University of Georgia

Richt becomes a ‘very big’ Tennessee fan

ATHENS -- Georgia plays a game this Saturday, but that won’t be the most important game for the Bulldogs that day.

Missouri, which currently sits in first place in the SEC East, will play at Tennessee. If Missouri loses that game, or next week at home against Arkansas, Georgia wins the division and the right to play in the SEC championship.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he will be a “very big” Tennessee fan Saturday. The timing works out for rooting purposes, as Georgia hosts Charleston Southern, an FCS program, at noon on Saturday, and the Missouri-Tennessee game is at 7:30 p.m.

“I would hopefully be settled in on my lounge chair, ready to cheer for the Vols,” Richt said. “Whether or not I wear orange is still up in the air.”

A CLOSE CALL ON FAKE PUNT

One of Georgia’s most memorable plays Saturday didn’t count. There’s a good argument it could have, according to Richt.

Early in the first quarter, Georgia faked a punt by having punter Adam Erickson pass the ball to Rutland product Shakenneth Williams. The play gained 41 yards down to the Auburn 3, setting up a touchdown that would have tied the game at 7.

But a Georgia lineman was called for an illegal man downfield violation, which Richt and his coaches protested immediately. After watching film, Richt called it “very, very close.”

“I think we’re allowed 3 yards, and I think it was very debatable whether he got that far down the field,” Richt said. “If you’re a Georgia fan, you probably would think he was in good shape; if you’re an Auburn fan you’d be asking the officiating crew why they didn’t call it. So it was close.

“It’s a shame. It was a very well-executed play. And where he was, it wouldn’t have mattered if he had just taken a knee on that play (his block) would not have effected the play whatsoever.”

REACTION TO MUSCHAMP

Richt will coach against a fifth different Florida head coach next year.

Florida fired head coach Will Muschamp, effective at the end of the regular season.

“It’s just the nature of the business, and I wish him well,” Richt said. “I know he’s a good ballcoach and a good person.”

Muschamp, a former Georgia safety, was 1-3 against his alma mater. That made him the only Gators head coach with a losing record against Richt.

PRAISE FOR JENKINS

There were a lot of great defensive performances for the Bulldogs on Saturday, when they held Auburn’s powerful offense to just seven points and 292 yards. Both are season-lows.

Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins appeared to have been one of Georgia’s top players, but the statistics don’t quite reflect that. He did have six tackles, one for loss, but would have had a couple of sacks if not for being held (the holding was called twice.)

“Jordan played his tail off,” Richt said. “And a couple of times there were some holding calls because he was coming off the edge so quick and getting tackled, basically, at the point of trying to get a sack. He played hard.”

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