Ealey does it

Ealey does it

Tailback's tough season takes good turn

October 17th, 2010 by David Paschall in Sports - College

ATHENS, Ga. - Washaun Ealey finally had something to smile about.

A season that began with a one-game suspension and continued with costly fumbles at South Carolina and Mississippi State took a turn for the much better Saturday afternoon for the Georgia tailback. Ealey, who said this past week that he to regain trust from his teammates, had a 58-yard run late in the first quarter and wound up amassing 123 yards on 17 carries during the 43-0 win over Vanderbilt.

"I felt like I earned some trust a little bit," Ealey said. "I've still got a lot more games to show them I have the potential to be the back that they want me to be."

Ealey's only other 100-yard game in college was last year at Georgia Tech, when he ran for 183. His 58-yarder Saturday, when he headed right before cutting back across the field, is a career-long and the longest by a Georgia tailback this season.

The longest runs by the Bulldogs entering Saturday were a 40-yard reverse by receiver A.J. Green and a 35-yard scramble by quarterback Aaron Murray.

Ealey was suspended for the opening win over Louisiana-Lafayette after being arrested Aug. 27 for hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving on a suspended license. He fumbled inside South Carolina's 5-yard line during Georgia's 17-6 loss on Sept. 11, and he fumbled into the end zone Sept. 25 in the 24-12 loss at Mississippi State.

His Oct. 2 trip to Colorado consisted of one carry, but Ealey became the top back again this past week when Caleb King earned a two-game suspension.

"He's played pretty darn good," coach Mark Richt said. "He's pass-protected pretty good most of the time, but he did have a couple of balls come out on him that hurt him and hurt us, but today he held on to it the whole game. When you watch him fundamentally, he wasn't being careless with the ball. He was holding it high and tight and squeezing it and doing the things you ask him to do.

"The ball just came out, but it didn't today, which was good."

Walsh sets standard

The final point of Georgia's win turned out to be historic.

Following Ealey's 1-yard touchdown run with 3:22 left in the third quarter, Blair Walsh kicked his fifth extra point. It was the 115th of his career out of 115 attempts, and it enabled him to surpass the 114 extra points Brandon Coutu compiled from 2004 to '07.

"Records are meant to be broken, so I'm happy, but I'm sure someone will come along and do the same," Walsh said. "I think it just shows the consistency in our snap and hold. If you think about these 115, there has been no catastrophe yet, and hopefully there won't be, and I have faith that there won't be.

"Those guys do a tremendous job of getting the ball there and down, and I've just got to put it through."

Walsh said the closest call on a PAT he could remember occurred against Tennessee when he was a freshman in 2008. He also made two field-goal attempts against the Commodores but pushed a 31-yard try right with 10:54 remaining, which left him 13-of-15 on attempts this season.

Odds and ends

Uga VIII became the new English Bulldog mascot 10 minutes before kickoff in a "passing of the collar" ceremony. ... Richt said after the game he was glad freshman tailback Ken Malcome didn't play and because the plan is to redshirt him. ... The Bulldogs had 105 rushing yards after the first quarter compared to minus-4 for Vandy. ... The touchdown runs by Carlton Thomas in the first and third quarters were the first of his career. ... Umpire Johnny Hibbett injured his left ankle midway through the third quarter and did not return.


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