Originally created 01/03/06

Georgia defense humbled by Slaton, White



ATLANTA - Given one final opportunity to make a stop in the fourth quarter, Georgia's defense thought it had delivered.

On third-and-11 from the West Virginia 47, quarterback Pat White kept the ball for a 5-yard gain, forcing a punt with 1:45 left. But punter Phil Brady faked the kick, running up the middle for 10 yards to the Georgia 38.

Once again, Georgia couldn't contain the Mountaineers, who beat the Bulldogs 38-35 in the Sugar Bowl on Monday night.

"I wanted to curse," said Georgia safety Greg Blue, who was on the sideline for the fake. "But then we had to go back out there."

Made to look silly most of the night by the speed of West Virginia's skill players, the Bulldogs' defense gave up its most points of the season - including 21 in the first quarter. But Blue said the Mountaineers didn't fool Georgia with trickery.

"The ran exactly what they ran the first time they were together," said Blue, referring to West Virginia quarterback Pat White and tailback Steve Slaton.

Added Blue: "There was no trickery, but they got their yards."

Many of the yards came early.

The first of two 52-yard runs by Slaton came less than three minutes into the game, and the Mountaineers scored touchdowns on their first four possessions.

Georgia could find no way to stop Slaton, who rushed for 204 yards rushing on 26 carries, breaking the Sugar Bowl rushing record of 202 yards set by Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett in 1977.

"They came out and pounded us," said defensive end Quentin Moses.

The Mountaineers had 63 carries for 382 yards, setting BCS records with both totals.

It was a humbling experience for Georgia's defense, which ranked fourth in the nation with its average of 14.6 yards allowed per game and 11th in the nation with its average of 298 yards allowed. In just the first half, Georgia gave up 31 points and 294 yards Monday night.

Moses also said Georgia was not fooled by a scheme, but he said it was difficult to prepare for the speed of Slaton and White just by watching film.

"It's hard to put an image that you see with actual real-life on the field," Moses said. "We tried to be prepared but you can't coach speed. They hit the holes."

Georgia's defense too often failed to plug them.

"They're an option team and anytime you face an option team you're got to be in your gaps properly," said linebacker Jarvis Jackson. "A couple of people jumped out of their places at the wrong time."

Georgia's defense made a third-quarter stand, holding West Virginia scoreless. But even in that quarter, the Mountaineers had seven first downs and almost 80 yards.

"They are quick, the running back and quarterback," Blue said. "They played a great game. They played well."