Cox wants to hit high note in last game

Associated Press
Quarterback Joe Cox has had an up-and-down season for the Bulldogs.

ATHENS, Ga. --- Joe Cox's season has mirrored Georgia's.

Praise has been offset by criticism and the periods of bliss have been few.

The redshirt senior nears the final time he will wear a football uniform.

Despite the rocky moments, he doesn't want to trade his time as Georgia's starting quarterback for anything.

"Through all of the ups and downs of the season, I still got to be the quarterback at the University of Georgia," Cox said. "That's something a lot of people dream about and never get a chance to do. It's something I'm very proud of and I really worked hard at.

"Even though it was something that didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, at least I can say that I did it and nobody can take that away from me. It would have been worth it no matter what. It would have been worth it if we won the national championship or if we had been 1-11.

"It's a lot of fun getting a chance to play on this level and in this conference so it feels good, definitely," Cox said.

Cox has started all 12 games this season. He's completed 170 of 303 passes for 2,426 yards with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His 22 touchdowns are three short of Matthew Stafford's single-season school record of 25 set last year.

Cox tied the school single-game touchdown pass record with five against Arkansas and was named the Southeastern Conference's Offensive Player of the Week after that game. Maybe Cox's biggest moment and the biggest win for the team was beating Georgia Tech 30-24 in the final regular season game.

Georgia also played its last two regular- season games without its top receiver, A.J. Green, who was out with a shoulder injury. Green should be back in time for the Independence Bowl on Dec. 28.

"I thought he did pretty well, especially since it was his first year starting," Georgia receiver Michael Moore said. "But if you look at it, he threw 22 touchdowns which is almost a record. Joe was always the leader of the team. Whenever we would break it down, everybody would always be looking at Joe, no matter what."

Among its wins this year with Cox at the helm, Georgia (7-5) earned all-important rivalry victories against Auburn and Georgia Tech.

"He's a first-class guy," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "He's very tough physically and mentally. He has persevered. He has persisted and I have a lot of admiration for that. He's had some very good days and some things that maybe weren't exactly what he wanted, but I have a lot of respect for what he's done. I think he's handled it well."

Georgia's offense had problems this season and Cox bore much of the criticism. He threw interceptions in his first eight games.

Cox graduated Friday, but doesn't have any finalized plans for his next step. He wants to hook up with a college coaching staff as a graduate assistant and begin a career under a headset. If that doesn't happen, he hopes to explore business opportunities around Charleston, S.C.

One thing is for certain. He will not play football again.

"I just want to go out and have fun," Cox said. "It's been a long road and football's been a lot of fun. I want to finish on a good note."

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