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UGA “Record Watches” Despite Season of Setbacks

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During the upcoming Liberty Bowl, pay attention to the performances by ISAIAH McKENZIE, JACOB EASON, DOMINICK SANDERS, and even GREYSON LAMBERT as those Bulldogs, plus several others, will be on "record watch."

Despite what seems like a slew of disappointments suffered this season by the Georgia football team, perhaps some solace is that the Bulldogs are going bowling for the 20th consecutive campaign, which is the third-longest active postseason streak, and the seventh-longest in the history of college football. What’s more—and I give credit to my friend, Aaron, for drawing this to my attention—Georgia has played in 51 consecutive bowl games where it has scored. In other words, the Bulldogs have never been held scoreless in post-season play, which is the sport’s all-time longest bowl streak,whereby Georgia hopes to extend to 52 games come December 30.

Speaking of the Liberty Bowl, with the contest versus the Horned Frogs looming, I discovered a season or career school record/feat which could be in jeopardy of being surpassed/matched for each of the main school-record categories. For what they’re worth, especially considering a few of these are rather obscure to say the least, Georgia’s top individual “record watches” for the Liberty Bowl against TCU:

RUSHING: As mentioned in an article of mine last week, Nick Chubb only needs 12 rushing yards against the Horned Frogs to total 1,000 for the year whereupon, joining Herschel Walker (1980-1982) and Knowshon Moreno (2007-2008), he’d become only the third Bulldog in history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in more than one season.

PASSING: Already having broken the touchdown passes mark for newcomers, quarterback Jacob Eason needs to throw for 219 yards to break Georgia’s record for most passing yardage by a true freshman.

UGA's True Freshmen to Pass for 1,000+ Yards
Passing Yards True Frosh (Season) Comp.-Att. TD/Int

2,484

Quincy Carter (1998)

176-290

12/9

2,266

Jacob Eason (2016)

192-349

14/8

1,984

Eric Zeier (1991)

159-286

7/4

1,749

Matthew Stafford (2006)

135-256

7/13

1,005

Johnny Cook (1943)

73-157

8/20

RECEIVING: I mentioned the obscure… Eason’s (and the team’s) 14 touchdown passes were completed to Isaiah McKenzie (7), Isaac Nauta (3), Riley Ridley (2), Christian Payne (1), and Nick Chubb (1). If someone other than the aforementioned does not catch a touchdown pass in the Liberty Bowl, Georgia’s five different players to make scoring receptions in a season would be a school-low since only four Bulldogs caught touchdowns in 1995 (when the team passed for a total of just 10 scores). Notably, in the 11 previous seasons from 2005 through 2015, Georgia averaged about 10 different receivers annually who made touchdown grabs.

RETURNS: Currently, Isaiah McKenzie is averaging 11.6 (21-244) yards per punt return. If he can raise that average to 12.0 yards or more (1 return for 20+ yards, 2 returns for 32+ yards, 3 returns for 44+ yards, etc.), he’ll become the first—out of all the great punt returners in Georgia history—to lead the team in punt returns for three consecutive seasons while averaging at least 12.0 yards per return annually.

KICKING: Before researching this category, I had forgotten all of the great company in the annals of UGA football Rodrigo Blankenship joined this season as a freshman placekicker. Still, and although ranking first is likely out of the question, with an excellent kicking performance against TCU, he could very well reach second at Georgia for most field goals made by a freshman and, barring disaster, should remain with the second-best field-goal percentage by a freshman at the school.


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UGA's Freshmen to make 10+ Field Goals
Field Goals Made Freshman (Season) FGs Attempted FG Pct.

19

Kevin Butler (1981)

26

.731

15

Blair Walsh (2008)

23

.652

14

Andy Bailey (2004)

20

.700

13

Rodrigo Blankenship (2016)

16

.813

13

Billy Bennett (2000)

14

.929

12

Kanon Parkman (1991)

17

.706

12

Steve Crumley (1985)

18

.667

10

Rex Robinson (1977)

20

.500

INTERCEPTIONS: One more errant pass corralled by Dominick Sanders would give him 13 picks for a career, tying him with a host of others—seven to be exact—for fifth-most interceptions in Georgia history. However, if Sanders happens to return the interception for 20 yards or more, he’ll break the great Jake Scott’s (1967-1968) career school record of 315 interception return yards.

HONORABLE MENTION: Considering the amount of ridicule he received a year ago, and the lack of playing time this season, this one might be my favorite “record watch,” so I deem it an honorable mention: Nevertheless, with only two interceptions thrown in 256 passes in 2015, and none in 12 attempts this season, the 1:134 career interception-to-pass-attempt ratio belonging to Greyson Lambert is not only a school record, but an SEC record as well (min. 200 pass attempts). In fact, Lambert is so out in front of the conference’s No. 2 and No. 3 in the category—legends A.J. McCarron (1:86.3) and Tim Tebow (1:62.2)—he could attempt one pass against TCU and it be intercepted, yet he would still remain the SEC’s all-time leader in interception evasion.

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