Clutch catches for Georgia Bulldogs

Clutch catches for Georgia Bulldogs

October 30th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - College

JACKSONVILLE -- Georgia redshirt freshman receiver Michael Bennett looked around early Saturday afternoon and couldn't find many other receivers.

Leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell didn't make the trip because of a sore hamstring. Israel Troupe didn't travel because of a sore knee, and Rantavious Wooten continues to be out with a concussion.

"We had seven guys who traveled -- four white guys and three black guys," Bennett said smiling. "It was pretty crazy. They said that has never happened before at Georgia, or at least since like the '50s or '60s."

Six of Georgia's receivers who ventured to EverBank Field played in the 24-20 victory over Florida, and five made receptions. Included on that list was Rhett McGowan, a redshirt sophomore walk-on out of Calhoun High School.

An 11-yard reception late in the third quarter was the second career catch for McGowan, whose first occurred last season against Idaho State.

"Rhett and I were talking about it this morning," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "He was hoping he could get out there, and I told him I was going to throw it to him and that he better be ready. I was happy for him.

"Today was about guys stepping up and making plays and playing more snaps than they're used to. We thought Chris Conley was going to redshirt before the season, and he makes a catch tonight to seal the victory."

Tavarres King and Marlon Brown were the starting receivers, with King amassing three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown and Brown adding two for 20. Conley had three catches for 38 yards, while Bennett had two for 25 with a score.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo could not have been prouder of the group.

"If we put it in those guys' vicinity tonight, they made the catch," Bobo said. "We didn't do a good job getting it in their vicinity all the time, but when we did, they came through. It just kind of shows the heart of these guys going up against a very good defense."

The two most important catches of the night were by Bennett and King.

With 1:28 left in the first half, Bennett caught a 20-yard touchdown throw over freshman safety De'Ante Saunders on fourth-and-5. The touchdown enabled Georgia to pull within 17-10 and gave the Bulldogs some momentum at halftime.

"I wasn't aware that it was fourth down, but we really did need a touchdown," Bennett said. "We were tired of settling for three, and I was really fortunate to come down with the ball."

The touchdown to King occurred with six minutes left in the third quarter, and it was from 14 yards out on a fourth-and-6. King went over Jaylen Watkins for his score, which tied the game 17-17.

"I shot a double move at him and he didn't even bite on it," King said. "Murray just put it in the only spot you could put it in."

Said Murray: "Those were two great play calls by Coach Bobo, knowing what defenses they were going to come out in. Those were also two of the best catches I've ever seen in my life."