My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Post-Game Notes: Walsh Stays Perfect

You can read my account of the amazing exploits of A.J. Green by CLICKING HERE. For the rest of the action, read on...

There was never a doubt in Blair Walsh’s mind he would make it, he said following the game. With the clocking ticking down to zero, Walsh drilled a 37-yarder down the middle for his eight consecutive field goal, lifting Georgia to a thrilling 20-17 win over Arizona State.

“I was just trying to think of it as just another kick,” Walsh said. “I just wanted to make it—nothing crazy, just get it up and get it in.”

The kick was Walsh’s first game-winner in his career, including high school.

“This is the greatest experience of my college career to have the chance at the game winner and hit it,” he said.

The team rushed Walsh after the kick, dog-piling in a celebrating that ultimately ended with the kicker dancing with teammates in front of the student section.

“Blair has made every kick so far, and I’m really proud of him,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, who admitted he wasn’t watching when Walsh kicked. “We got him in position and he drilled it, so that was great.”

The game-winning kick was the first since Brandon Coutu drilled a 37-yarder at Vanderbilt in 2007.


Georgia fullback Fred Munzenmaier doesn’t see much action, but he knows what to do with the football when he gets his opportunities.

The junior fullback got just the third touch of his career in the first quarter against Arizona State, and he punched it in for a two-yard touchdown.

“It feels good, I mean if I get the ball my goal is to score so I’m going to die trying,” he said.

The result is nothing new for Munzenmaier, who also had touchdowns on the first two carries of his career, including a 1-yard run against LSU last season and a 6-yard dash against Ole Miss in 2007.

Munzenmaier broke his streak of touchdowns with a carry on fourth-and-one, where the 6-foot-2 222-pound fullback was stopped short. He finished with six yards on four carries.


Looking back, Richt said he probably should have booted the field goal with 9:45 left to play in the game and Georgia facing a fourth-and-inches at the Arizona State 27. Instead, he made the call to go for it, and Muznenmaier was stopped short of the first down.

Of course, the play might have worked if not for a strange scenario that played out before the snap.

As Georgia got set at the line, the referee stood over the ball for a few extra seconds. Arizona State middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict anticipated the play and darted toward the line of scrimmage, shoving the ref out of his way.

A flag was thrown, but after the officials – a group from the Pac-10 – discussed the play, it was picked up and the Bulldogs set up to run the play again.

“That was very interesting,” Richt said. “I was like, ‘What in the world?’ I know in our league, if any of our guys touches an official on purpose, he’s out. That’s 15 yards, and he’s out of the game. He might not play the next game. I don’t know for sure, but I thought I saw somebody do that.”

As it turned out, the delay was a costly one for the Bulldogs.

Georgia had lined up in a goal-line package, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he thought the delay offered the Sun Devils a chance to recognize the personnel and make the right adjustments before the snap.

“Coach said we were going for it, so we called the play we thought we could get it,” Bobo said. “It hurt us really when we broke the huddle and the official stood over the ball. We had our personnel on the field, and they adjusted to it. We probably should have changed the play there after they adjusted.”

Munzenmaier had successfully moved the football in previous carries – picking up a first down once and a touchdown on another run – but this time the Arizona State defense had him surrounded.

“I was ready to just put my head down and get over that line, but there were guys just flying over the top and coming out of every which direction,” Munzenmaier said.

As for explanations for the unlikely series of events that preceded the failed fourth-down try, Richt was left wondering.

“I didn’t really get a real good answer to that,” he said.


Georgia’s propensity for turnovers continued Saturday against Arizona State, as the Bulldogs coughed up the football three times in the second half, bringing their season total to 12.

Quarterback Joe Cox threw two interceptions and tailback Caleb King fumbled – with all three turnovers coming on Georgia’s side of the field and all in the second half.

Still, Georgia managed to overcome the problems, pulling out a victory after a blocked field-goal try preserved a tie late in the fourth quarter. While he’s happy for the win, Cox said he doesn’t see how Georgia’s good luck in the face of so many miscues can continue.

“It’s crazy because we talk about it every week that we need to cut out turnovers and penalties,” Cox said. “It just seems to be something that happens anyway. It gets frustrating. I’m glad our defense bailed us out. We left them in a couple tough spots.”

The defense held strong following Cox’s second interception, shutting Arizona State down on three straight plays to force the final field-goal try. But the previous two turnovers both led to touchdowns, including one in which Jarrell Holman ran through a bevy of would-be tacklers for a touchdown.

The defense played its best game of the season, allowing just 204 total yards to Arizona State, but the turnovers continued to plague the Bulldogs. Through four games, 47 percent of the points Georgia has allowed have come following turnovers.

“You’d like to think you’d progressed some in the last three weeks, but I almost feel like we’re like that record that gets stuck,” Richt said. “The same thing keeps happening over and over again, but the good news is we’ve been winning.”

Like Cox, however, Richt knows the run of good luck can’t last forever.

And while he said the coaches have preached about the turnovers in practice, Richt took the onus on himself to correct the problems going forward.

“I’d like to remove some of the drama if possible and just play a solid 60 minutes of football, but we just have not found a way to do that yet,” Richt said. “But that’s coaching, too. I’ve got to do a better job of getting these guys prepared. It’s not only what I might say before the game or at halftime. It’s what we demand of them throughout the week and maybe we need to do a better job of that.”


Redshirt freshman Baccari Rambo was promised more playing time by defensive coordinator Willie Martinez earlier this week, and Rambo showed he deserved it in the second quarter by hauling in his first career interception – just he second pick of the season by a Georgia defender.

