Dogs' Curran briefly benched

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran did not play in the first quarter of Monday's Independence Bowl as punishment for missing a disciplinary running session.

Curran entered the game in the second quarter and by halftime was tied for the team lead in tackles with five. He finished with eight tackles, second most on the team.

Coach Mark Richt said after the game that Curran's benching was "not a huge deal at all, other than he had an early-morning run. And our policy is if a guy misses a run for something that might be relatively simple, then he will not get to play the first quarter of the game."

Curran said he was required to run because "I had a dentist appointment I went to when I should have been at practice and Coach Richt felt I didn't communicate too well. ... But it was nothing too bad."

Curran had started Georgia’s first 12 games and earlier this month was named the team’s MVP. He leads the SEC in tackles.

Not playing the first quarter of the bowl "was really tough," Curran said, "but at the same time it got me pumped up."

Not a money loser

Georgia won't lose money on unsold tickets to the Independence Bowl, executive associate athletics director Frank Crumley said.

Between tickets sold (7,000-plus) and tickets used as comps for players' families, UGA staff and band, Georgia wound up needing about 9,000 of its 12,000-ticket allotment, Crumley said.

He said the SEC will compensate a school for up to 3,000 unsold bowl tickets, meaning Georgia won't be on the hook for unused tickets.

Except for Georgia's 3,000 unused seats, 49,000-seat Independence Stadium appeared full on Monday. Overwhelmingly, the crowd was decked in A&M maroon.

After all expenses associated with the bowl -- travel, coaches' bonuses, etc. -- Georgia will come close to breaking even on the trip, Crumley said.

Looking ahead

Georgia's next football game will be on Sept. 4 against Louisiana-Lafayette in Sanford Stadium.

The rest of the Bulldogs' 2010 schedule: Sept. 11 at South Carolina; Sept. 18 vs. Arkansas; Sept. 25 at Mississippi State; Oct. 2 at Colorado; Oct. 9 vs. Tennessee; Oct. 16 vs. Vanderbilt; Oct. 23 at Kentucky; Oct. 30 vs. Florida in Jacksonville; Nov. 6 vs. Idaho State; Nov. 13 at Auburn; Nov. 27 vs. Georgia Tech.

Decision looms

Did Curran and Reshad Jones play their final game for UGA on Monday?

Both are juniors with one season of eligibility remaining, but both are seriously considering entering the 2010 NFL draft.

They must decide by Jan. 15, the NFL's deadline for eligible underclassmen to enter the draft.

Both said after Monday's game that they remain undecided.

"I'm in no hurry at all to make that decision," Curran said. "I wish I didn't have to make it."

Curran and Jones said they expect to  wait to make their decisions at least until after Richt hires a new defensive coordinator.

Curran has said he will weigh numerous factors but has noted that the biggest knock against his NFL potential -– his height, listed as 5 feet 11 –- won't change with another year of college.

Jones came close to entering the draft last year, deciding on the day of the deadline to remain in school.

Two other draft-eligible Georgia underclassmen, offensive tackle Clint Boling and defensive end Justin Houston, have said they are not considering entering the draft.

Etc.

Brandon Boykin's 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter gave him three TDs on kickoff returns this season, a UGA single-season record.

It also tied the SEC record for kickoff-return touchdowns in a season,  set by Tennessee's Willie Gault in 1980.

Boykin's return gave Georgia its first score Monday, immediately answering a Texas A&M touchdown and tying the game 7-7 late in the second quarter.

"I think that sparked us," Boykin said.

Boykin's two previous kickoff-return scores this season were 100-yarders.