We've got players; we've got ability. It's just a matter of believing in themselves, and I think they believed today they were going to get the job done. It always helps when something good happens early on."

Bryant's catch, Georgia's longest play from scrimmage this year, and a subsequent 40-yarder to Kenneth Harris came on the same play call.

NEW STARTER: Freshman Bryan Evans replaced sophomore Ramarcus Brown as Georgia's starter at short cornerback and had a solid game. Evans didn't play against Kentucky last week for disciplinary reasons, defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said.

"It was a hunch, a spark, something new," Martinez said of starting Evans for the second time this season. "He had a good week of practice."

INJURY UPDATE: Second-team running back Danny Ware sprained his right ankle and knee and boarded the team bus on crutches. The junior may have suffered a high ankle sprain, which would keep him out until the bowl game. Starting running back Kregg Lumpkin suffered a minor left ankle injury late in the game.

NO REPERCUSSIONS: Tra Battle probably won't be punished for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second quarter. Battle was flagged for diving into the end zone to cap a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown, and a call which surprised Richt.

"If there are defenders around, there's nothing wrong with it in my opinion," Richt said. "From my vantage point, there were a lot of bodies down there. I was told (the flag) was for that. I was shocked. I was very disappointed."

NEW HEADGEAR: After having his helmet ripped off against Kentucky last week, quarterback Matthew Stafford switched to a completely new style against Auburn. He's now wearing a more modern helmet with venting in the top and an unorthodox facemask.

"I went back to the same helmet I had in my senior year of high school," he said. "Once they told me I had to switch, I'd figured I'd go back to the one I was wearing when I was last playing pretty good."

THIS AND THAT: Georgia won its 700th game Saturday. It is the 11th Division I-A program to hit that mark. … Senior defensive tackle Ray Gant had two sacks, his first multiple-sack game since high school. … The Bulldogs' four sacks tied their season high. … Georgia's 30 first half points were its most against a Division I-A foe since 2003 against Alabama.

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