MoMass Takes in One Last Look

ATHENS – Ordinarily, it wouldn't have been a moment Mohamed Massaquoi wanted to savor. Regardless of his statistics, the senior normally is quick to put a loss behind him.

Saturday's 45-42 defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech, however, was different. Despite the sting of the loss, Massaquoi lingered on the field after the game with teammates CJ Byrd and Andrew Williams and soaked in his surroundings. Many of the fans had already funneled out as Tech wound down the clock late in the fourth quarter, and the rainy weather didn't provide much ambiance.

But Massaquoi wasn't quite ready to say goodbye.

"Just all the memories of everything that has happened in that stadium and everything that you've gone through – all the ups and downs, just everything," Massaquoi said. "You just kind of look back and reminisce on all the good and bad times."

Saturday's game should have been a good time. Massaquoi had the best game of his career, catching 11 passes for 180 and three touchdowns – a scoring feat no Bulldogs player had accomplished in more than six years.

Throughout much of the game, Massaquoi willed the offense down the field, finding ways to get open when his quarterback was in trouble and carrying tacklers for extra yardage after the catch.

"Every time we'd get a penalty to push us back, Mo would get us back in there," tight end Tripp Chandler said. "Mo is a special player, and he's going to be a special player on the next level, too."

The moment of reflection on the rain-soaked field was hardly one of celebration, however. The numbers on the scoreboard told a far different story than the ones on the stat sheet for Massaquoi, who said he would remember Saturday's game for a long time for all the wrong reasons.

"This will not be a good memory," he said. "No matter how good you played, this will not be a good memory. At the end of the day, your memory comes out in a loss. It's tough, especially as a senior because you never get a chance to redeem yourself."

Redemption is something Massaquoi has built a career around.

A four-year starter, he has seen the highs and lows of life at Georgia. He was a crucial ingredient in the Bulldogs' 2005 SEC championship team then was booed off the field a year later after struggling with dropped passes.

This season, he has easily surpassed his career highs in every category, racking up 930 receiving yards on 57 catches with eight touchdowns. He has also been a mentor to Georgia's star freshman receiver, A.J. Green.

"He cares about other people and was a tremendous leader because of that," head coach Mark Richt said. "He really took A.J. under his wing, but not he just kind of looked out for everybody. I just can't imagine him not being voted team captain."

Massaquoi spent those waning moments on the field remembering his first game at Sanford Stadium. It felt like just a few hours had passed since then rather than four long years, he said. It just showed how fleeting success can be and underscored what has motivated him during his time at Georgia.

"It just goes by so fast," Massaquoi said. "You just want to make sure you play as hard as you can, because everybody in that stadium would die to be in the position we're in."

Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for a career best 407 yards against Georgia Tech – nearly half of that total going to Massaquoi. The two have been a dynamic duo since Stafford first arrived in Athens and landed the starting job as a true freshman.

Massaquoi was a role model for him, too, and that's what made Saturday's game so fitting and so sad, Stafford said.

"It's tough for me to send him out like that," Stafford said. "He's meant a lot to me. I've thrown to him for three years now. I'm glad he had the game he did, and I wish we could have won for him. The guy is what Georgia football is all about, and I'm just proud to play with him."

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