ATHENS, Ga. — The interim tag has been lifted.
"Russ," the 8-year-old half-brother of Uga VII, was introduced before Saturday night's game against Florida Atlantic as Georgia's official mascot. Georgia's continuous line of English Bulldog mascots extends 56 years, and Bulldogs coach Mark Richt quickly learned of its significance about a decade ago when on a trip to Washington, D.C., with university president Michael Adams and former athletic director Vince Dooley.
"When we got there, there were lines forming to take pictures with me and Coach Dooley and President Adams," Richt said. "There was a massive crowd around Uga. It was 10-to-1, all of us put together versus Uga. Uga is big. He's been on the cover of Sports Illustrated."
Russ served as the interim mascot after the death of Uga VII in November 2009, filling in for the final two games of that season and the first six of the 2010 season. Uga VIII took over in the middle of the '10 season, but Russ was needed again when an illness prevented Uga VIII from attending the 2010 Liberty Bowl.
Uga VIII died in February 2011, and Russ remained interim mascot for all of last season.
"I think Russ has earned his stripes, and I think Russ is ready," Richt said. "He had a good offseason, too, from what I heard."
Including Saturday night's rout of Florida Atlantic, the Bulldogs are 17-9 with Russ roaming the sideline.
Georgia freshman tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley went over the 100-yard mark on consecutive carries late in the third quarter. Gurley wound up with 111 yards and a touchdown on 10 runs, while Marshall netted 104 yards and a score on his 10.
It was the second 100-yard game for Gurley, who had 100 yards on eight carries in the 45-23 opening win over Buffalo.
The Bulldogs produced two 100-yard rushers for the first time since last season's win over Auburn, when Isaiah Crowell had 132 and Carlton Thomas 127. The last time two freshmen went over 100 yards was against Vanderbilt in 2004, when Danny Ware had 127 and Thomas Brown added 122.
Odds and ends
Freshman outside linebacker Josh Dawson had a tackle for loss during Florida Atlantic's first drive of the game; it was his first tackle for the Bulldogs. ... Junior flanker Rantavious Wooten made his first start since 2009 and had a 24-yard run on a reverse on Georgia's first play from scrimmage. ... Freshman Jordan Jenkins got the start for Jarvis Jones. ... Junior guard Dallas Lee injured his left ankle in the second quarter and didn't return. ... Live "look-ins" on the Florida-Tennessee game were provided on Sanford's video screen, and Bulldogs fans cheered Vols scores and booed scores by the Gators. ... According to the Wall Street Journal, Georgia generated $52.9 million football revenue during the 2010-11 fiscal year, while Florida Atlantic generated $1.6 million.
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 ...