It wasn't that long ago when receiver Marlon Brown signed with Georgia, but there was a moment before last Saturday's game at Vanderbilt that put Brown's college career into perspective.
"During pregame warmups, [fullback] Bruce Figgins told me, 'This is your last time playing in Tennessee,'" Brown said. "I was like, 'I hadn't thought of that, but you're exactly right.' So I just came out focused and wanting to make plays."
Make plays he did, as Brown had four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia's 33-28 escape of the Commodores. The 6-foot-5, 222-pound junior from Memphis scored the decisive touchdown on a 75-yard pass from Aaron Murray that put the Bulldogs up 33-21 with 13:57 remaining.
Brown's 121 yards nearly matched the 133 yards he amassed in 12 games last season, when his highlights were a 31-yard reception at South Carolina and an 8-yard touchdown catch at Colorado. He had two catches for 15 yards as a freshman two years ago, both in a 45-19 loss at Tennessee.
The former Parade All-American from Harding Academy was hoping to break through this year and had an excellent August, but an ankle injury forced him to miss games last month against Coastal Carolina and Ole Miss. He entered last week's game with just five catches for 40 yards.
"I knew Marlon was going to have a great year heading into the season," Murray said. "He had a great offseason, and it was unfortunate that he hurt his ankle early on. He's still not at 100 percent. I'm hoping these next two weeks could get him to 100 percent."
Said coach Mark Richt: "Any time you have success like that, it breeds confidence, not only in that player but in your quarterback, your teammates and your coaches. I'm happy for Marlon, and I'm not surprised."
Brown, whose 17.9-yard average leads all Georgia receivers with more than two catches, stepped up in the absence of Malcolm Mitchell, who pulled his hamstring on a 71-yard reception at Tennessee. Mitchell is expected back for next week's game against Florida, and he'll be joined by a veteran who finally got that performance he wanted.
"I've been waiting a while for this, going into a game and getting some deep-ball opportunities," Brown said. "They finally came, and I made them."
And in Tennessee for a final time, provided the Bulldogs stay above the Music City Bowl and the Liberty Bowl in the postseason pecking chain.
Odds and ends
SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom said Tuesday that the league office was continuing to gather information about the confrontation between Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vandy head coach James Franklin. ... Trinton Sturdivant, who has suffered three ACL tears, told the Red & Black student newspaper that he wants to return for a sixth year and switch to tight end. ... Outside linebacker Ray Drew shared SEC freshman of the week honors after tallying 2.5 tackles for loss at Vandy and forcing a fumble that he recovered. ... The Bulldogs practiced Tuesday for a little more than an hour before the workout was halted by rain.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...