Originally created 09/01/02

Georgia gets off to Shockley



ATHENS, Ga. - D.J. Shockley's first series as a Georgia Bulldog couldn't have gone any better Saturday.

Inserted on his team's fourth possession, Shockley ran for a 9-yard touchdown that put Georgia up 21-7 with 8:10 left in the second quarter.

A former Parade All-American who was redshirted last season, Shockley replaced starting quarterback David Greene after Greene threw an interception.

Shockley was given good field position after Thomas Davis returned a shanked punt to Clemson's 15-yard line. Tailback Musa Smith ran for no gain on the first play, then Shockley ran for six yards to set up third-and-4 from the 9-yard line.

Shockley dropped back to pass and was flushed from the pocket. He found plenty of running room, then he juked Tigers safety Eric Meekins at the 4-yard line and dived into the end zone for his first collegiate touchdown.

Greene replaced Shockley on the next possession.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons was often impressive in his first career start, but drops by receivers made the first half disappointing.

Simmons, a redshirt junior, rifled a pass that traveled 70 yards in the air and hit Airese Currie in stride, but Currie dropped it. Currie had beaten double coverage on the fly route, and the score could have been tied at 14 had he held on.

Derrick Hamilton dropped another long pass from Simmons in the end zone four possessions later, but ultimately it didn't cost the Tigers. Simmons found Kevin Youngblood on a 21-yard scoring strike that helped trim the Bulldogs' lead to 21-14 with eight seconds left in the first half.

HONORING A FRIEND: Georgia linebacker Tony Gilbert wasn't wearing his usual number Saturday. Gilbert shed his usual No. 42 in favor of No. 99 to honor former Bulldog David Jacobs.

Jacobs suffered a career-ending stroke near the end of last season but has recovered enough to continue as a student at Georgia. The school instituted the David Jacobs Award last year, given annually to the player "who shows courage to overcome adversity and finish the drill."

Jacobs watched the game from the sidelines.

SEEING THE LIGHT: Until about 20 minutes before gametime, it appeared the Bulldogs and Tigers might play in the dark. The lights at Sanford Stadium weren't on, and the cloud cover made for an eerie scene as the teams were going through warmups.

The lights came to life at about 7:20 p.m., and things returned to normal.

"We sent someone to turn the lights on, and they flipped the wrong switch," said Claude Felton, Georgia's senior associate athletic director.

EXTRA POINTS: Damien Gary's 5-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was his first since the season opener last season against Arkansas State. ... Fred Gibson's 91-yard kickoff return in the second quarter was the sophomore's first touchdown on a kickoff. ... Georgia's Arnold Harrison, a former star at Josey High, played both linebacker and defensive end. Harrison played defensive end last season but was moved to linebacker last spring. ... Georgia defensive lineman Shedrick Wynn, a former Lincoln County standout, didn't suit up Saturday.

Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645.