Walsh gets 56-yarder, recovery

Walsh gets 56-yarder, recovery

September 18th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - College

ATHENS, Ga. -- In any other game, Blair Walsh's favorite play Saturday would have been his first career fumble recovery.

Georgia's 5-foot-10, 192-pound senior kicker set up a short field for the Bulldogs at the 4:41 mark of the third quarter when he fell on a Coastal Carolina fumble on a kickoff return. On the ensuing play, a 33-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Hutson Mason to tight end Orson Charles gave the Bulldogs a 52-0 lead in their eventual 59-0 whitewash.

"I'm the last guy in line, and their guy got speared and the ball came out," Walsh said. "I was at the right place at the right time and jumped on it and got crushed by a couple of guys."

Walsh had long been beaming by that point, because 70 seconds into the third quarter, he drilled a career-long 56-yard field goal that made it 38-0. That topped his previous long of 53, and it was the longest for the Bulldogs since Brandon Coutu's 58-yarder against Louisiana-Monroe in 2005.

In career attempts from 50 yards or longer, Walsh improved to 9-of-14.

"The 56-yarder was definitely my favorite," he said. "The nice thing was that Coach [Mark] Richt was really confident about it. He just told me to go out there and make it."

Said Richt: "He was struggling a little bit with his kickoffs for some reasons and wasn't himself, but after drilling that one, his next couple of kickoffs were phenomenal."

Walsh also tallied eight extra points to give him 152 for his career, which broke Billy Bennett's school mark of 148 from 2000 to '03.

Closer to the action

After starting the first two games at strong safety, junior Shawn Williams moved to inside linebacker and started alongside Michael Gilliard, who earned his first career start. Alec Ogletree and Christian Robinson are normally the inside linebackers, but both missed Saturday with foot injuries and are out next week as well.

Gilliard led the team with eight tackles and two tackles for loss, while Williams had three stops, including one for lost yardage.

"Shawn is just a mature guy who is a very physical safety and has spun down into the running game before," Richt said. "He had a tremendous attitude about it and embraced it, and it allowed us to play a pretty fast defense that had three safeties and three corners, basically, when we got into nickel."

Williams admitted he needs to do a better job of getting off blocks but said he would "be cool" playing linebacker again this week.

Odds and ends

Senior cornerback Brandon Boykin displayed his versatility again with two catches for 14 yards, four tackles, two tackles for loss and a 47-yard kickoff return. ... Sitting out were defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (back), receiver Marlon Brown (ankle) and tailback Richard Samuel (lower leg). ... Sophomore outside linebacker T.J. Stripling played for the first time since injuring his leg last year at Colorado.