AUBURN, Ala. Georgia head coach Mark Richt didnt want to say much about the chippy play near the end of Saturdays game with Auburn, which caused Richt to march to midfield and prevent his team from rushing the field.
The problems were why Richt elected to take a knee at the end of the game, rather than run a few plays, trailing 49-31.
I wanted all of our guys to be available for the Georgia Tech game, Richt said. When things get that hot and that emotional, I thought that was the wise thing to do. I didnt want anything that would embarrass Georgia or embarrass the Bulldog nation or our university.
Richt then clammed up when asked what he felt led to the fighting.
You know what, I prefer not to say. OK? Because I just dont think anything good would come of it, Richt said.
Then Richt was asked if it was fair to say it was related to the hits Auburns Nick Fairley made on Aaron Murray, one of which was flagged for a 15-yard penalty.
Im not gonna answer that question, Richt said.
Tailback Caleb King said the back-and-forth was going on all game.
People were smack-talking. Pushing and shoving, King said. If you pretty much watch the tape, itd probably be 30 personal fouls you couldve called on both teams. It was towards the end of the game, so I guess it let loose a little more.
Murray injury not serious
Murray had to helped off the field late in the game after taking a hit to the knee. Richt said there didnt appear to be any structural damage, and it was only a blow to the knee bone.
Murray did not appear to be limping as he walked off the field after the game.
He actually wanted to go back in and play. He was up and able to, Richt said. But I just told him get your rear end out of there.
Mixed reviews for Newton
Perhaps it was just frustration, but Georgia linebacker Justin Houston wasnt issuing huge compliments to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
I thought for me personally he wasnt anything special, Houston said. He didnt do anything special to us. We just had some blown assignments, and they capitalized on our blown assignments, whats been going on all season.
Georgia star receiver A.J. Green, who watched Newton from the sideline, had kinder sentiments.
Thats a player. I havent seen a quarterback (like) that since Vince Young, Green said. Hes a great quarterback, and just a great player.
Richt played it safe on two key game-management decisions.
Late in the first half, Georgia took over at its own 21 with 51 seconds, after Auburn tied the game at 21. Given the nature of the game and Auburns struggling defense, the Bulldogs might have tried to pass downfield.
Richt said his decision depended on the kick return. He told offensive coordinator Mike Bobo that if the Bulldogs returned it past the 30, they would go into the one-minute drill.
They had grabbed momentum back, Richt said. And I wasnt really interested in getting it where they got another score before the end of the half.
But Richt said he didnt really think about going for it at the end of the third quarter, rather than kicking a field goal that made it 35-31.
It did cross my mind, Richt said of going for it. I felt like by putting points on the board, we still were putting enough pressure on them that we had to continue to score. And they did.
A record but little solace
Brandon Boykin set Georgias career record for kick return yards, breaking the mark held the past 24 years by Gene Washington. But Boykin wasnt crowing afterwards, especially since the return team was bottled up all game. The junior averaged 15 yards per return.
I dont even think I got past the 30 on any return, Boykin said. Weve gotta go back and see what happened. But thats about the worse weve done all season.