Patrick Beless may have appeared in his final game for the University of Georgia.
At least he was perfect.
The 5-foot-9, 162-pound sophomore walk-on from Atlanta handled the place-kicking responsibilities for the Bulldogs during their opening games against Clemson and South Carolina. Beless made all 10 of his extra-point attempts and went 2-for-2 on field-goal tries while filling in for Marshall Morgan.
Morgan was suspended for the first two games as a result of his arrest this summer for boating under the influence, but he will reclaim the kicking and kickoff chores Sept. 21 when the Bulldogs play again against visiting North Texas. Kicking off has been handled the first two weeks by punter Collin Barber.
"I'm just happy to do whatever I can to make the team better," Beless said when asked about the months ahead. "Whether I'm on the scout team or going out in two weeks against North Texas, I want to do whatever they ask me to do so I can help the team in any way I can."
Georgia coach Mark Richt praised Beless for his fill-in work following Saturday's 41-30 win over South Carolina and again Sunday.
"He made every kick we asked him to make," Richt said. "If he didn't make every kick we asked him to make, we would have been in jeopardy of losing this last one. It would have been a different type of game, and as far as what his future holds, I don't know.
"Marshall has been kicking the ball extremely well. He made a mistake, and he has been disciplined for that. I'm not going to continue to punish him, but it's good to know that Patrick is capable and can enter in a pinch if we need him to."
Morgan, who is also a sophomore, set Georgia's single-season record last season with 63 extra points and made his last 37 attempts after missing four of his first 22. He was 8-of-14 on field-goal tries.
This season, Beless has been just as active, and his 16 points are second on the team behind tailback Todd Gurley's 24.
"It's tribute to the offense that they keep you so busy," Beless said. "We had a drive early in the fourth quarter [against South Carolina] that was like 50 seconds. You go from being on our 15-yard line to a touchdown. It's a big-play offense."
Beless made field goals of 22 and 37 yards against the Gamecocks, and he had an even shorter attempt the week before at Clemson. He never got foot on leather against the Tigers when a high snap from Nathan Theus was bobbled by holder Adam Erickson.
Though the botched attempt was a huge play in Georgia's opening loss, Beless isn't about to complain about his time in the limelight.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity and very grateful that I was able to do well," he said.
The bright side
Richt expected to learn a lot about his Bulldogs with opening tests against Clemson and South Carolina, and he has.
"There is no margin for error in big games, and you can't make certain mistakes and expect to win," Richt said. "We cut our penalties down tremendously as far as penalty yardage, and we won the turnover ratio. We tackled better. We blocked better, and we played with more intensity.
"I think playing that [Clemson] game and living through it helped us in the South Carolina game."
Odds and ends
Quarterback Aaron Murray, who threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns against the Gamecocks, has been named Walter Camp national offensive player of the week and SEC offensive player of the week. ... The North Texas game will have a 12:21 p.m. kickoff, and it will be televised on SEC TV (formerly the SEC Network). ... The Bulldogs will practice today for the first time since their win Saturday.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
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 ...
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