Correction: T25-Murray State-Georgia Preview story
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — In a story Sept. 6 previewing the Murray State-Georgia college football game, The Associated Press reported erroneously the Georgia kicker as Ricardo Blankenship. His name is Rodrigo Blankenship.
A corrected version of the story is below:
No. 3 Georgia not taking anything for granted vs Murray St
After a wild opening week for SEC East schools, No. 3 Georgia isn’t taking anything for granted against Murray State
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — If the Georgia Bulldogs needed a reminder not to take this next game for granted, all they had to do was look around their own division.
South Carolina lost.
Now, coming off a dominating victory over Vanderbilt (yet another school from the Southeastern Conference East), the No. 3 Bulldogs (1-0) are huge favorites in their home opener against FCS school Murray State.
Coach Kirby Smart said he’s not the least bit concerned about those other SEC East schools.
Not yet anyway.
“Nothing that those programs have going on has anything to do with us,” he said, before turning to some familiar coach-speak. “We are 100 percent concerned with the improvements we have to make. We’ve got so much work to do from a discipline standpoint, timing in the passing game — a lot of things to work on — that our focus is us and our opponent, Murray State.”
Running back D’Andre Swift took a similar tack.
“We go against Georgia every day,” Swift said. “As long as we keep that mentality, it doesn’t matter who we play. We’ll be fine.”
Murray State is taking a huge step up.
Last week, the Racers (1-0) romped to a 59-20 victory over Pikeville, a tiny NAIA school. This week, they get one of the top teams in all of college football, one that went to the national championship game just two seasons ago.
“It’s one thing to play an FBS opponent,” coach Mitch Stewart said. “It’s a completely different animal to play an FBS opponent that has a legitimate shot to be a national contender. Quite an opportunity we’ve got for our guys. Quite an environment we’ll have, one we’re not used to playing in. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Some other things to watch for when the Bulldogs host Murray State:
The most significant event of the day might occur before kickoff.
Georgia will hold a pregame ceremony to formally name the Sanford Stadium playing field in honor of longtime coach and athletic director Vince Dooley.
The 87-year-old Dooley coached the Bulldogs from 1964-88, winning six Southeastern Conference titles and the national championship in 1980. He served as athletic director from 1979-2004.
Georgia President Jere W. Morehead, current AD Greg McGarity and team captains from Dooley’s quarter-century as head coach will join him and his family for the ceremony.
Dooley’s supporters have lobbied for years for his name to be placed on the stadium.
“I have always quietly thanked those people but never said anything,” Dooley said when the school finally backed the proposal in May. “I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to say anything in that regard.”
Georgia was able to bring just 70 players to its 30-6 victory at Vanderbilt.
Week 2 will likely give Smart a chance to get a look at some of his best young prospects for the first time.
The home fans also will be eager to get a longer look at Zamir White, who was one of the nation’s top running back recruits in 2018 but missed the season after tearing up a knee.
White had 51 yards on just five carries in his college debut, though his impressive showing was marred by a fumble.
Georgia didn’t get much of a chance to work on its passing game in the opener.
With a largely new group of receivers, Jake Fromm completed 15 of 23 passes for 156 yards. The Bulldogs ran the ball 40 times for 325 yards.
Fromm was able to work the ball to eight different players, but no one had more than three receptions.
This might be a chance for the Bulldogs to get a bit more daring through the air, at least in the early going.
Rodrigo Blankenship is off to another brilliant start for the Bulldogs.
The senior kicker made all three of his field goal attempts against Vandy, including a 50-yarder. He also was perfect on three extra points.
For his career, Blankenship has made 157 straight extra points and 56 of 67 field goals, a dazzling 84 percent success rate.
RACERS VS THE BIG BOYS
This is one of two games that Murray State will play against an FBS school.
Next week, the Racers travel to Toledo to face the Mid-American Conference school.
After that, Murray State begins its nine-game slate in the Ohio Valley Conference.