ATHENS, Ga. - At least one thing was learned from Saturday's G-Day Game at Sanford Stadium: Georgia ought to be favored in its Aug. 30 season opener against Arkansas State.
Other than that, little could be drawn from the on-the-field action in the Bulldogs' annual spring intrasquad game. With all the starters on the Red team and the backups on the Black, the outcome was predictable - a 41-10 Red-team rout. The game was played before 8,411 die-hard fans who braved the rainy and unseasonably cool conditions for a sneak preview of the 1997 Georgia team.
"With the exception of Hines (Ward) hurting his ankle a little bit, I thought the competition was good," Georgia coach Jim Donnan said. "All and all, we've had a great spring practice. We're a lot farther ahead than we were last year."
Ward, who is being pushed for All-America and Heisman honors next season, sprained his left ankle late in the second half and spent the rest of the day on crutches. The injury is not expected to affect his play this fall.
Quarterback Mike Bobo and his cohorts on the No. 1 offense feasted on the mid-afternoon mismatch. After getting off to a slow start, Bobo finished 12-of-17 passing for 157 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yarder to Thad Parker in the fourth quarter.
Tailbacks Robert Edwards (18 rushes, 154 yards) and Patrick Pass (13-115), who often played together in the same backfield, combined for three touchdowns and averaged 8.7 yards per carry.
As was evidenced by the 378 yards rushing by both teams, Georgia is "going to be a ground-oriented team because of the strength of our line and those guys are special backs," Donnan said. "We're going to play around our defense and try not to put them in bad positions."
Likewise, the Red defense capitalized against the overmatched Black offense. Champ Bailey hauled in two interceptions and Greg Bright and Walker Atrice returned pickoffs for 62 and 57 yards, respectively. The Red did not give up a touchdown after allowing a score on the opening drive of the afternoon.
"It was fun and G-Day is supposed to be fun after 14 days of hard work," said Bobo. "I felt good out there. It was tough to get going at first. But we have a lot of weapons on this team and we showed that today."
"Everyone was taking the `have fun and just play' approach," said Edwards. "I think the fans can see we are making some progress on the field."
In addition to Bobo, Edwards and Pass, other statistical superlatives included: