Missed kicks haunt Dogs' Walsh again

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TAMPA, Fla. — It felt as if every camera and recorder in Raymond James Stadium was thrust in front of Blair Walsh’s face following Georgia’s 33-30 loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.

Georgia's Blair Walsh (right) missed a field goal that would have won the game in the first overtime and had his kick blocked in the third overtime on Monday.  CHRIS O'MEARA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHRIS O'MEARA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Georgia's Blair Walsh (right) missed a field goal that would have won the game in the first overtime and had his kick blocked in the third overtime on Monday.

The senior kicker missed two field goal attempts in overtime – the first from 42 yards in the initial extra period with a chance to win the game and the second from 47 yards in the third installment that would have tied it.

Despite the tough ending, Walsh didn’t shy away from any questions from the press corps.

“You could say it wasn’t my year in a lot of respects, and that’s OK,” Walsh said. “I work hard. I think that’s the most frustrating part about it – my work ethic and my results don’t really match this year.”

The failed kicks overshadowed Walsh breaking former Georgia kicker Billy Bennett’s Southeastern Conference record by notching 412 points for his career. Walsh connected on two field goals (32, 47) and two extra points to become the fifth-highest scoring player in NCAA history.

Walsh’s last game encapsulated his most trying season in Athens. He finished 19 of 31 on field goals for the year after missing only 13 kicks in his first three seasons combined.

The miss in the first overtime was struck cleanly, but missed to the right.

“I felt like my man would make the kick,” coach Mark Richt said. “I felt like we centered the ball, put the ball right where we wanted to. It was well within his range.”

The last miss – the final play of the game – was kicked low because of the distance needed and was blocked.

“I hit it the way I wanted to hit it,” Walsh said.

“There was a lot of pressure on him,” Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “When you get pressure like that it’s hard to make plays. I’ll take my hat off to Blair – we should have won the game earlier.”

NO WORD YET: There was no clarity provided after the game regarding Georgia underclassmen still wrestling with the decision to turn pro or return to school.

“No comment,” junior safety Bacarri Rambo said multiple times. Rambo did say he received word from the NFL Draft advisory board that he could be drafted as high as the third round, but would go into no further detail.

“Just have to tune in,” said Rambo, who intercepted his eighth pass of the season. “Be patient.”

INJURED AGAIN: Isaiah Crowell’s Outback Bowl appearance was over essentially before it began.

The freshman tailback re-injured his sprained ankle after three carries and one catch in the first half. He finished with 7 total yards.


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