UGA’s Rodrigo Blankenship reveals cause of breakdown vs. South Carolina

December 29, 2019 New Orleans: Georgia place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship takes questions from the media during the Georgia Offense Press Conference for the Sugar Bowl against Baylor on Sunday, December 29, 2019, in New Orleans.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
December 29, 2019 New Orleans: Georgia place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship takes questions from the media during the Georgia Offense Press Conference for the Sugar Bowl against Baylor on Sunday, December 29, 2019, in New Orleans. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Rodrigo Blankenship will drink an orange Powerade before Wednesday night’s game. You can be assured of that.

He didn’t before the South Carolina game and, well, we all know what happened then.

Notoriously superstitious about his routines and rituals, Georgia’s star place-kicker said he deviated from that before the Bulldogs’ Oct. 12 home game against the Gamecocks.

Georgia lost 20-17 in a stunning upset in which Blankenship, who won the 2019 Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best place-kicker, missed two field-goal attempts, including a 42-yarder in overtime.

To Blankenship, it all went wrong for him when he couldn’t find an orange Powerade at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, an on-campus hotel in which the Bulldogs stay Friday nights before home games.

“I had a purple Powerade instead of an orange PowerAde before we played South Carolina,” Blankenship said during the Bulldogs’ preparations this week for the Sugar Bowl. I couldn’t find an orange Powerade in the hotel. So, I just thought, ‘It’s not that big of a deal; I’ll just have purple, and it’ll be fine.’ I guess it wasn’t fine.”

Blankenship is only half joking. Like most kickers, his routine before and during games is very important to him. For instance, he always dresses exactly the same way and in exactly the same order: compression shorts, left sock, right sock, pants, left cleat, right cleat, tie left shoe, tie right shoe, jersey over shoulder pads, shoulder pads and jersey on, helmet, snap chin strap, specs, left wrist band, right wrist band.

He also eats the same meals and same snacks at the same times, depending on kickoff.

Blankenship knows it’s quirky, but it makes him comfortable.

Blankenship was a little off toward the end of this season for the Bulldogs, missing three of his last five field-goal attempts, including a relative chip shot of 37 yards against LSU in the SEC Championship game. Still, he has made 82 percent of his field-goal attempts in his Georgia career, 25-of-31 this season, 6-of-9 from beyond 50 yards and every extra point he’s tried in four seasons with the Bulldogs.

So he plans to stick with his routine, thank you very much. And, yes, he will drink an orange Powerade before the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night at the Superdome.

“I’ve already found the spot where the orange ones are going to be,” Blankenship said.

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