The No. 13 Georgia football team earned a 37-14 win over the 20th-ranked Louisville Cardinals in front of a crowd of 45,671 and a nationally-televised ESPN audience in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The Bulldogs end the 2014 campaign with an overall record of 10-3. The Bulldogs have posted 10 or more wins 21 times, including nine times under Head Coach Mark Richt. Louisville falls to 9-4 on the year.
Despite leaving the game in the second quarter, Hutson Mason led the Bulldogs through the air. He went 10-for-15 for 148 yards and touchdown. Brice Ramsey was 4-for-9 for 51 yards. Chris Conley was the top target, finishing with 80 yards and a touchdown down on four catches. As it was for much of the season, the offense was led by the run game. Nick Chubb wasnamed the Belk Bowl MVP and finished with 269 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries. His 269 yards was a career-high, SEC bowl record, marked his eighth-straight 100-yard rushing game and was the second-highest single game rushing total in Georgia history. Sony Michel finished with 11 carries for 31 yards.
Lorenzo Carter and Ramik Wilson led the defensive effort with eight tackles each. Both recorded one sack, with Carter’s going for a loss of 19 yards on the final play of the game. Aaron Davis and Ray Drew finished with seven tackles each. As a unit, Georgia had three interceptions, with Dominick Sanders getting two. He became the sixth player in Georgia history to record two interceptions in a game.
Georgia struck first, taking a 7-0 lead on a nine-play, 60-yard drive in the first quarter. Chubb got the drive started by breaking off a 20-yard run. With the drive stalling, the Bulldogs got a spark when Louisville was called for a personal foul that gave Georgia a fresh set of downs. On 2nd-and-14, Mason connected with Conley for a 45-yard touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead after the Marshall Morgan extrapoint.
The Cardinals answered on the next drive, going 84 yards on nine plays to tie the game at 7-7. The touchdown was scored on an 11-yard pass from Kyle Bolin to Gerald Christian.
Both offenses were quiet over the next several possessions. Georgia retook the lead after a nine-play, 43-yard drive led to a 41-yard field goal and gave it a 10-7 lead. The Bulldog defense remained stout on the next Louisville drive, allowing just seven net yards on five plays.
On the next Georgia drive, Mason hit Michel out of thebackfield for 32 yards and a first down. Four plays later, Chubb raced 31 yards into the end zone for a touchdown that put the Bulldogs up 17-7 with just under seven minutes to go in the half.
On the first play of the next drive, Sanders intercepted a pass from Reggie Bonnafon. The interception resulted in three points as Morgan connected on a 22-yard field goal and extended Georgia’s lead to 20-7.
Louisville had a pair of chances late in the half, but the Georgia defense shut the Cardinals down and took a 20-7 lead into halftime.
The Bulldogs added a touchdown with 6:38 left in the third quarter that made it a 27-7 game. Starting at their own three-yard line, Chubb broke off a Georgia bowl record 82-yard run that set the Bulldogs up at the Louisville 15. Michel finished the drive, rushing for the final 15 yards and the score on two carries.
Louisville answered with a touchdown drive of its own, going 70 yards in 10 plays. The drive was capped off by a six-yard touchdown run by Brandon Radcliff that cut the lead to 27-14 with just under two minutes left in thethird quarter.
Georgia worked its way down to the Louisville 36-yard line, but went for it on 4th-and-10. Ramsey’s pass was incomplete, allowing Louisville to take over on downs. Damian Swann intercepted Kyle Bolin on the first play of the next drive. It was the third interception of the game by the Georgia defense.
The run game took over on the ensuing Georgia drive, picking up 23 yards before Ramsey connected with Kenneth Towns for 14 yards and a first down. The Bulldogs put together a 43-yard drive that took 4:13 off the clock and was capped off by a 41-yard field goal by Morgan that gave the Bulldogs a 30-14 lead. With the field goal, the Bulldogs set a single-season record inpoints scored this season. The Bulldogs finished the 2014 campaign with 537points.
The defense remained agressive on Louisville’s next drive, forcing a three-and-out on a drive that amassed just one yard. Nick Chubb carried the load on the final Georgia drive, accounting for all 45 yards and the touchdown that sealed the 37-14 win.
