1:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004
Sanford Stadium, ATHENS, GA
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia coach Mark Richt is not accustomed to winning with only 13 points.
Then again, Marshall coach Bob Pruett isn't used to getting only three points from his team.
The Bulldogs' defense made up for a lackluster offensive showing, holding Marshall to 160 yards and seven first downs in a 13-3 victory Saturday.
The only other time in Richt's four years that Georgia won with as few as 13 points was a 13-7 win over South Carolina in 2002. Pruett's Marshall attack had not been held to so few points since a 42-0 loss to Toledo in 2000.
More than one-third of the Thundering Herd's total yards came on their first play from scrimmage -- a 57-yard pass that set up a 33-yard field goal by Ian O'Connor. Otherwise, Georgia's defense was dominant, holding Marshall to 37 yards rushing.
"They have a great defense," Pruett said. "We set out three to four years ago to schedule the best teams in the country, and Georgia is definitely one of those teams."
Marshall (0-3) has lost back-to-back games against top 10 teams and has lost three straight games for the first time in Pruett's nine seasons. Marshall lost to Ohio State (No. 7 ESPN/USAToday; No. 9 AP) 24-21 last week.
No. 3 Georgia sacked Stan Hill three times and pressured the senior into rushing other incompletions. Earl Charles managed only 33 yards rushing on 13 carries.
"Georgia's defense looked really good," said Hill, who completed 11 of 23 passes for 123 yards. "They are one of the best in the nation. ... Georgia probably has the best front four in the nation. It is hard when they drop seven and their front four still gets pressure on you."
The defense kept Georgia (3-0) undefeated despite being held to one touchdown.
"I think we'll have to put a few more points on the board the next time we play," said Richt of Georgia's Oct. 2 home game against No. 5 LSU.
With David Greene completing 17 of 30 passes for 209 yards and freshman Thomas Brown rushing for 81 yards with a strong second half, Georgia controlled the clock with 18 first downs. But the Bulldogs netted only 13 yards rushing in the first half and managed only a field goal in the second half.
"I'm not bothered, really," Richt said. "I'm really pleased with the victory, and I'm very pleased with how the defense played."
Starting tailback Tyson Browning fumbled twice in the third quarter, including one on a punt return that Georgia recovered. Browning's other fumble, after a catch on Georgia's first possession of the second half, was recovered by Marshall's Chris Royal at the Georgia 11.
After taking the ball at the 11, three runs by Charles set up Marshall's fourth-and-1 play at the 2. Trailing 10-3, Marshall kept its offense on the field instead of going for the field goal. Under pressure, Hill rolled to his right and threw the ball at receiver Brad Bates' feet, ending the drive.
Browning was held to 21 yards rushing on seven carries. Top backup Michael Cooper, who scored the game's only touchdown in the first quarter, suffered a bruised thigh and missed most of the second half.
Brown, surprisingly tough for a 5-foot-8, 185-pound back, started in place of Danny Ware, who suffered a bruised lung in last week's 20-16 win at South Carolina but could return against LSU.
Georgia led 10-3 at halftime thanks to an 11-play, 67-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter.
Cooper vaulted over the line for 3 yards on a fourth-and-1 play from the Marshall 17 to keep the drive alive. Cooper scored from the 2 following a 12-yard pass from Greene to Fred Gibson.
Marshall surprised Georgia when Hill faked a handoff and passed to an open Emanuel Spann for 57 yards on the Herd's first play from scrimmage.
A pass interference call against Georgia cornerback Tim Jennings two plays later pushed Marshall to the 6-yard line, but Hill was sacked on third down, leading to the field goal by O'Connor.
Georgia's Andy Bailey kicked a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter for a 10-3 lead and added a 29-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||1-12||3-14|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||1-2|
|FG||11:37||IAN O'CONNOR 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 64 yards.
|TD||2:35||MICHAEL COOPER 2 YD RUN (ANDY BAILEY KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 67 yards.
|FG||2:45||ANDY BAILEY 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 82 yards.
|FG||12:15||ANDY BAILEY 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 60 yards.