BOULDER, Colo. -- The vibes enveloping the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs did not dissipate in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on Saturday night.
But at least A.J. Green provided some badly needed hope.
Green, the marvelous UGA wide receiver forced to cool his jets for the Bulldogs’ first four games because of a misguided jersey-selling adventure, returned to the lineup against Colorado and almost immediately stamped his indelible imprint on the game
Having performed his NCAA penance, Green made his presence felt quickly. He scored both of the Bulldogs’ first-half touchdowns, one on a magnificent catch that belonged under a circus big top, in Georgia’s 29-27 loss to the Buffaloes.
Green’s unwanted chilling-out period through the entirety of September seemed interminable not just to him. The Bulldogs’ offense missed him badly during the three-game SEC losing run, coordinator Mike Bobo’s sputtering unit clearly lacking the game-breaking ability of a receiver many feel is headed for NFL stardom.
Georgia’s offense came into the game hurting in a big way, failing to capitalize on numerous red-zone excursions during its three-game offensive funk.
Saturday night, Green finally was able to run his dangerous, exhilarating routes against a real enemy. The angular junior from South Carolina had looked consistently sharp during the past two months of practice. He wasted little time re-establishing his excellence once he got the chance to play for keeps.
On UGA’s third possession of the game, Green got into the act. His first touch of the game came three minutes into the second quarter, Bobo calling his number on a reverse.
Green took the handoff and showed the speed that should provide a nice living once he starts playing in the NFL, scooting around the left corner and then cutting back all the way for 40 yards to the Colorado 40.
Then, facing a third-and-goal at the Colorado 3, quarterback Aaron Murray went to Green again and he came through with a highlight-reel catch. Working against Colorado's Jalil Brown, one of the top cornerbacks in the Big 12, Green fought off Brown and then leaped and reached high with his left hand. When he pulled the ball, one-armed, into his chest with an acrobatic, falling catch on the right sideline of the end zone, UGA was within a score of Colorado.
On Georgia's next possession, after a nice Brandon Smith punt return, Green lined up wide right and beat the Buffaloes’ secondary down the middle of the field, catching Murray’s perfect throw in stride at the goal line for a 39-yard scoring catch and Georgia's first lead.
Suddenly, an offense that looked inept for three weeks had its mojo back. All it needed to infect defenses was a large dose of A.J. Green.
Halftime didn’t slow Green, either. UGA opened the second half with a drive highlighted by his 50-yard reception down the right sideline. Later that possession, Colorado interfered with Green in the end zone to set up a first-and-goal at the Colorado 4, and soon Georgia led 24-14.
Green then disappeared for a stretch of two possessions, during which he reportedly suffered from cramps. By the time Colorado wrested back the lead at 29-24 late in the third quarter, Green was back in the lineup.
But then running back Caleb King fumbled the ball away with 1:55 left in the game, and Green’s performance was wasted.