Game Notes: Georgia-Ole Miss

ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia received a surprise pregame pep talk from newly elected Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Perdue, a University of Georgia alumnus, was a walk-on quarterback on the football team under Coach Vince Dooley in 1965. Perdue attended the game and sat in University of Georgia president Dr. Michael Adams' private box. Late in the first half, Perdue and his party walked down to watch a few plays from the Georgia sideline.

Gibson returns: It didn't take long for Fred Gibson to make his presence felt when he made his return after missing two weeks following surgery on his left thumb.  Gibson fielded the opening kickoff and almost broke the return all the way before stepping out of bounds at the Georgia 48.  Later in the opening quarter, Gibson caught a deep pass for 53 yards to the Ole Miss 27.  

Block that kick: Boss Bailey delivered his second blocked field goal of the season in the first quarter. Soaring at the middle of the line, Bailey blocked a 19-yard attempt by Jonathan Nichols.  With the play, Georgia has seven blocks this season - four punts and three field goals. Bailey, who also blocked a field-goal attempt against Tennessee, and David Pollack each have two blocks.  

Heads or tails: Georgia did not lose a game-opening coin toss while opening the season with eight straight wins. Then it lost the coin toss before last week's first loss of the year to Florida.  It was not a good sign, therefore, when Ole Miss won the coin flip Saturday night. The Rebels deferred to the second half, and Georgia took the opening kickoff and scored on a nine-play touchdown drive.  

Starting out: For the second straight week, Thomas Davis started at the strongside outside linebacker spot normally manned by Boss Bailey, and Bailey moved to weakside linebacker.  Georgia made the switch last week when Chris Clemons was held out with an ankle injury. Clemons was in uniform and ready for backup duty Saturday night.  As expected, senior offensive tackle Alex Jackson was held out with a sprained ankle, and freshman Josh Brock filled in with his second start of the season.  

Bowl talk: Representatives from the Capital One (Citrus), Peach, Outback, Sugar and Orange bowls attended the game.  

Cheers for Edwards: When the starting lineups were announced before the game, the biggest ovation from Georgia fans was for receiver Terrence Edwards, who had a key drop late in last week's loss to Florida and then was boosted by a wave of supportive cards and e-mails after a few negative reactions from fans were made public.

10 in a row: Georgia's streak of 10 straight games without an off week continues with next Saturday's game at Auburn. Kickoff time for the game is expected to be announced today when CBS chooses its 3:30 p.m. SEC game.  

Georgia enjoyed an open week after its Aug. 31 season-opening win over Clemson, and that open week may have helped Georgia prepare for its 13-7 win over South Carolina.

Starting with the Sept. 14 South Carolina game, Georgia will have played 10 straight Saturdays including next week's Auburn game. It then has another off week before closing the regular season on Nov. 30 at home against Georgia Tech.

Because some late-season rivals, including Florida, normally have an open week before playing the Bulldogs, Coach Mark Richt has been asked if he would rather have another free Saturday later in the season.

"We'll have to look into that,'' Richt said. "I don't know how much flexibility there is in the schedule, because it is done so far ahead. It's definitely worth looking into.''

The 2003 schedule may work better for Georgia's November push. After opening on Aug. 30 at Clemson, Georgia is not scheduled for an off week until after playing at Vanderbilt on Oct. 18 - giving the Bulldogs an extra week to prepare for its Nov. 1 game against Florida.

After the Florida game next season, Georgia then is scheduled for another off week before playing host to Auburn on Nov. 15.


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