January 1, 2013

Ogletree headed for NFL

ORLANDO, Fla. - In an announcement that certainly came as no surprise, junior linebacker Alec Ogletree announced after Georgia's 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl that he will leave Athens a year early to enter the NFL Draft.

"I decided over the break," said Ogletree. "I talked it over with my parents, some other people I felt I needed to talk with and I think I'm making the right decision. I think it's the right time."

Ogletree made sure his final game in a Bulldog uniform was a memorable one.

The Newnan native led the Bulldogs (12-2) with 13 tackles, including three for losses of nine yards. He also forced and recovered a key fumble to stop a Cornhusker drive.

Ogletree finishes the season with 111 tackles, despite missing the first four games due to a suspension.

"I'm going to miss the fans, and of course my teammates and coaches," Ogletree said. "I had a lot of fun. It was a tough decision, but I'm ready to try to pursue my own career."

Whether or not Ogletree has some company remains to be seen.

Linebacker Jarvis Jones must decide by the Jan. 15 deadline, as will quarterback Aaron Murray.

Nose tackle Kwame Geathers said he will talk it over with his family over the next week before making up his mind.

Junior Garrison Smith has already announced that he will return for his senior year.

As for Ogletree, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said the NFL will be getting a good one.

"Will he be a first-round pick? I'll let the people who do the evaluating do that, but I know that he's a dynamic player. I know that he can be a special inside backer, that's why we moved him there," Grantham said. "He's a guy who can play tight coverage underneath, blitz and get the sack. I think he's a special player there. I think his future is really bright because he's a young player at that position. I wish him nothing but the best and I know that he will continue to improve."

Jones passes Pollack

With two sacks, Jones broke Bulldog All-American David Pollack's single-season record for sacks with 14.5.

Ironically, Jones had no idea until told during Tuesday's post-game press conference.

"Did I break it? I didn't even know," Jones said. "I broke the record? Dang."

In a strange twist, Jones actually broke the record when Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez was called for intentional grounding. Since Jones was the closest Bulldog defender, he was credited with the sack.

Pollack actually was able to witness Jones setting the new mark as he was part of the three-man crew calling Tuesday's game for ABC.

That wasn' the only record of Pollack to fall.

Jones also set a school-record for a season with 24.5 tackles for loss, breaking Pollack's record of 23.5 in 2002. Jones had a team-high seven at the half. Jones missed a pair of games this season due to injury and the final two games of the regular season came against spread-option offenses. Jones finished with eight tackles.

Murray sets some records

A large number of offensive records fell during the Bulldogs' 45-31 win.

Murray was right in the middle. Murray finished 18-for-33 for 427 yards and a school record-tying five touchdown passes.

The five touchdowns and 427 yards plus 87-yard scoring pass were all Georgia bowl records. His 427 yards was the fourth most in a game in school history. In the first half, Murray was 11-for-23 for 195 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Murray also set the single-season passing yardage record on that play, giving him 3,544, eclipsing Eric Zeier's 3,525 yards in 1993. For the season, Murray finishes with 3,893 yards, 36 TD passes, completing 249-of-388.

Wildcat pays off for Dawgs

With a month to prepare, Georgia unveiled its version of the Wildcat Tuesday with some impressive success.

Running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley both took direct snaps from center.

Mitchell picked up only limited yardages on two attempts, but Gurley broke off a 30-yard touchdown - untouched - early in the second quarter to give Georgia a 23-14 lead.

"I think the guy touched my shoulder pad, but that was it," Gurley said. "It was as great blocking and I just had to hit the hole."

Murray said the team felt all month that the play would be successful.

"You've got to give a lot of credit to Coach (Mike) Bobo. As an offense, we felt great with our game plan," Murray said. "Obviously, when you have a whole month to prepare, you can obviously draw up some new plays."

Mitchell injured, doesn't return

The Bulldogs lost wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell to a concussion early in Tuesday's game, which he suffered during a kickoff in the first quarter.

He wasn't the only Bulldog forced to take a seat.

Georgia had hoped that defensive end Abry Jones would be able to play in Tuesday's game, but that turned out to not be the case.

All speculation over Jones' services were quickly answered when he showed up for pre-game warm-ups dressed only a jersey and shorts.

Late last week, Jones said he had hoped to play.

The senior injured his ankle in Week 7 at Kentucky.

This and that

Senior safety Shawn Williams blocked a punt on Nebraska's first possession that rolled out of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead. It marked the second straight bowl that the Bulldogs first points came on a safety. Last year in the Outback Bowl, it was Brandon Boykin with a tackle in the end zone on a screen. … Georgia got 7 points off two interceptions by Damian Swann and a fumble recovery by Ogletree(forced and recovered. Swann's interceptions were his third and fourth this season. … Gurley finishes his year with 1,385 yards which is the second most in school history by a freshman, trailing only Herschel Walker (1,616 in 1980). Gurley's season total ranks 6th overall in Bulldog history. Gurley tallied 9 games with at least 100 yards rushing, which ranks tied for 3rd in school history for a season. … Marshall and Rhett McGown both started their first career games.