November 5, 2011

Corners turn offensive



Here's one for the trivia whiz kids from the Elias Sports Bureau.

When was the last time two starting college cornerbacks scored offensive touchdowns in the same game? Good question.

Branden Smith and Brandon Boykin turned the trick during Saturday's 63-10 rout of New Mexico State.

First it was Smith taking a inside handoff 56 yards for Georgia's first touchdown midway through the first quarter, followed later by Boykin who turned a short completion by Aaron Murray into a 42-yard touchdown as part of the Bulldogs 42-point second quarter.

"We both knew we'd have to contribute on offense," Boykin said. "We knew that we had the speed and could utilize it if we could get past the first line, (Smith) definitely did and I got a chance to make a play. We just tried to contribute however we could."

For Smith it was his first start at tailback since the Louisiana-Lafayette game of last year and marked the third score of his career.

Boykin, who had an 80-yard touchdown run in the opener against Boise State, has now scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and as a kick returner over the course of his four-year career.

Could a touchdown pass be in his future?

"I know, right? That's the next thing," Boykin laughed. "Maybe before my career is over I can do that, too."

White: Fear the hedges

Tight end Aron White's first career touchdown in Sanford Stadium was certainly one he will never forget.

After Murray hit the senior on a 6-yarder with nine seconds left in the half, White had to hurdle one of the Redcoat Marching Band's xylophones sitting on the sideline before tumbling into the hedges. His teammates had to pull him out before celebrating the score.

"I have this fear of running into something after I score, like what happened at Houston where the guy ran into some band equipment after a touchdown. I told myself, you're not about to run into a xylophone," White said. "But after I hit those bushes, I should have run into the xylophone because those hedges are no fun. It was like a thorn bush. It felt so bad. I got stuck down there for a little bit, my teammates ended up pulling me out, ripping my jersey open, but definitely it felt good to get my first one between the hedges."

All seven of White's previous career touchdowns had been on the road.

"Long" road pays off

It's been three years since offensive lineman Austin Long last played in an actual football game.

But when the Bulldog offense took the field for the first time in the third quarter, there was Long, who received his first action college action since a major back injury nearly cost him his career.

"Three years … it's been three years," said Long, who replaced Cordy Glenn at left tackle. "It was well worth the wait."

Making the afternoon even more special for Long was the fact he was able to share the moment with his younger brother Hunter, who lined up at right guard in place of Chris Burnette.

"That added a little extra to it," Austin Long said. "My dad and mom were in the stands watching, and for them to see me and my brother play on the line, I'm sure that was pretty cool."

The Long brothers weren't the only young offensive linemen who received extensive playing time in the second half. David Andrews (center), Hugh Williams (left guard) and Watts Dantzler (right tackle) also played in the second half, and were on the field together for Georgia's final two touchdowns.

Walsh, Bogotay alternate

After scuffling with his kicks for much of the season, Richt had Blair Walsh alternate kicking duties Saturday with fellow senior Brandon Bogotay.

"They told us (Friday) they were going to try it," Bogotay said. "It was great. I've been waiting for my chance. I'm just glad I was able to do well."

Although the Bulldogs didn't have to attempt any field goals, the two alternated on kickoffs - with each getting a touchback - and on extra points.

"As we all know Walsh had been struggling and Bogotay is a very talented guy. We felt we wanted to give him an opportunity to do what he can do and for Walsh to continue to play because think he's a great player," head coach Mark Richt said. "We just decided we would go into the game and alternate every kickoff, extra-point and field goal attempt."

Walsh was 5-for-5 on extra points with Bogotay converting all four that he tried.

"Kickoff was going to be alternating and if there was a PAT for Walsh and the next one happened to be a field goal, it was going to be Bogotay and the next time it was a PAT-field goal situation the other guys would go," Richt said. "I thought they both did great and we actually did that all week in practice. It was really a competitive situation and competition brings out the best in people."

Richt didn't rule out the two sharing the duties next week against Auburn, either.

"I don't know," Richt said. "We'll go back and look at it. It worked out pretty good today."

This and that

With his five touchdown passes, Murray has 23 for the season, three short of the single-season record set by Matt Stafford … Junior nose Johnathan Jenkins forced a fumble in the first quarter that junior strong safety Shawn Williams recovered on the Bulldog 42-yard line. Smith scored on his 56-yard scamper minutes later. Junior free safety Bacarri Rambo snagged his team-leading sixth interception of the year and the 11th of his career late in the second quarter and returned it 51 yards. The Bulldogs now have 12 interceptions on the year. … The Bulldogs escaped Saturday's game without any additional injuries. … Davis Webb, a senior from Marietta majoring in Finance and International Affairs, was named Homecoming king while Mel Baxter, a senior from Leawood, Kan., majoring in Communication Studies, was named the Homecoming queen.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]