Mean Green provide LSU-like test for Dogs’ defense

Saturday’s game against North Texas was exactly what Georgia needed to get ready for next weekend’s game against LSU, according to Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

The Mean Green (2-2) run an offense that’s somewhat similar to what the Tigers run under first-year coordinator Cam Cameron. And their quarterback, 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior Derek Thompson, boasts some attributes similar to LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, the SEC’s current leader in pass efficiency.

“From a concept standpoint, their offense does a very good job,” Grantham said. “And this quarterback, he’s played games in Tuscaloosa and at LSU. The guy will probably be in an NFL camp somewhere. He can make every throw. … From a talent standpoint, he can make some plays, and I thought we did a good job of not letting them get started.”

The Mean Green (2-2) came into the contest averaging 465 yards and 30 points per game. After an early breakdown in which the Bulldogs gave up a 10-play, 86-yard scoring drive, the Georgia defense stiffened. Georgia allowed only 159 yards the rest of the day.

Thompson ended with 202 yards on 21-of-36 passing with a touchdown and an interception. The Mean Green netted only 7 yards rushing, helped by 10 tackles for loss and two sacks. Georgia logged 59 yards in loss-yardage plays.

“The thing I was most pleased with is it wasn’t like the game was totally in hand for really 3 1/2 quarters,” Grantham said. “We had some really adverse situations, and they responded and went out and kept playing. After the touchdown they got, they went out and made stops. And we had some young players make some plays. It was a good day.”

Freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd recorded the first two sacks of his career for 17 yards in losses, and freshman safety Tray Matthews recorded his first interception.

“We saw what we had to fix over the last few weeks, and I think today was the day we finally executed like we needed to,” said sophomore linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who recorded a 13-yard tackle for loss. “We had everybody on the same page. We had nine guys repeating the calls every play, and we were all getting after it today. Definitely an improvement.”

Players uniting: Several Georgia players, including offensive lineman Kolton Houston, had “#APU” scrawled in permanent marker on their wrist tape. The acronym stands for “All Players United” and apparently is a show of solidarity among college athletes orchestrated Saturday by National College Players Association, an advocacy group that supports NCAA reform.

Asked about it after the game, Georgia coach Mark Richt said he didn’t notice it and wasn’t aware of the specific cause.

“I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “I’ll look into that and find out what it’s all about. It’s kind of a free country, too, you know.”

For starters: Sophomore placekicker Marshall Morgan saw his first action of the season after sitting out the first two games because of a suspension. He missed a 52-yard attempt at the end of the first half, but made a 27-yarder late in the fourth quarter.

Corey Moore got his first career start on defense. The junior missed the first game and most of preseason camp with a sprained ligament in his right knee. He came in on the second play of the game against South Carolina last week. Moore started one game on offense last season as the lead blocker on a specific play.

Senior Kenarious Gates got another start at left tackle. His availability was in doubt after he had to leave the South Carolina game in the second half after injuring an ankle and a knee.

Tarkenton, Dye reunite: Former Bulldogs Pat Dye and Fran Tarkenton were reunited on the field at Sanford Stadium for the first time since they teamed up to beat Georgia Tech there in 1960.

Dye (UGA letterman 1958-60), who retired as head coach and athletic director at Auburn, was back in Athens to be inducted into Georgia’s “Circle of Honor.” Tarkenton was inducted into the Circle of Honor in 1998. It is the highest honor UGA can bestow on former student-athletes, who must have graduated and distinguished themselves in their careers.

Dye was inducted along with former tennis player Marissa Catlin and gymnast Lori Strong.

Etc.: Senior flanker Rantavious Wooten completed a 42-yard pass to senior tight end Arthur Lynch. Lynch later caught a 16-yard touchdown from Murray on the same drive. … Freshman tailback J.J. Green scored his first career TD on a 1-yard run with 1:46 to play. The Camden County graduate set up the score with a 39-yard run. He also returned a kickoff 19 yards. … The honorary captain for Saturday’s game was former linebacker Demetrius Douglas (1986-89).

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