Louisville looked to score on its last possession, working its way down to the Georgia 10, but Carter burst through the line for a sack to end the game.
*Bulldogs Extend Bowl Streak: Georgia made its 50th appearance in a bowl game tonight at the Belk Bowl, extending its school record of consecutive appearances to now 18. Tonight was the first ever matchup between the Bulldogs and Louisville. With the 37-14 victory, the Bulldogs are now 28-19-3 in bowl games. The 50 appearances and 28 wins rank fourth nationally.
*Another 10-Win Season, 40 Victories For Seniors And School Record For Points: With tonight’s 37-14 win, the Bulldog senior class finishes with a 40-14 overall record and the third time they had a 10-win season. It was the 21st team in school history to reach double-digit wins in a season and the ninth under coach Mark Richt. Also, the team set a school record with 537 points in 13 games, eclipsing the old mark of 529 by the 2012 squad that played in 14 games.
*Chubb Earns Bowl MVP With UGA and SEC Bowl Record and Career High 266 Rushing Yards: Freshman Nick Chubb tallied a career-high and bowl record and SEC bowl record of 266 yards on 33 carries, and that was the 2nd best total in a game school history, trailing only Herschel Walker’s 283 as a freshman in 1980 versus Vanderbilt. The old SEC bowl record was 250 by Chuck Webb of Tennessee vs. Arkansas in the 1990 Cotton Bowl. Tonight, Chubb had a 31-yard TD run to make it 17-7. Chubb had a Bulldog bowl record 82-yard rush when Georgia had the ball at its own 3 yard line. It led to a 97-yard TD drive and a 27-7 edge in the third quarter. It gave Chubb his eighth straight game of more than 100 yards rushing. By the third quarter, he had set a Bulldog bowl record with 175 rushing yards on 20 attempts. Louisville came in with the nation’s third-ranked run defense at 93.7 yards a game. Chubb finished with 1,547 yards, which ranks in a tie for fourth best total in school history with Garrison Hearst in 1992. Chubb’s total was the second best ever by a Bulldog freshman, trailing only Herschel Walker’s 1,616 in 1980.
O-Line Intact All Year: Georgia started the same five guys on the offensive line in all 13 games this season, the first time that has been done since the 2000 season. The 2014 unit was David Andrews-C, John Theus-LT, Brandon Kublanow-LG, Greg Pyke-RG and Kolton Houston-RT.
*Starting Streaks: Senior center David Andrews started his team-leading 40th consecutive game. The most career starts on the team belongs to senior linebacker Amarlo Herrera who made his 43rd start including 28th straight. Freshman RB Sony Michel made his first career start as one of two tailbacks tonight, the other was Nick Chubb who has started eight in a row. Also, Michel served as the kickoff returner for the first time this season.
*Calling the Plays For Record-Setting Offense: Tight end coach John Lilly assumed play-calling duties for tonight’s game after offensive coordinator/QB coach Mike Bobo was hired as the head coach at Colorado State earlier this month. Georgia set a school record with 537 points this year and averaged a school record 41.3 points a game.
*Mason Only Plays First Half, Sets Completion Percentage Mark For Season: Senior QB Hutson Mason finished 10-for-15 for 149 yards and 1 TD, all in the first half and did not play in the second half due to a vision issue . He had a 44-yard TD pass to senior Chris Conley. For Conley, it was his 20th career TD catch which moved him in to a tie for fourth all-time in school history with Fred Gibson (2001-04). It capped an eight play, 90-yard drive for a 7-0 edge in the first quarter. Mason’s career featured 26 games and 15 starts, going 11-4 as a starter. For the season, Mason set a school record for completion percentage at 67.87 (188×277 for 2,168 yards, 21 TDs, 4 INTs), the old mark was 65.03 by Mike Bobo in 1997.
*Morgan Tallies 12 Points and PAT Mark: Junior Marshall Morgan accounted for 13 points, hitting a pair of 41-yard field goals, a 22-yard FG and four PATs. This gives Georgia and Morgan with 67 PATs on the season, which is a school record for the team and by a Bulldog. The old mark was 63 in 2012, all by Morgan.
