The pressure was the culmination of a week of exercises during practice in which Drew said the defense worked on 5-yard bursts timed to the snapping of the ball. It was training so that when the defense needed to — such as the play that led to the recovered fumble — it could still come off the ball as the aggressors.
On the key play, Drew said every linemen and linebacker filled their gap so that “everything fit perfectly.” All Dawson needed to do was fall on the ball after the fumble, which Hurd said was the result of a bad exchange.
“We just came out in the second half with the mindset that we had to make something happen, and we did,” Dawson said.
Jenkins said the Bulldogs blitzed 20 percent more in the second half than in the first half.
“If I was a quarterback, I’d hate getting off the ground and trying to run another play,” he said.
The defense was burned a couple of times. Worley found Alton Howard for a 31-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and was successful on the subsequent 2-point conversion when Georgia’s blitzers didn’t get to him in time.
But the defense also took the field after two interceptions and didn’t give up any points, something that coach Mark Richt highlighted.
“We had two turnovers that could have turned into points, but they didn’t,” Richt said. “When you can stop the bleeding after turnovers, it’s huge. The defense did a great job of keeping those from becoming a bad situation.”