Injuries mount, Bulldogs drop to No. 7

AP
Georgia's Keith Marshall (4) is carted off of the field after getting injured during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Knoxville
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 1:21 PM
Last updated 7:06 PM
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Forgive Georgia coach Mark Richt for not feeling overly enthusiastic in the wake of Saturday’s overtime victory over Tennessee that preserved his team’s national title hopes.

“I’m not really in the celebrating mood so much,” Richt said after the Bulldogs rallied for a 34-31 triumph. The coach said he was “just thankful to escape here with a victory considering what happened.”

Georgia fell from No. 6 to No. 7 in the Top 25 released Sunday after the escape at Tennessee. The Bulldogs’ bigger concern is a flurry of injuries that decimated their depth chart against Tennessee and continued a season-long trend.

Georgia running back Keith Marshall injured his right knee on a hit from Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton while reaching for an incomplete pass. Marshall was on crutches after the game.

Wide receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley also injured their right knees later in the game. A concussion knocked out punter Collin Barber. Georgia already was playing the game without injured running back Todd Gurley and safeties Tray Matthews and Connor Norman.

Richt said he couldn’t remember one of his teams ever having so many injuries in one game.

“It’s just such a shame,” Richt said. “Guys work so hard, and we really went through camp overall pretty good and really had one of our best camps as far as injuries are concerned. Now I just don’t know what the carnage is right now.”

So much for the notion that Georgia (4-1, 3-0 SEC) would have an easier road now that it had made it through a brutal September schedule with its championship hopes intact.

Georgia already had faced No. 3 Clemson, No. 14 South Carolina and No. 10 LSU in its first four games. All three of those teams were ranked in the top 10 when they faced Georgia. Saturday’s game with Tennessee was supposed to begin the easier part of the Bulldogs’ schedule.

But the Bulldogs instead have plenty of questions as they get ready for an intriguing matchup Saturday with No. 25 Missouri (5-0, 1-0), which is coming off an impressive 51-28 victory at Vanderbilt.

Georgia likely will have to play better than it did against Tennessee. The Bulldogs forced overtime against the Volunteers only after Aaron Murray threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Rantavious Wooten with five seconds left in regulation.

“We have a lot of work to do before we play Missouri because that’s another team that will sneak up on you in a heartbeat,” Georgia outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said.

Richt didn’t have updates on the conditions of players injured against Tennessee immediately after the game. Richt did say Gurley had a 50-50 chance of playing against Missouri after missing the Tennessee game with a sprained left ankle.

Gurley and Marshall had formed one of the nation’s top running back tandems before both were hurt. Gurley has 71 carries for 450 yards and four touchdowns. Marshall has rushed for 246 yards and one touchdown on 56 attempts. They combined to rush for 2,144 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.

Freshman J.J. Green stepped up in their absence Saturday and ran for 129 yards on 17 carries. Green had entered the game with only five career rushing attempts.

“When we signed him, we really didn’t know what he was going to play,” Richt said. “We thought he could play corner, we thought he could play receiver. This spring we knew we had some issues at the tailback position so we just asked him what do you think about playing some tailback and he said, ‘OK, Coach, I’ll play.’ Turns out he’s a tough nut.”

They may need Green to deliver a repeat performance against Missouri.

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ragingbull
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ragingbull 10/06/13 - 02:25 pm
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They are in training for the

Sounds like a lot of knee injuries. Do you think Tennessee had a scheme in mind? Sounds kind of odd for three players to have the same sort of injuries in the same game. Someone should be crying foul! Or, maybe they are in training for the WWE!

GnipGnop
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GnipGnop 10/06/13 - 02:33 pm
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This is crap....

Georgia is the only team I have ever seen drop in the polls for winning...this is the second time...what horse crap!!

David Parker
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David Parker 10/07/13 - 10:31 am
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Haterz gonna hate

Forget that Tennessee is playing better and winning games. Forget they were hungry and poised to pull off the upset in the eyes of the announcers. Forget that within a few minutes they ended the 2013 season for our feature back. Forget that they went on to end the season for another integral part of our team. Forget yet again they injured another primary player for who knows how long. Forget that FSU beat a team called the Terps who I still cannot for the life of me figure out why they are ranked. But put all that aside. Yeah UGA is inflated and only good on paper. Gimme a break.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 10/07/13 - 12:52 pm
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Drop

Guys, I feel your pain. But, it was expected. UGA was suppose to run TN off the field. Instead, for all the reasons you mentioned, they didn't, and that is all the media sees. And, let's face it, we are in trouble. The defense is not improving, and now the offense has been hit smack in the mouth with injuries. Facing UF and Bama down the road with this team will be challenging to say the least. Go Dawgs.

David Parker
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David Parker 10/07/13 - 03:00 pm
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Wouldn't be so insurmountable

Wouldn't be so insurmountable if FSU and the like had a schedule like this:

@#8 Clemson L38-35 0-1 (0-0)
vs#6 South Carolina W41-30 1-1 (1-0)
vsNorth Texas W45-21 2-1 (1-0)
vs#6 LSU W44-41 3-1 (2-0)
@Tennessee W34-31 OT 4-1 (3-0)

instead of a schedule like this:

@Pittsburgh W41-13 1-0 (1-0)
vsNevada W62-7 2-0 (1-0)
vsBethune-Cook. W54-6 3-0 (1-0)
@Boston College W48-34 4-0 (2-0)
vs#25 Maryland W63-0 5-0 (3-0)

Then everybody would be susceptible to the same depleting injuries. Apparently those running this scheme don't think injuries and strength of opponent should factor in. I wouldn't make a peep had they put FSU behind UGA but one-loss or not, UGA ranks higher by accomplishment alone. Who has FSU even played before allocating merit to their wins?

justthefacts
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justthefacts 10/07/13 - 04:06 pm
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Davo

FSU will play Clemson and Florida. Time will tell. UGA needs to figure out a way to get er done. The rest will sort it's way out.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 10/07/13 - 07:34 pm
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justthefacts is right...just

justthefacts is right...just have to get it done, somehow.
I can't wait until the new system is in place to determine who goes to playoffs! They are supposed to actually figure in the strength of schedule of each team, so pansy schedules like Florida State (and there are many others...like Ohio State) will hurt their chances. If that factor were TRULY in place this season, Georgia would HAVE to be up high in the poll right now!
For those folks who are watching but aren't really aware of what's happening, the teams that you see beating the living snot out of their opponents aren't just doing it because they want everyone to think they're mightier than the team, they're doing it because they want the pollsters to vote them higher each week because of that high score! When a team "struggles" to win a game...like Georgia did against Tennessee...the pollsters don't necessarily take anything else into their decision other than they "almost" lost to a team they were heavily favored against! Look at South Carolina this week....they only beat Kentucky by 1 touchdown, so they weren't rewarded in the polls either. It's the way it is now. Hope the new formula will be more fair to everyone....including the fans!

David Parker
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David Parker 10/08/13 - 12:41 pm
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how is it right? by game 5

how is it right?

by game 5 UGA is down 4-6 integral starters b/c they play 3 top 10 teams.

by game 5 FSU hasn't done squat so their squad is ready to go and getting better for those matchups with Clemson (legit) and the fringe Gators.

I'm not going to debate whether it's better to play the harder games earlier or later. All I'm pointing out is what UGA has done and what FSU has done. It's abundantly clear that UGA is the MACK and FSU is a light snack.

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