*Points Off Turnovers: Georgia scored 6 points off four turnovers while UL got zero points off two Bulldog turnovers. Bulldog freshman Dominick Sanders had a 40-yard interception to set the Bulldogs up at the Cardinal 9 yard line. It led to a 22-yard field goal and a 20-7 edge. The Bulldogs scored 110 points off 30 turnovers this year. Bulldog redshirt freshman QB Brice Ramsey came in and threw an interception on his first play (starting QB Hutson Mason was unavailable for that series) as the Cardinal took over at their own 3. The Cardinals were forced to punt. In the second half, Sony Michel fumbled and UL recovered at the Bulldog 32. It led to a Bulldog interception by Dominick Sanders, his 2nd of the game to tie a Bulldog bowl record held by five others. Georgia failed to score after this INT. Senior Star Damian Swann notched an INT at the Bulldog 33 in the 4th quarter. It led to a field goal. Opponents finished with 19 points off 13 Bulldog miscues this year. Coming in tonight, Georgia ranked third nationally in Turnover Margin at +15 and finished the year at +17, the third best total, which was the best since the 1982 squad that was +22..
*Injury Report: Sophomore safety Quincy Mauger went down with a concussion late in the second quarter and did not return. Senior QB Hutson Mason was unavailable for the final series of the first half and did not return due to a vision issue. Senior wideout Michael Bennett (left knee) was injured early in the third quarter and did not return.
Georgia Mark Richt Head Coach
Very proud of our team. It was a year that I thought we had overcome a lot. I think this game was maybe very similar to the type of season we had as far as losing some key people and other guys having to step up and make plays and just continue our focus and continue to fight. Just really, really proud of everybody. Our players, especially our seniors. A lot of our seniors get a lot of attention because they played a lot, they made plays. They made tackles and catches and touchdowns and all those types of things and threw touchdown passes. There’s a lot of our seniors that were scout teamers. They were seniors that were walk-ons. But, all those guys are very important to our program and I just want to wish them the best because they deserve it. They’re Dawgs for life and we’re going to be there for them to help them transition to life after football which is very important to me to let our guys know that and to follow through with that. I thought our coaching staff did a super job. Great game defensively tonight. Their offense has been averaging over 30-something points a game and we were able to hold them to 14. Even towards the very end when they were trying to get seven more on the board, they kept fighting until the very end and I’m proud of the job they did. Our offensive staff pulled together under some adversity. Anytime you lose a coach like Mike Bobo, you’ve got to rally. You’ve got to come together and do that. I know Will Friend is going on to Colorado State with Mike, but Will chose to stay for this bowl game and that was key to our success. It would have been very difficult to run this bowl game without Will there with those offensive linemen. I think they played their tails off for him and for Georgia. John Lilly obviously did a good job of honing the game plan down. Plan B made it a little bit simpler. Nick Chubb did a beautiful job, but he couldn’t do it by himself. He showed everybody in the country again that he’s a pretty talented young man. I’m real proud of Nick.
RE: Louisville’s defense came in ranked at third before the bowl game against the run, why did you guys have so much success running the ball?
Well, you block well and you run well. You have to have a good scheme. I think you have to be patient to. I don’t know how many times early on we have a one-yard gain. It wasn’t just like we were plowing through them. When you look at the end result, you see we ran the ball well against them, but it took some patience. Just having the score the way it was, and us trying to eat up as much clock as possible in the second half, we chose to run the ball for that reason. A lot of it had to do with how well we played on defense. Some of it had to do with the fact that Hudson was out of the game and we didn’t want to put too much on our younger quarterback.
RE: Talk about your desire to coach in the SEC?
I coached for fifteen years at Florida State and then one year at East Carolina. Then taking the Georgia job was an exciting opportunity for me and my family. You know it’s a rugged league. It’s very tough league and when you win in this league, you know you’ve done something special. It’s not just on the field. It’s in recruiting, it’s in facilities, it’s in coaching staffs. The passion of our fans is by far the most exciting thing about our league.
We certainly have some backs that are talented and that’s a good place to start. We’ve got four out of five offensive linemen returning. We’ve got some good things offensively to build around no doubt.
RE: Do you care to comment on Bryce Ramsey’s performance tonight?
