September 20, 2009

Cox enjoys record night for Dawgs

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Joe Cox said he had no idea that Georgia's offense would need to execute like it did Saturday in order to subdue Arkansas 52-41.

He's just glad that it did.

"We always know it's going to be 60 minutes, and whatever that means, that's what it means," Cox said. "If it 7-3 or 52-49, we know it's going to be a battle and you have to be prepared for any situation. I think everybody handled it well."

Cox certainly did.

One week after announcing that he has a chronic shoulder injury, the North Carolina native went out and enjoyed a career night, completing 18 of 26 passes for 375 yards and tying school record for most touchdown passes in a season with five.

"I was thrilled about Joe Cox's performance. He was extremely accurate. Our offensive linemen, of course, protected him well and our receivers were also getting open and making plays," head coach Mark Richt said. "But Joe really led us well. I think there might have been one call where he should have done one thing over another as far as his run checks, but his other checks were right on."

It was an unbelievable outing for the fifth-year senior.

Cox got things going with a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aron White on Georgia's first possession, before hooking up with A.J. Green in the second quarter for a 25-yard score.

Cox found Green again for one of three touchdown passes in the third quarter, which also saw the quarterback connect with Tavarres King from 50 yards and Orson Charles from 44 yards away.

"It's real important, especially the passes to our tight ends. They had special stuff planned for A.J. and they were rolling coverage toward him to his side and leaving the middle of the field open," Cox said. "Our tight ends were making plays and eventually they had to get out of that. That's a good sign for us. That's something that's real encouraging knowing that we've got guys running down the middle of the field who can go out and make plays."

Green led all receivers with seven grabs for 137 yards, with Mike Moore adding six for 91, King 2 for 64 and Charles 2 for 62.

"A.J.'s a playmaker. Everybody knows that and that's why they played a cover-2 to his side," Cox said. "We've got to find ways to get him the ball and we had a good game-plan. We caught them in a lot of the things we thought they would be in and our guys made plays. Not just A.J., but everybody."

Cox was particularly thrilled to see Charles and King find the endzone for the first time in their respective careers.

"My favorite was seeing Orson and Tavarres. Those were two guys, we knew they could make plays, but now other people know they can make plays as far as being a deep threat," Cox said. "We knew we were going to get that play (post route to Charles) at some point in the night and he took it to the house."

Cox said he wasn't surprised his receivers were able to get as open as they often appeared.

On the contrary:

"We've got guys who can run good route and I think everybody worked hard this week on knowing where to run and where the soft spots were going to be," Cox said. "It was just my job to give it to them and they made a lot of great plays."

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