Kicker Walsh has rough day despite Georgia win

Kicker Walsh has rough day despite Georgia win

September 25th, 2011 by Staff Report in Sports - College

Georgia senior kicker Blair Walsh was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award as a sophomore and a semifinalist last year, but he is likely out of the running this season after missing three field-goal attempts during Saturday's 27-13 win at Ole Miss.

Walsh's misses occurred from 48 yards out in the third quarter, 48 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter and from 35 yards out with 6:04 remaining. He made a 43-yarder with 4:16 left to improve to 5-for-10 on the season, but his five misses equal the number of failed attempts he had the last two seasons.

"If we hadn't had another attempt the rest of the game, it still wouldn't have shaken my confidence in him," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "He is a good player and is one of the best in America. He went through a rough spell, but he's our guy."

Walsh went 20-of-22 on field-goal attempts in '09 and made 20 of 23 last year.

Crowell's Busy Day

Isaiah Crowell has the ability, and the endurance, too.

After being short of breath the past two weeks because of injured ribs, Georgia's freshman tailback showcased some durability against the Rebels by rushing 30 times for 147 yards. His carries were the most by a Bulldog since Knowshon Moreno rushed 33 times during the 2007 win over Florida.

Crowell, who is 2-for-2 in 100-yard rushing performances against SEC opposition after amassing 118 against South Carolina, spearheaded a ground attack that racked up 207 yards on 56 attempts. The only time Georgia has rushed more times under Richt occurred in the 51-7 whipping of Georgia Tech in 2002, when the Bulldogs had 57 carries.

Backup tailbacks Carlton Thomas and Richard Samuel combined Saturday for 15 carries and 77 yards.

New Standards

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray completed 17 of 26 passes for 268 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, and he also notched his longest completion and longest drive.

Murray set a career-best throw when he connected with Malcolm Mitchell for 69 yards during a 99-yard second-quarter drive that put the Bulldogs up 17-0. The distance exceeded the 66-yard scoring combination Murray and Kris Durham produced last year against Georgia Tech.

The pass to Mitchell set up a 2-yard touchdown toss from Murray to tight end Orson Charles that culminated Georgia's first 99-yard drive since the 2008 season against Central Michigan.

"We moved the ball pretty much every possession, going up and down the field," Murray said.

Good As Advertised

Saturday's expected punting showdown between Georgia's Drew Butler and Ole Miss's Tyler Campbell did not disappoint, though each benefited from some fortuitous rolls. Butler punted four times for a 55.2-yard average with a long of 59, while Campbell averaged 50.8 yards on nine punts with a long of 57.

Butler's average matched the third-highest single-game total in Georgia history, equaling his showing at Arkansas in 2009. The son of former Bulldogs kicker Kevin Butler led the nation in punting two years ago (48.1-yard average), and Campbell earned that distinction last year (46.4).

Odds And Ends

Georgia has now won nine straight games against the Rebels, its longest active streak against an SEC foe, and leads the series 31-12-1. ... Junior free safety Bacarri Rambo had two interceptions, becoming the first Bulldogs player to do that since Darryl Gamble tied an NCAA record with two interception returns for a score by a linebacker against LSU in Baton Rouge in 2008. ... The 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by the Rebels' Nickolas Brassell in the final minute of the second quarter was the first score off a punt return against the Bulldogs since Marvin Jackson of Arkansas in 2001. ... Freshman receiver Chris Conley, who enrolled in January, played for the first time in his career during the second quarter. ... Junior inside linebacker Mike Gilliard led the Bulldogs with seven tackles, while freshman inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera added six. ... Junior Shawn Williams returned to strong safety, which allowed Herrera to make his second start of the season.