On September 21st, the Georgia Bulldogs faced North Texas for the first time. Entering the game, Georgia was 49-9 against non-conference opponents under Mark Richt, including 34-1 in Athens. North Texas entered this game coming off of a victory at home against Ball State in which they overcame an eighteen-point deficit in the final 33 minutes of the game. There were some very exciting plays for the Bulldogs victory of 45-21 over the Mean Green, including freshman coming out parties and broken records.
The Bulldogs had 641 yards of total offense. The Mean Green had 245 yards of total offense with just 7 rushing yards which is the lowest rushing total since Georgia held Florida to minus 19 in 2011. The defense allowed only allowed 1 touchdown while North Texas scored the other two on special teams.
In the second quarter senior receiver Rantavious Wooten completed a 42 yard pass to tight end Arthur Lynch on a trick play. Lynch had a career-high of four catches for a career-high of 85 yards and a touchdown.
Junior inside linebacker Ramik Wilson lead the team with 9 stops, and strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemmons had seven.
Georgia special teams had some issues against North Texas. In the first half, the Mean Green’s Brelan Chancellor returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. North Texas also scored a touchdown after blocking Collin Barber’s first punt of the third quarter.
Freshman Shine on Defense
This year Georgia lost a lot of starters on defense, and the young players did struggle in the first two games. But freshman got a chance to make some impact plays against the Mean Green. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd had six total tackles (3 solo, 3 assists), including two sacks in the first quarter for a total loss of 17 yards. Floyd said the sacks helped his confidence:
“Yes, it helped my confidence a lot. I felt like I need to get more. I need to feel that feeling all the time. It felt good.”
Floyd also said the defense is growing with every game:
“We’re coming in every week working hard and getting into the playbook and then performing on the field. We’re getting better every week.”
Freshman Free Safety Tray Matthews had 2 total tackles (1 solo, 1 assist) against North Texas. Matthews caught his first career interception in the third quarter:
“It felt great to get the first pick. I’m used to getting at least a pick every game in high school. The first two games kind of humbled me.”
Matthews said the Bulldogs did not expect this to be an easy win:
“Coach Richt and Coach Grantham preach to us about not taking any team lightly. We knew they were a good team. We knew we were in for a good fight.”
The freshman safety said this game will help the Bulldogs prepare for LSU. He said he is definitely tuning into Auburn vs LSU:
“Oh yeah. I’m going to get close. I’ve got to see what’s going on. It’s going to be extra film for me.”
Murray Breaks Records
Senior quarterback Aaron Murray threw his 100th touchdown pass for 98 yards to freshman
receiver Reggie Davis in the first drive of the second quarter. This is the longest pass in Georgia history, and it tied for third longest passing touchdown in SEC history. This was also Davis’ first career touchdown pass. Head coach Mark Richt pointed out that Murray is not the only player who deserves the credit for the records he has set:
“To get to 100 is a tribute to Aaron, but it’s also due to a lot of receivers, a lot of pass blockers and a lot of coaching. He deserves the credit, but it takes the team to get that done.”
Murray also agreed that Davis deserves credit for the reception:
“We’re really happy for Reggie. That’s his first catch. I was more nervous than he was. With a guy with that kind of speed you really don’t want to overthrow him. You’ve just got to trust his speed. He did a great job of making the catch.”
Murray also noted that the ball boys deserved a shout out keeping the balls as dry as possible.
Head coach Mark Richt acknowledged the success on defense and offense and the issues on special teams in his statements:
“I think the biggest key in the game was the defense and how well they played. Overall, the defense stepped up and played well. Offensively, anytime you go over 600 yards, that’s a pretty good day too, so they did some things well. Our special teams were good, but we had some bad things obviously. We’ve got to rise to the challenge and do better on that.”