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Moments after kicking the game-winning 42-yard field goal to beat Tennessee, Marshall Morgan could only think of one thing after teammates dog-piled him on the field to celebrate Georgia's 34-31 overtime victory.
"I was trying to get them off of me - I've got asthma," said Morgan, who accounted for 10 of his team's points.
He can smile about it now.
As a freshman, four missed extra points and some key missed field goals had some wondering if Georgia coaches had made a mistake by giving a scholarship to the Florida native.
Coupled with his well-documented incident over the summer that saw Morgan suspended for the first two games after a Boating under the influence arrest, his early tenure in Athens was anything but smooth.
But he appears to have turned the corner.
In his three games since returning, Morgan has converted all 15 of his extra points and is 6-of-8 kicking field goals, including last week's game-winner which was preceded by a personal-best 56-yarder to cap Georgia's opening drive.
"I was so in my zone. I was not trying to think about how big a kick it was until after," Morgan said of his game-winner. "I can't say I was nervous, but it was a thrill. I was anxious to kick it. They tried to ice me, but I was like 'I just want to kick it.'"
Head coach Mark Richt said he always figured Morgan would turn things around.
"When I saw his high school film, it was a year where we knew that we better get us a kicker. We tried to look at whom we thought were the best kickers in the country, and of all the film I saw, to me he was the best," Richt said. "Of course, last year he did struggle as a freshman. Why those guys struggle, I don't know, but I knew he had it in him. He kicked very well in the spring, and he kicked extremely well in the fall and in camp."
Apparently, his teammates have taken notice.
Morgan laughed that seems to be gaining more and more trust following the start he's been able to get off to so far.
"After the LSU game, my teammates were complimenting me more, they have a lot more faith in me," he said. "Before the games now they are a lot more positive towards me. When we go out they're like 'You've got this.' After the Tennessee kick I think they really have gained a lot more confidence. The whole team is awesome."
Some words of wisdom from a pair of former Bulldog kickers have apparently paid off as well.
In January, Morgan worked briefly with current Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, and more recently he's received some tips from former Bulldog great Kevin Butler.
"I've talked to him. He's given me some tips off and throughout the season," Morgan said. "He's just a great guy to be around. Just before OT, he comes up to me and tells me this one is going to come down to you. I'm just glad I was able to come through."
So is Richt, who added Morgan has been given new instructions when it comes to handling the Bulldogs' kickoff chores.
"It's been good to see him kick the extra points and the field goals the way that he has. With the kickoffs, we've given him much more of a leeway to try to knock it out. We were trying to get distance and height, and now we're just saying that if he can knock it out, just knock it out. By giving him that freedom, he's done better," Richt said. " From a coaching point of view, it's on me, right or wrong. Some of his kicks weren't going out because we liked the hang time. The guy was kicking 4.1 or 4.2 hang time, which is a long time to hang a kickoff. If you remember early on, most of our tackles were inside the 20 with that unit. Of course, you get the one that goes to the house and then you start saying let's just trying to knock it out. That's been more on me than anything else, and I think he's been doing a lot better job of that."
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