I think Bryce came in, and of course it was really, really cold. We decided to take a shot. If you score, it’s a real smart play. If you throw an interception, it’s not exactly what you’re hoping for. He didn’t have one shot to even warm-up. We were scrambling to get him in the game and probably shouldn’t have put him in that position right at that moment. He did some good things. He made a couple of nice throws that were big on third down situations and he made some mistakes too. It was a big responsibility and overall, he secured the ball well.
RE: What does this bowl win mean for you personally?
It’s great to win, period. It’s just not fun to lose. Losing leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I told the team before the game that I was thankful we had another game to play. I’m glad that for our seniors, we had a chance to play another game and win against a really good team. The bowl was awesome. I really appreciate everything that the Belk Bowl did for our players and our staff.
RB Nick Chubb
RE: Four months ago, could you have envisioned your freshman year going like this?
Coming in with all of these great running backs, like Coach said, we shared the load. All five of us get the ball so I take advantage of all opportunities. I had a great season, but it has to do with the whole team. The offensive linemen blocking up front, great linemen and great play calling.
RE: When you hear the number 266 yards rushing in a game, what’s your reaction?
I’m very excited, but it wouldn’t be capable without the rest of the team blocking and pushing and everyone doing their job. I’ve done a lot in high school, but it’s a whole different animal up here. I’m very happy.
RE: You had 33 carries tonight. Have you been tired at all this season?
Yeah, I’m not going to let y’all know that though. I’m tired a lot during the game. That last touchdown I was very tired, but it was my time. I got in there and with the good blocking up front, I got in there. You know, if you score, you get off the field.
RE: You know that there’s only one running back that has run for more yards in a game – Hershel Walker. How do you feel about that?
It’s a blessing being in the same sentence with him. He’s a great running back. Like I said, it’s the awesome line up front blocking for me and making everything possible. I’m just so thankful for everything and everyone around me and it’s been a great season.
RE: You made an 82-yard run off the goal line. Did you think you were going all the way?
It was a lead play and yeah, I thought I was going to play, but the player had a good angle on me and he didn’t give up.
RE: How has Todd Gurley helped you this year?
Todd’s amazing. He’s a very good leader. He keeps motivating me and he’s been there for me. He’s a great person on the field, as you know, and off the field, he’s an even better person. I’m just blessed to have him in my life.
C David Andrews
You had a situation where your running backs are just going nuts and getting big yardage. What were your words with the defensive line?
It was an edgy game and a physical game at that to. We knew it was going to be tough to get those yards at first. We were 3, 4 yards. Negative 1 yard one time but we knew if we kept pounding it we were going to bust some yards and we did.
What did you think of the David Andrews chant?
It was special and it was an emotional game. I appreciate it. I love all the fans. I love the University of Georgia. I love this team and I love this place. It’s just a special place to be.
You were part of the “Dream Team” class. At the end of your career, tell me what you think about that?
We have some guys missing but we came in as a very tight group, recruiting and everything. To go out with those guys on top and get that last victory with them means a lot.
QB Brice Ramsey
Your coaches and teammates were the only people who figured you would throw the first snap out there.
It was short notice you are right. I didn’t warm up at all or anything. I played real cold, but there are no excuses.
On Nick Chubb
It’s huge. You got a back like Nick Chubb, that kid turns a third down and runs 10. Half the time he’s getting 10 yards on everyone. It’s huge to have a playmaker like that in the back field. It takes a lot of the pressure off the quarter back.
How much was your adrenaline pumping just being in that game and in that setting?
Oh yeah! My adrenaline and nervousness started coming and it was there at first, the first drive. After the pick I was like “whoa I have to slow down and get it together. By the third down conversion on the crossing route I adjusted. It felt like a relief. I felt like I got this.
Third Down Conversions:
I have to watch this film. Obviously I have a lot to improve on.
SN Matthew Herzwurm
What do you expect from him [Lorenzo Carter] next season with a little experience under his belt?
Just looking at him he’s a serious athlete. He’s 6’5” and he’s cut. He’s young now. With a couple more months he’s going to be the greatest at this university as a linebacker.
CB Damian Swann
Is Chubb at the top of the list of reasons to be excited?
Absolutely! It’s just like everyone being excited when we got Gurley. It’s the same excitement. That kid is powerful. That kid has great balance. That kid is good at football. He’s going to break a lot of records in his Georgia career.
Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications