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Georgia receiver corps share the ball.


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Georgia receiver corps share the ball


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It did not occur to Michael Moore until he found Mohamed Massaquoi after the game. Moore caught five passes Saturday. He had only caught five passes in his first two years on campus.

“We were laughing about it after the game,” Moore said. “It just shows how far I’ve come along and he has come along.”

And how far the entire Georgia receiver corps, the least recognizable component of the team, came along Saturday. In all, seven wide-outs caught the ball. Besides Moore, Massaquoi had the first two-touchdown game of his career, including a 54-yard doozy late in the third quarter when MCU had closed the lead to 18 points.

Freshman flanker A.J. Green not only made his first start but also pulled in a career-high three passes. Freshmen Israel Troupe and Tavarres King had their first receptions.

In all, the receiver corps collected 18 balls — five others went to running backs — and picked up 249 yards, the average reception going for 13.8 yards.

“It is just how we are,” said Moore. “The rotation, anybody can make a play.”

Covering the spread (offense)

As quarters go, Central Michigan couldn’t have asked quarterback Dan LeFevour for more: 11 completions, 134 yards, a touchdown and a feel for finding the open man. Unfortunately for LeFevour and the Chippewas, it was the third quarter, during which Georgia salted the game away.

For much of the first half, LeFevour and CMU’s spread offense just spun its wheels. When LeFevour found some traction, it was too late.

“I don’t know necessarily what it was,” he said. “We just knew that there was stuff out there for us to do. I think some things just started clicking for us. We started making plays. That’s the bottom line.”

In all, LeFevour completed 23 of 43 passes for 250 yards and a pair of scores. But he had an interception returned for a touchdown and was his most productive only after Georgia had control of the scoreboard.

“It’s not just a quarterback,” CMU Butch Jones said. “It’s your offensive line protecting, it’s your running backs protecting, it’s your receivers getting off press (coverage). There were a number of times we didn’t get off the press in the perimeter or we had a protection break-down. I think there were a number of different things that accumulated some of that stuff.”

Chippewas rack up yards

The final stats Central Michigan’s offense put up Saturday might make Georgia fans grimace and there certainly weren’t any Bulldogs beating their chests afterward. But there also weren’t any hung heads in the UGA locker room either.

“I’m not going to make any excuses,” defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. “That’s a good offense, a good scheme, a very good quarterback. It wasn’t good to let them get some momentum right there before halftime. But we were able to settle down, make some adjustments and play better. Obviously we were able to finish better than last week.”

The Chippewas managed 306 yards of offense and scored 17 points on three consecutive possessions spanning the second and third quarters. But Georgia shut them down for the other game’s other 50 minutes, including with backups in for the fourth quarter.

“The first game we didn’t finish; this time we finished,” cornerback Asher Allen said. “Sometimes on third down we’re not getting off the field and we’ve got to do better with that. But we made progress.”

CMU put together a 37-second scoring drive to make it 28-7 right before halftime. Martinez took the blame as he tried to make wholesale substitutions with his defense winded after Dobbs’ 78-yard scoring play.

“It’s kind of a Catch-22,” he said. “I’m trying to sub everybody after that long play and then we got that penalty and we just lost our edge there for a minute.”

Etc …

Now the season really starts.

No disrespect to Central Michigan, but that was the general feeling in the Bulldogs’ postgame locker room.

“South Carolina is so big and strong and physical on defense,” Richt said. “They’re difficult to move around, but Vanderbilt found a way. Now South Carolina is wounded. They’re made and they have a couple of extra days to prepare for us. The last time that happened we lost 35-14 [at Tennessee].”

Of gaining more than 500 yards offense for the second consecutive week, quarterback Matthew Stafford said: “South Carolina is pretty good on defense. That’s what I saw when I watched them Thursday. We put up a lot of yards and points these last two games but we understand we weren’t playing LSU or South Carolina on defense.” …

Lost in all the big-play highlights was a superb game from sophomore linebacker Rennie Curran. He led the Bulldogs with 11 tackles, two tackles for losses and a sack. …. The Bulldogs had four first-time starters Saturday: Dobbs, Green, fullback Shaun Chapas and linebacker Darryl Gamble. …

Georgia’s 56 points was its second-most under Richt. It beat Kentucky 62-17 in 2004. … The Bulldogs suffered no injuries. … Former Georgia letterman Leroy Dukes, who died Thursday night, was honored with a moment of silence before the game.

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