September 13, 2009

Boykin takes it to the house

His nickname is "Bam" and Saturday night Georgia fans found out exactly why.

Brandon Boykin's return of a kickoff 100 yards for Georgia's first touchdown, not only put the sophomore's athleticism on display, but it enabled the former Fayette County star to put his name in the Bulldog record book.

The play couldn't have come at a better time.

South Carolina had snagged a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard pass from Stephen Garcia to Tori Gurley before Boykin's return brought the Bulldogs back into a quick tie.

Only later did Boykin learn he set some Georgia history in the process.

Boykin's return set a school record for the longest return, breaking the old mark of 99 yards set by Thomas Brown in 2006 against Tennessee and Lindsay Scott in 1978 at LSU.

"That's amazing," Boykin said. "I've just got to thank God for that. That's a great record, but as a team we came together so much. This was a big win."

The other 100-yard touchdowns in school history were Jimmy Campagna (punt return, Vanderbilt, 1952) and Charlie Britt (interception return, Florida, 1959).

But Boykin wasn't done.

He also had a 48-yard kickoff return in the first quarter to give him 148 for the half.
Boykin also registered his first career interception after picking off Garcia in the second quarter for the Bulldogs' first turnover of the year.

"I've been waiting to get one," Boykin said. "I was just being patient and he threw it up in the air. I went up, came down, rolled over and I didn't really know what happened and everybody was staring at me. I couldn't believe I had the ball in my hand. I was glad about that."

Injury update

Starting defensive end Roderick Battle left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return.

Head coach Mark Richt said the senior would undergo an MRI Sunday.

Sweet day for Walsh

For all the grief that Blair Walsh took for Georgia's directional kicks last fall, Saturday's effort against South Carolina could not have been more enjoyable.

Besides kicking field goals of 50 and 42 yards, coaches eschewed the directional kick and let Walsh fire away during kickoffs. He responded by forcing two touchbacks and driving his other five kicks deep toward the Gamecock end zone and beyond.

"It was good to get free range to do what I wanted to do," Walsh said. "It's just different schemes. I've always been able to do it. Without indulging too much, we do what we do."

Ironically, Walsh's deepest kick was returned 57 yards by Chris Cullivar, something Richt pointed out in his post-game press conference.

"Blair's got a strong leg but I do want the fans to understand this: The longest kick he had was the one they returned the farthest," Richt said. "He drove it, tried to drive it in the end zone like everybody wants, to kick it as far as you can and not worry about hang-time. Well, he drilled it flat and they returned it to the 50. If you knock it back deep enough, it's great, but if you come up short and return it with very little hang-time, that's the result a lot of the time."

Richt certainly had no trouble with the distance Walsh displayed on field goals.

Walsh, whose 42-yard field goal accounted for the final 41-37 score and forced South Carolina to try and win the game with a touchdown, also kicked a 50-yard field goal. He is now 4-of-7 from 50-plus yards in his career and 2-for-2 for the year.
He drilled a career-long 53-yarder last week at Oklahoma State.

"That was just as important as our 50-yard field goal, to put our team up by four where they had to score a touchdown to win, that's great to me," Walsh said. "We made them try to score. That's awesome, anytime you can do that, it's great."

This and that

• Redshirt freshman split end Tavarres King started the first game of his career.

• Redshirt freshman Cornelius Washington registered his first career sack and the team's first sack of the year during the opening quarter.

• Georgia is now after a loss during the Richt era.

Rennie Curran tied his career high with 15 tackles (9 solo, six assists). He also had 15 last year against Kentucky.

• Michael Moore now has two touchdown catches of four yards this year. Both have capped 80-yard drives

• DeAngelo Tyson's blocked extra point was the first by the Bulldogs since Kedric Golston blocked one against LSU in the 2003 SEC Championship Game.

• South Carolina got off 83 offensive plays compared to just 53 for the Bulldogs.


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