OXFORD, Miss. -- Blair Walsh said that by the time he checked his phone after Saturdays game, he had already received supportive texts from family members. His head coach at showed his faith in the Georgia place-kicker during the game.
But it still grated on Walsh that he missed three field goals, a big reason Georgias margin wasnt larger than 27-13 over Mississippi.
The three misses in one game were more than Walsh missed all of his sophomore season. After his third miss, from 35 yards, Walsh tossed his helmet in a trash can.
Walsh was able to tick off how each of the three missed.
Right. Left. Right, he said, shaking his head.
Just last week, Walsh nailed a career-high 56-yarder. But now hes 5-for-10 on the season.
Still, he finished Saturday on a good note by making a 43-yarder, after head coach Mark Richt approached him on the sideline and told him he was still his kicker.
Im so grateful to Coach Richt, I really am. It means the world to me that he let me go out there and hit it and try to put the game away, Richt said. It definitely helps, but when you look back on it, its not good no matter what.
Im glad that we were able to kick another one and he did make it, Richt said. But if we never had another attempt the rest of the game its not gonna shake my confidence in him. Hes a great player, hes one of the best in America. He went through a rough spell. But he doesnt have to worry how I feel about him. Hes a special player.
Tailback Isaiah Crowell had 30 carries, nearly double his high in his first three career games. It left the freshman winded in the second half, and the Bulldogs turned to backups Carlton Thomas and Richard Samuel for much of the fourth quarter.
I just think he had a little wear and tear from carrying it so many times, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. He just got a little tired from that. ... But the other backs did a nice job, were in there catching the ball in the flat and having a couple runs.
Richt said his preference would be for Crowell to have about 25 touches per game, with around 20 of those being rushing attempts.
I never wouldve dreamed that Isaiah would have 30 carries, Richt said. But when you run 82 plays, as much and often as were going to run the tailback in our system, I thought Isaiah did a really nice job of securing the ball, making tough yards, making good decisions as a runner.
The love connection
On Saturday morning, tight end Aron White posted on Twitter that he anticipated scoring a touchdown, something he had yet to do this season. Then late in the second quarter he did just that, catching an Aaron Murray pass, shedding a tackler and finishing a 35-yard touchdown.
Im glad I got in there, because I was definitely talking a big game, White said. Me and the end zone, we have kind of a love connection. For a while she was dipping out with everyone else except me, it felt like, running around with all my boys. But she came back home, I got to meet her this week.
Cold and hot
The other tight end, junior Orson Charles, also had a touchdown, as well as a couple of glaring drops. The second one, near midfield, was bobbled and resulted in Murrays only interception.
That was just my fault, not hauling the ball in, Charles said. It had nothing to do with Aaron. That goes back to little league, looking the ball in before you turn upfield.
But Charles made up for it later, hauling in 2-yard touchdown pass from Murray, deep in the right corner of the end zone.
It was definitely a beautiful touchdown, Charles said. Aaron, he trusts me after dropping two balls, thats why I still love him because he always trusts me in the trenches. So he threw it up, expecting me to go get it, so the whole time Im talking to myself, Dont drop it, dont drop it. And I was able to make a play.
Richts one regret
There were several times when Richt took the conservative route, opting for the field goal instead of going for it. He had a ready answer for his players who were pleading for him to go for it.
What I told them was if you wanna get a first down, do it in the first three downs, he said.
In fact, the only call Richt said he would change was when he did go for it, on fourth-and-short from Georgias own 39. The Bulldogs barely got it, when Samuel leaned forward on second effort.
For all those people that want aggressively play-calling, thats where it can hurt you sometimes, Richt said. Im sure those people that think I shouldnt have done that will have something to say. But thats how it is when youre the one making the call.
Backup receiver Rantavious Wooten was in a car accident during the week, sustaining a concussion. He didnt make the trip, and neither did freshman cornerback Damian Swann, who injured his groin in the prior game. Freshman defensive back Chris Sanders was also out with a shoulder injury.
Right guard Chris Burnette, who started the first three games, was on the trip but sat out with a knee injury. Kenarious Gates, who started the first game at left guard before hurting his leg, returned to that spot, and Dallas Lee shifted over to right guard.