Georgia Football Gets To 10 Wins

John Kelley/ Georgia Athletics

Despite the 24-3 lead in the second half and the Penn State 14-0 run in the final quarter, the Georgia Bulldogs were able to hold on to get the 24-17 win in the TaxSlayer Bowl. It also means 10 wins for the second straight season.

This path to the game was not easy for the Bulldogs, with coaching changes and injured players providing distractions for the team. For a second, it looked like the Nittany Lions were going to be able to pull it to within a tie in the final 22 seconds of the game.

James Franklin’s Penn State team was without standout quarterback Christian Hackenberg from about mid-way through the second quarter all the way through the end of the game with a shoulder injury on his throwing side. Then came in redshirt freshman Trace McSorley to try and pull the Nittany Lions closer to the Bulldogs.

He was no slouch in his attempt to pull off the comeback. He would throw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, to finish the game with 142 yards passing and ran for 31 more.

McSorley even gave the Nittany Lions a chance to win the game, with a ‘Hail Mary’ pass in the final seconds that would be batted down by the Georgia defense to preserve the win.

Let us also remember that for the second straight year, the Bulldogs were without a permanent offensive coordinator for the bowl game. This meant that tight ends/special teams coach John Lilly had to call the plays for the exiting Brian Schottenheimer.

UGA’s offense finished with 327 yards of total offense, lead in large part by senior wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s 114 yards receiving. He would be on the receiving end of a 44 yard touchdown pass from freshman wide receiver/TaxSlayer Bowl MVP Terry Godwin out of the ‘Wild Dog’ formation.

Godwin also caught a touchdown pass. He is the first Bulldog since soon to be departing running backs coach Thomas Brown to throw a touchdown pass as a non-quarterback. Brown did that in 2005 against Florida.

Georgia’s defense also looked strong again, despite not having coordinator Jeremy Pruitt around to make the calls. They won the turnover battle by plus-one, with the first quarter interception by sophomore safety Dominick Sanders.

Saturday’s game was watched by soon to be head coach Kirby Smart. He joined ESPN’s broadcast crew in the booth during halftime to talk about balancing his duties at Alabama with his future obligations in Athens.

The win for the Bulldogs, gives this senior class 40 wins for their career. It also sets up the future to stay bright for the program, with 17 players that have starting experience on both sides of the ball back for next season.

Not all was great on Saturday, with senior kicker Marshall Morgan having to leave the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Senior placekicker Patrick Beless handled the extra point duties and senior punter Collin Barber missed a 48 yard field goal attempt in his absence.

The Bulldogs now say goodbye to senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, offensive tackle John Theus, running back Keith Marshall and many other Bulldogs. They also bid farewell to interim head coach/wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon, as he heads to South Carolina to join Will Muschamp’s staff.

They also played their final game with running backs coach Thomas Brown, who will join Mark Richt at Miami.

They will still have defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer on staff.

The focus is now fully on recruiting and getting the team ready for the season opener inside the Georgia Dome against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.

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