2002 Regular Season Game by Game Recap

Charles Odum takes a look back on the magical 2002 regular season.

Game 1, Aug. 31 
Georgia 31, Clemson 28
ATHENS, Ga. — Coach Mark Richt set the aggressive tone for his offense. On a fourth-and-1 call from the Georgia 39 with 40 seconds after a Billy Bennett 43-yard field goal gave the Bulldogs the 31-28 lead, Richt went for the first down instead of punting. Musa Smith went over the top for the first down that allowed Georgia to run out the clock.

Game 2, Sept. 14
Georgia 13, South Carolina 7
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Defensive end David Pollack was the star on two big plays. He knocked the ball out of quarterback Corey Jenkins hand in the end zone and caught the ball for Georgia's only touchdown. Pollack later had pressure on Jenkins on a fourth-down play at the Georgia 2 as a pitch from Jenkins was fumbled and recovered by Georgia's Thomas Davis.

Game 3, Sept. 21
Georgia 45, Northwestern State 7
ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia set a school record with five touchdown passes, including four by David Greene, who threw for 346 yards. Fred Gibson (8 catche s for 134 yards) posted his second straight 100-yard game and Terrence Edwards added two touchdown catches. Cornerback Bruce Thornton returned a blocked punt for a score.

Game 4, Sept. 28
Georgia 41, New Mexico State 10
ATHENS, Ga. — The offense was held under 300 yards for the third time but had help from defense and special teams to put up the big points total. Damien Gary returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown and Kentrell Curry returned an interception 78 yards for a score. Pollack recorded three sacks, but after the game Coach Mark Richt said he was frustrated by missed opportunities on offense.

Game 5, Oct. 5
Georgia 27, Alabama 25
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Inspired by the much-publicized comments from former Auburn coach Pat Dye that Alabama would win because Georgia wasn't "man enough,'' the Bulldogs shut down Alabama's running game in their first win in Tuscaloosa. Musa Smith rushed for 126 yards, and a 32-yard field goal by Billy Bennett with 38 seconds to play provided the margin of victory.

Game 6, Oct. 12
Georgia 18, Tennessee 13
ATHENS, Ga. — Tony Milton ran for 25 yards on a fourth-and-2 call from the Tennessee 35 with 1:43 left to play as Richt again placed trust in his offense to run out the clock rather than send in the punting team. Beating Tennessee for the third straight year, Georgia also beat a top 10 SEC team at home for the first time since 1976.

Game 7, Oct. 19
Georgia 48, Vanderbilt 17
ATHENS, Ga. — Gaining its most yards since 1993, Georgia's offense — which had been ranked only 94th in the nation in yards per game — made a statement. Georgia gained 606 yards, the sixth-highest total in school history, and Greene completed 20 of 23 passes for 319 yards. Edwards caught seven passes for 163 yards and a touchdown.

Game 8, Oct. 26
Georgia 52, Kentucky 24
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky players talked during the week about plans to tear down the goal posts, but the Wildcats were outscored 31-0 in the second half as Greene and D.J. Shockley combined for a school-record six touchdown p asses. Georgia rolled despite playing without Smith, Fred Gibson and offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb — all due to injuries.

Game 9, Nov. 2
Florida 20, Georgia 13
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Denying Georgia in its first chance to clinch the SEC East, Florida continued its recent domination of the series, winning for the 12th time in the last 13 years. Greene was sacked four times and completed only 11 of 29 passes. A late drop by Edwards on a potential touchdown pass and an errant pass by Shockley that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Florida safety Guss Scott were the two devastating blows.

Game 10, Nov. 9
Georgia 31, Mississippi 17
ATHENS, Ga. — In perhaps the most impressive drive that ever ended without a score, Georgia held the ball for 19 plays to use up the final 10:46 on the clock. It was the longest drive of the season in the SEC. Smith set a career high with 37 carries and rushed for 148 yards. Tim Jennings intercepted an Eli Manning pass and scored on a 64-yard return.

Game 11, Nov. 16
Georgia 24, Auburn 21
AUBURN, Ala. — The Bulldogs' biggest play of the year would have been dramatic even if it were not the play that gave Georgia its first outright SEC East championship. Auburn led 21-10 late in the third quarter, but Georgia rallied and took the lead with 1:25 left to play when Greene connected with Michael Johnson on a fourth-and-15 touchdown pass from the Auburn 19. Johnson jumped over Auburn's Horace Willis for the catch in the back of the end zone to give Georgia its first lead. Also key was a 41-yard pass from Greene to Gibson at the 19-yard line.

Game 12, Nov. 30
Georgia 51, Georgia Tech 7
ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia recorded its most points ever against Tech and claimed its largest margin of victory in the history of the 95-year-old series. Smith passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season as he rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown. Georgia led 44-0 before Tech scored its only touchdown in the fourth quarter.

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