Wiggins gives Georgia defense long-awaited impact play

Wiggins gives Georgia defense long-awaited impact play

October 20th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia Bulldogs UGA logo

Georgia Bulldogs UGA logo

NASHVILLE - Georgia has been lacking in impact defensive plays this season, but freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins provided one Saturday.

With Vanderbilt leading 14-10 midway through the second quarter and looking for more following consecutive 15-yard passes by Austyn Carta-Samuels, the Commodores lined up in an unconventional formation. Carta-Samuels threw to the left sideline, where Wiggins was waiting to snatch the ball and take it for a 39-yard touchdown.

"It was a play where I knew the screen or the quick pass was coming," Wiggins said. "I was the only one over there, and I just read the play before it happened."

That was just the second interception for the Bulldogs this season and the first since Tray Matthews had one in the third game against North Texas. Georgia added another in the third quarter when Corey Moore intercepted Vanderbilt backup Patton Robinette in the eventual 31-27 loss to the Commodores.

Georgia had not returned an interception for a touchdown since inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera had one in last year's rout of Florida Atlantic.

"Normally you want to get in position to make the tackle, but if you get a good enough jump on it, then go get it," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "Shaq is an extremely quick guy, and that was something we saw in his high school film -- just how quickly he can change direction and go from zero to full speed."

Murray's new mark

Georgia senior quarterback Aaron Murray became the SEC's career leader in total offense with a 7-yard completion to tight end Arthur Lynch late in the first quarter. Murray entered the day looking to surpass former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who amassed 12,232 yards with the Gators from 2006 to '09.

Murray threw for 114 yards and rushed for 10 yards and two touchdowns to increase his career yardage total to 12,327, not that a new SEC standard was on his mind.

"We just shot ourselves in the foot and didn't make enough plays," Murray said. "We didn't make enough plays and had a couple of costly turnovers at the end, and you can't win games like that."

Murray did not have a touchdown pass, so he remains three away from passing the SEC-record 114 scoring tosses Danny Wuerffel accumulated at Florida from 1993 to '96.

Another costly fumble

Bulldogs freshman tailback Brendan Douglas had a season-high 17 carries for a season-best 84 yards but for the second straight week lost a crucial fumble.

Douglas fumbled on Missouri's 6-yard line late in the first half of last week's loss, and his gaffe at Vanderbilt occurred at an even more inopportune time for the Bulldogs. With 1:59 left in the game, the 5-foot-11, 202-pounder from Augusta made a 7-yard reception out to Georgia's 43-yard line but was stripped by middle linebacker Jake Sealand.

Commodores cornerback Andre Hal recovered and made a 10-yard return to the 33.

"I just didn't hold on to it, I guess," a dejected Douglas said. "It was a good play by them, but I should have been holding on to it tighter. It's unacceptable to fumble."

Odds and ends

Georgia sophomore safety Josh Harvey-Clemons injured his right foot in the second quarter and did not return, and Bulldogs junior receiver Chris Conley injured his right ankle on the game's final play. ... Richt on Conley's injury: "He needed help getting off the field, and that's never a good sign." ... Cornerback Damian Swann and inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles apiece. ... The Bulldogs now lead the series 53-19-2, including a 24-8-1 mark in Nashville. ... Since Georgia's 48-3 whipping of Vanderbilt last season, the Bulldogs are 12-5 and the Commodores are 12-4.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.