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David Jacobs as captain and other notes

ATHENS, Ga. — In a tribute to a senior who often is referred to as a huge motivator for his teammates, <b>David Jacobs</b> was given the honor of serving as team captain for the opening coin toss.

All the seniors were introduced before the game, and as a surprise Jacobs was in full uniform when he jogged out, greeted by a standing ovation from the Sanford Stadium crowd.

Coach Mark Richt's custom is to have four game captains walk out to midfield for the opening coin toss, but Jacobs — the big C on his No. 99 jersey signifying his status as team captain — had the honor Saturday.  

"It was great, a great honor for me and my family,'' Jacobs said.

Said Richt: "I was extremely proud and happy to see David Jacobs in his full uniform again and represent us as the captain. He's a very important part of the football team and very important part of my life. I'm glad our paths crossed and I'm just glad to see the crowd cheer for him one last time, because he deserves it.''

Jacobs said family members, including his grandmother, knew he would be introduced, but he kept secret his plans to wear his uniform.

"I let it be a surprise,'' he said.

One year ago, Jacobs was in the hospital after having his career ended by a stroke. He has returned to occasionally attend team meetings and practices and sometimes stands on the Georgia sideline during games.

In the season opener, linebacker Tony Gilbert wore Jacobs' No. 99 as a tribute to the former defensive tackle.

Joining Jacobs at midfield for the coin toss was former Georgia quarterback Buck Belue, who served as an honorary captain.

More from senior day: Another injured senior, Cap Burnett, wore his game jersey but was not in full uniform as he took his bow. Burnett's career was shortened by recurring concussions.

The first senior to be introduced was receiver Terrence Edwards, who also was greeted by a loud ovation. Defensive back Ryan Davis of Columbus and offensive tackle George Foster of Macon also were among the seniors who were introduced.

The seniors' parents also were on the field for the ceremony.

Taylor starts at linebacker: The only surprise starter was freshman linebacker Tony Taylor, who started for Chris Clemons at weakside linebacker.  Clemons played behind Taylor.  

"They've all been playing,'' said Richt when asked about the decision to start Taylor. "Tony has been doing a good job and deserved to play, too. A lot of it was from when Clemons was hurt.''

Taylor, listed as a middle linebacker, was credited with two tackles in his first start. He entered the game with 33 tackles, the second-highest total (behind rover Greg Blue's 44 stops) for a player who had not started a game.

Injury update: Richt said he hopes there were no injuries in the game, which should threaten a player's status for next week's SEC championship game.

Starting offensive guard Alex Jackson was held out of the second half with a tender shoulder, but Richt said the senior "could have probably finished the game.''

Richt said he hopes receiver Damien Gary can return this week. Gary has missed four games with acute compartment syndrome in his left leg.

Tempers: Tight end Ben Watson and Georgia Tech defensive tackle Alfred Malone each earned personal foul penalties when they engaged in a brief fourth-quarter shoving match that quickly drew a crowd of players from each team.

As the officials were announcing the offsetting penalties, Richt walked out on the field and escorted Watson back to the Georgia sideline.

1,000 yards rushing, a few yards strutting: Richt also received a warning from officials after tailback Musa Smith strutted back to the huddle after passing the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season.  

Richt said he did not think the officials realized Smith had just reached an important milestone, but Richt still passed on the warning to Smith.

"He said ‘I won't do that anymore' but he felt good about getting 1,000 yards, I'm sure,'' Richt said.

Smith is the first Georgia back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since 1992, when Garrison Hearst reached the mark.

A third block for Bailey: Linebacker Boss Bailey soared to block a 49-yard field goal attempt by Luke Manget in the second quarter. He also blocked field goal attempts against Tennessee and Mississippi.  

Bailey's three blocks, Georgia's four blocked field goals and its four blocked punts are all school records.

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