The Bulldogs lost their second straight game Saturday
to Kentucky and their fourth game in their last five matchups against SEC East
opponents. The Wildcats broke a nine game losing streak to the Georgia with
the 24-20 win Saturday.
"Well we could not get it done. I am sure there
are a lot of things to point to, but overall we were just not able to make plays
when they counted the most and they did, to their credit," said head coach
Mark Richt of his team's and Kentucky's performance.
Georgia had one last shot to win the game with 1:08 left
in the ball game. Freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford completed
one pass, but his second pass was intercepted by cornerback
to end Georgia's hopes.
"We could not (stop Kentucky), but nonetheless we
still had time after that. We got the ball at midfield and the thing ends up
getting cut short because of another turnover," said Richt.
The freshman quarterback Stafford threw for 230 yards
and one touchdown, but threw three interceptions in the loss. On the season,
Stafford has passed for 1230 yards, four touchdowns, and twelve interceptions.
"They were just bad throws and there is not much
else I can say. I just have to come back and work harder next time," said
Stafford of his three turnovers.
Coach Richt said after the game that turnovers have been
their undoing this season in three of their four losses.
"That has been the one constant that has not been
in our favor and why we are not winning these games," said Richt of the
turnovers. "It is something that has got to be corrected and we will continue
to work until that is done."
Georgia turned the ball over four times against Kentucky
Saturday resulting in one touchdown for the Wildcats. With those four turnovers,
the Bulldogs now have 25 turnovers on the season and opponents have scored 55
points off those turnovers.
In Georgia's four losses this season, they have
14 total turnovers and just nine turnovers in their six wins.
The 2005 SEC Championship team only had 18 turnovers last
season for Georgia. Coach Richt thinks that is the major difference between
that team and the 2006 team.
"It is turnovers, you just do not win many games
when you lose the turnover battle, it does not matter who you play," said
Richt of the their recent struggles. "We had every opportunity to win
the Vanderbilt game, the Kentucky game, and we even had a shot at winning the
Florida game. We as a unit have just not been able to put it together. We will
win as a unit and we lose as a unit."
The Bulldogs' scored seven points off three Kentucky
turnovers in the loss. Georgia has 52 points this season off 19 opponent turnovers.
"I am sure that is an exciting time for Kentucky
to beat Georgia and I am sure it was an exciting time for Vanderbilt to beat
Georgia and I am sure people are enjoying the opportunity to play us right now,"
said Richt following the loss. "We will see if this team can bow their
neck and try and gain some respect right now because that is really what we
are playing for right now, is some respect which I am sure we do not have a
lot of right now in the football world."
Senior wide receiver Mario Raley was
having a career game, when he was injured on a receiver screen pass in the fourth
quarter against Kentucky. Raley had trouble moving his extremities after taking
a hard hit from behind on a pass from Stafford. The Georgia medical staff removed
Raley from the field on a stretcher after several minutes.
"I think one leg was not responding out there on
the field, but once he got to the hospital and settled down some, he calmed
down and all of the movements in his arms and legs came back," said Richt
of Raley's injury. "I know he was frustrated that he could not just
get up because I know he wanted to. I am just thankful we have people who know
what they are doing to keep him safe."
Raley finished the day with three receptions for 37 yards
and his second career touchdown reception.
"He had a great game today and caught a touchdown
on a crossing route and played well," said Stafford of Raley's performance
against Kentucky. "Coach Richt told us Mario said, 'go win the game.'"
The senior from Charlotte had not caught a pass since
the second game of the season in Columbia, South Carolina. Coach Richt expects
Raley to play again this season and the team will reevaluate his availability
Junior kicker Andy Bailey had a rough
day against Kentucky missing field goals from 40 yards and 47 yards along with
having an extra point hit his own teammate in the back.
"It is not easy to be a kicker and he certainly
struggled today with his kicks. The first miss, he barely missed, but he missed.
The second one was not very far off either and he hit the ball pretty good both
times," said Richt of Bailey's performance. "Andy is a good
kid and he feels bad about it, but there were other issues out there and we
cannot put the blame on one man."
After the missed extra point in the fourth quarter, coach
Richt said they were going to put senior punter Gordon Ely-Kelso
into the game at kicker. Ely-Kelso has not kicked in a competitive game since
his senior year in high school at Clarke Central.
"At that point (after the missed extra point) we
were ready to put Gordy in there to kick whether it was a field goal or an extra
point," said Richt.
Coach Richt and coach David Johnson who
coaches the kickers will likely reevaluate the kicking situation in practice
this week and announce a decision on the place kicker later in the week.
"I do not know for sure what we will do and there
is definitely a chance Gordon ends up as the extra point/field goal guy,"
said Richt about the upcoming game against Auburn.
Taylor's big year
Senior linebacker Tony Taylor continued
his great season for Georgia intercepting his fifth pass of the season on the
Georgia two-yard line returning the interception 52 yards.
"We got a good rush on the throw and I was just
reading (Andre' Woodson's eyes a little bit, but if they did not get the rush
I would not have been able to get it, so my hats off to the defensive line on
that one," said Taylor of his interception.
Taylor's five interceptions is the most interceptions
for a Bulldogs since safety Sean Jones intercepted five balls in the 2003 season.
"Tony has been fantastic and has been an outstanding
leader mainly in his play," said Richt of Taylor's performance.
"You want your leaders to produce and you have to play the best ball of
your life as a senior and a leader and he has got five picks now and most of
his picks have been huge plays for us."
Taylor lead the team in interceptions and the last Georgia
linebacker to lead team in interceptions was Keith Harris in 1973.
Taylor finished the Kentucky game with 10 total tackles,
one sack, and one fumble recovery to go with his fifth interception.
Dawgs run well
One bright spot for the Georgia offense was the Bulldogs
Junior tailback Kregg Lumpkin ran for
85 yards on thirteen carries, Stafford scrambled for 35 yards on five carries,
Danny Ware ran for 31 yards and one touchdown off the bench,
and sophomore fullback
Brannan Southerland notched his eighth
touchdown of the season.
Georgia ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns as a team
on just 32 carries for a 5 yards per carry average.
Milner bounces back
After a tough four-drop performance last week against
Florida, senior tight end
Martrez Milner caught four pass for
70 yards against Kentucky in Lexington.
"I was not surprised and the coaches told me I would
play and when the opportunity for me to play comes I have got to take full advantage
of it and that is what I tried to do today," said Milner of his improved
performance. "It is not about me getting the monkey off my back, it is
about me making plays for my team as a whole on offense and special teams."
Milner and the other seniors will look to bounce back
from these losses as they head down to Auburn to play the sixth ranked Tigers.
"We just have to keep our heads up, the season is
not over with, and we are playing for to hopefully get to a great bowl. Coming
up Monday we just happen to get back into the grind and make plays when it is
time to make plays," said Milner.
Dawgs on the Road
The Georgia Bulldogs are now 21-3 in opponent's
stadium under coach Richt. Prior to the Kentucky loss, the Bulldogs last lost
in an opponents' stadium in 2004 to Auburn (24-6) and in LSU (17-10) in 2003.
Senior offensive tackle/guard Michael Turner
left the game in the second quarter after spraining his left ankle. Turner was
starting at tight guard in place of the injured Chester Adams
who also could not play because of an ankle sprain. Sophomore Seth Watts
filled in for Turner and Adams and would start against Auburn if neither Adams
or Turner can play.
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