12:30 PM ET, September 2, 2006
Sanford Stadium, ATHENS, GA
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Hey Mikey, what's with the showboating?
In Georgia's 48-12 win Saturday over Western Kentucky -- which was as easy as expected although it did nothing to resolve the Bulldogs' quarterback situation -- Mikey Henderson provided some excitement.
Henderson got a little ahead of himself on a 64-yard punt return in the first quarter and started to celebrate inside the 5, holding the ball high in his left hand. The problem was the ball came loose before he crossed the goal line and bounced through the end zone for a touchback.
Just over a minute later, Henderson got another chance returning punts and broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown that set the pace for No. 15 Georgia's season opener.
"I thought I was in but something in the back of my mind was saying that maybe I wasn't in, so I looked for the ball," said Henderson, who was returning punts for the first time in his career.
When officials began their long review of his blunder, Henderson didn't even bother looking at the Sanford Stadium video board.
"I couldn't look," he said. "When they said it was being reviewed, I just put my head down."
After the play was ruled a touchback, giving Western Kentucky possession at the 20, Henderson approached coach Mark Richt, not to beg forgiveness but to let the coach know his hamstring felt tight.
Then Henderson asked to have another chance.
"I didn't want that to be my last play," Henderson said. "He didn't want me to get hurt, but I wanted to go back in there and get another shot at it."
He didn't have to wait long.
Western Kentucky's Tanner Siewert had to punt to Henderson again, and this time Henderson held the ball in both hands and dove into the end zone.
"I wasn't thinking touchdown, I just wanted to go back in there," Henderson said.
Richt only reluctantly provided the second chance.
"I was getting ready to yank him, not because of his hamstring but because of what happened," Richt said.
After the touchdown, Henderson was held out the rest of the game "not because of his antics, but because of his hamstring," Richt said.
New Georgia starting quarterback Joe Tereshinski's also had an uneven day, but unlike Henderson, it may not be so easy to brush off the Bulldogs.
Joe T threw for 90 yards and a touchdown before highly touted freshman Matthew Stafford led two fourth-quarter drives.
Tereshinski finished 7-of-17, including a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mario Raley for a 14-0 lead.
Joe Cox, the top backup, entered the game in the second quarter with Georgia leading 24-0 and completed 2-of-3 passes for 29 yards with an interception.
Tereshinski returned in the third quarter before Stafford excited fans in the final period, possibly earning a promotion to second string.
Tereshinski had several passes dropped, including a possible TD pass to tight end Martrez Milner early in the third quarter. Tereshinski, a senior, made his first and only start last season in a loss to Florida.
"Right now Joe T. is definitely No. 1 and we'll just compete to see who is No. 2," Richt said.
On Stafford's first possession, Danny Ware ran 40 yards for a touchdown and a 41-7 lead. Ware had five carries for 63 yards.
Stafford also directed a 65-yard touchdown drive, completing three straight passes, including a 13-yard scoring pass to tight end Coleman Watson with one minute left. Stafford finished 3-of-5 for 40 yards and one touchdown.
Richt said the decision to play Stafford was made before the game.
"I felt pretty comfortable," Stafford said. "It was awesome to go out there and have the fans cheer me like that."
The quarterback situation likely will be a hot topic again as Georgia prepares for its Southeastern Conference opener at South Carolina next Saturday.
"The depth chart is not really set in stone right now, so you've got to look for your opportunities," Tereshinski said. "I'm ready for it to be set."
After Tereshinski's TD pass, Brandon Coutu kicked a 37-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead. Kregg Lumpkin and Thomas Brown each had 2-yard scoring runs for the Bulldogs in the second quarter for a 31-0 lead.
Western Kentucky's Justin Haddix was 12-for-27 for 126 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
"Forty-eight points is 48 points and we are not happy with that," Hilltoppers coach David Elson said. "We did play hard and were concerned with their running backs. You won't find a better trio of running backs than what Georgia has."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Joe Tereshinski hooked up with Mario Raley to put Georgia up 14-0 in the first quarter.
Gameball goes to... Georgia's defense. The Dawgs held Western Kentucky to 68 yards on 35 carries, for an average of 1.9 yards per carry.
Stat of the game... 7-for-17: Starter Tereshinski went 7-for-17 and passed for 90 yards and one TD. The QB debate is far from over.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-18||4-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||2-2|
|TD||9:28||MIKEY HENDERSON 67 YD PUNT RETURN (BRANDON COUTU KICK)||0||7|
|TD||7:56||MARIO RALEY 18 YD PASS FROM JOE TERESHINSKI III (BRANDON COUTU KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 18 yards.
|FG||3:32||BRANDON COUTU 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 26 yards.
|TD||13:20||KREGG LUMPKIN 2 YD RUN (BRANDON COUTU KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 46 yards.
|TD||7:08||THOMAS BROWN 2 YD RUN (BRANDON COUTU KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 46 yards.
|TD||0:37||CURTIS HAMILTON 17 YD PASS FROM JUSTIN HADDIX (CHRIS JAMES KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||9:22||BRANDON COUTU 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 44 yards.
|TD||14:12||DANNY WARE 41 YD RUN (BRANDON COUTU KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 45 yards.
|FG||3:32||CHRIS JAMES 45 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 39 yards.
|TD||1:00||COLEMAN WATSON 13 YD PASS FROM MATTHEW STAFFORD (BRANDON COUTU KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 65 yards.