“I was saying all week it’s time for me to step up, man. Time for me to step up,” Rambo said. I’ve got to get better, mature and grow up. I started watching more film and studying the plays and I just stayed focused during the whole thing.”

Rambo came off the bench at safety this week after seeing minimal action in the first three games. Georgia’s secondary struggled badly against Arkansas last week, however, and Martinez promised a shake-up. While the defense looked improved against the Sun Devils, Rambo showed his promise by picking off Arizona State quarterback Danny Sullivan late in the second quarter after defensive end Cornelius Washington forced an early throw.

That was a great pass rush—a great pass rush,” Rambo, who finished with four tackles and pass breakup, said. “The whole defensive line got in there and forced [Sullivan] to make a bad pass. He had to throw it to try to get the ball off.”


Rambo wasn’t the only Georgia player to enjoy a breakthrough game Saturday night. True freshman receiver Rantavious Wooten hauled in a 27-yard catch on third-and-12 for his first career reception in the second quarter.

In the fourth quarter, on Georgia’s winning drive, Wooten hauled in a crucial third-down catch, an 11-yard gain to pick up a first down.

“Every time I’m in the game I’m thinking the ball may be coming my way, so I got it in my mind that it was coming to me and I focused hard to make the catch,” he said.

Wooten, who finished with 38 yards receiving, also got one carry on an end around in the first half, picking up three yards.

“Every time they give me opportunities, I’m going to take advantage of them,” Wooten said. “It feels good. It feels real good being apart of the victory. It’s amazing.”


Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens both turned in strong performances Saturday, anchoring what was easily the top game of the season for Georgia’s front four.

Houston recorded the game’s only sack – his first since returning from a two-game suspension last week – and he and Atkins combined for four tackles in the backfield.

“The DBs did great covering tonight and gave us time to get to the quarterback,” Houston said.

Overall, Georgia had nine tackles for a loss in the game, and after ASU tailback Dimitri Nance ran for 100 yards in the first three quarters, the defense stuffed the tailback for a net loss of eight yards in the fourth.

“As the game went on, our D line really began to take control of the game and not allow Arizona State to do what they wanted to do,” Richt said.

The stop Georgia’s defense was able to make on Arizona State’s final drive was the first time an opponent failed to score this season following 11 Bulldogs turnovers on their side of the field. It was an effort that was particularly sweet for the much-maligned Georgia defense, Houston said.

“Coach Martinez says all the time, when turnovers happen, that’s your time to show greatness,” Houston said. “I think that’s what we did. We showed greatness tonight.”


On the bus ride to the game, quarterback Joe Cox had a good idea he might be in line for a rough night.

The sky opened up about an hour before kickoff, and the rain kept up throughout much of the game, leaving the field – and more importantly, the ball – soaking wet.

The conditions made throwing difficult, particularly for Cox, he said.

“It was really tough at first,” Cox said. “That was the first time in a long time I’d played a game in the rain, and it’s tough, especially for me. You look at guys with big hands that can throw the ball in the rain, and I don’t.”


Junior Chris Davis got the start at left guard against the Sun Devils. After starting all 13 games last season and Georgia’s opener against Oklahoma State, Davis had come off the bench in favor of Justin Anderson each of the past two games… Junior defensive tackle Brandon Wood looked like he might be headed for a medical redshirt just two weeks ago following offseason shoulder surgery. Instead, Wood saw his first action of the season in the first half against Arizona State, working at both defensive tackle and defensive end.

*Fletcher Page contributed to these notes.


Silver Dawg said...

Most Valuable Player in the World on September 26, 2009?

A.J. Green.

Hands Down. Wow.

Speaking of Greens, Sir David, any feedback from the coaching staff on Christian Green's visit this weekend??

No more bourbon on Saturdays this fall. I really think Valium is the way to go this season.

dawgfan17 said...

Completely agree with Silver Dawg, AJ Green is a man amongst boys. The one thing I don't get is the lack of national respect he gets. I would have thought his FG block would have made all the highlight reels but I have yet to see it replayed. Not to mention his 8 catches, 153 yards, 1td and what should have been another one on the pass he caught that they ruled OOB. If he played for UF, USC, Texas, UM, or OSU we would all be as sick of hearing about him as everyone gets about Tebow. There is not a better PLAYER in the country.

Phil said...

I'd just like to point out that the fans were great last night. We got drenched in the student section an hour+ before the game, and I thought no one else would show, but everyone came out to support the Dawgs and got to see a great game because of it. Nice work Bulldog Nation!

Bryant Sims said...

Is Brown injured? Interesting to see Wooten contributing before him.

Anonymous said...

David, love the blog but one small correction...the refs were from the SEC not the Pac-10. By the way, the umpire who got in the way on the 4th down play should look familiar...he was the one who leveled Stephen Garcia near the goal line last year when South Carolina played LSU.

Prince Lightfoot said...

Does Prince Miller know some dark secret of Richt's? What else could explain his near-permnanent presence on the field?

Besides the lack of effort on the pick you noted, he didn't move his feet and completely whiffed on a block when Logan Gray was back to receive a punt. He's a liability on punt returns (which is why #6 was deep for every punt that looked to land inside the 20 after the first quarter, I assume)and his primary contribution to the D seems to be arriving late to tackles and waving his hands emphatically. Worse, when he does make a tackle, he pops up like he's just tackled Tebow in the endzone, then woofs at the opposing bench. Martinez needs to reel that ridiculousness in. Prince seems concerned with keeping his uni clean; it could hardly stay any cleaner on the bench.

Speaking of reeling in ridiculousness, enough with the dancing, already. Dance when you can go a quarter without a pre-snap penalty, boys.