Freshman linebacker Jordan Jenkins had an inkling he might start Saturday night's game against visiting FAU.
But it wasn't until he arrived at Sanford Stadium with the rest of his teammates that he was finally given the word.
"He (defensive coordinator Todd Grantham) didn't tell me until Saturday, although he sent me a text Friday to tell me that I'd better get ready," Jenkins said. "I never thought I'd start as a freshman. I never thought I'd start until my sophomore year. I was definitely excited and it shocked me. I was thinking midweek I might start, but I didn't want to think of it and get let down."
Jenkins got the nod in place of teammate and linebacker mentor Jarvis Jones, who was held out by coaches to rest his sore hamstring.
He responded by collecting three tackles.
"I don't think I did too well. I've definitely got to play the cut block better than I did," he said. "This week, I know I've got to work hard and perform better."
Jenkins laughed that Jones stayed on his case throughout the game.
"He was chewing me out a couple of times. He was telling me I needed to get my rush better and play the cut blocks better," he said. "He doesn't hold back."
But Jenkins wasn't complaining.
"No other Saturday will compare to this," said Jenkins, who is one of eight first-time starters for the Bulldogs this season, including four true freshmen.
Also of note, junior flanker Rantavious Wooten also started his first game since 2009 and fourth overall.
Dawgs lose Lee to ankle injury
The Bulldogs' offensive line suffered a hit in the second quarter when starting left guard Dallas Lee went out with a sprained ankle.
With Lee out, sophomore junior college transfer Mark Beard slid over to left tackle with Kenarious Gates moving over to left guard.
"He seemed to handle it pretty good on the edge," head coach Mark Richt said. "The first thing you've got to look at is can the guy pass protect. If the guy is athletic enough to pass protect then he's got a chance to play tackle. I didn't watch the film, but I didn't see Murray get knocked around a lot."
• Backup offensive lineman Watts Dantzler sat out for the second straight game to rest his sprained left ankle.
• Safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree sat out their third straight game with a suspension.
"We'll just have to see," said Richt, when asked if the pair will be back for next week's game against Vanderbilt.
Commings, Vasser back in action
Defensive back Sanders Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser both returned to action after their respective two-game suspensions.
Commings opened the contest at cornerback, finishing with four tackles while Vasser came through with seven, including the first big defensive play of the game he forced the game's first turnover.
After the Owls picked up a pair of quick first downs on their opening possession, Vasser knocked the ball loose from running back Damian Fortner.
The Bulldogs went on to turn the miscue into points, driving 71 yards before scoring on Aaron Murray's 1-yard run.
Vanderbilt next on the docket
Richt says don't worry. His Bulldogs will be ready for SEC rival Vanderbilt when the Commodores come to Sanford Stadium for next Saturday night's conference showdown (7:45, ESPN2).
"I know we'll be motivated for that game," Richt said. "We'll be ready."
Georgia beat the Commodores 33-28 last year in Nashville, but it was the game's ending which drew so much attention following the mid-field "discussion" between Grantham and Vandy head coach James Franklin.
"They're a really good team and we have a lot of respect for them," Richt said. "We know we better be ready."
This and that
Murray connected with junior tight Arthur Lynch for a 36-yard touchdown early in the third period. This was Lynch's first career touchdown.
Sophomore Malcolm Mitchell saw his first action on offense this year, hauling in a 49-yard pass from Murray.
Redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley made his first career catch, a reception that the former track star turned into a 43-yard gain from backup Christian LeMay.
Junior Kwame Geathers blocked the first extra point for the Bulldogs since Shawn Williams had one against Tennessee in 2011.
Speaking of Williams, the senior led the team with a career-high 12 tackles and while senior inside linebacker Michael Gilliard had nine stops.