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Georgia Football

WATCH: Georgia Bulldogs Fans "Light Up" Mercedes-Benz Stadium

September 3, 2022
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ATLANTA - Kirby Smart and the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs took on the No. 11 Oregon Ducks in Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game to start the 2022 season.

Of course, they didn’t play in Athens, but this was very much a home-field crowd for the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta. In Athens, Georgia, fans “light up Sanford” heading into the 4th quarter, and the tradition continued in Atlanta to open the 2022 season.

In a stadium filled with at least 80% Georgia fans, Bulldog fans “lit up Mercedes-Benz” as the Bulldogs cruised into the 4th quarter with a comfortable 42-3 lead.

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Halftime notes:

Georgia limited the Ducks to three points in the first half as the Bulldogs built a 28-3 halftime advantage. The Ducks ran 36 plays for 183 yards of total offense (41-rushing, 142-passing). In the first quarter, Oregon had no points with 60 yards on 14 plays with four first downs. 

 Freshman Malaki Starks notched his first career interception (snagging it while falling backwards at the UGA8). It led to a 92-yard touchdown drive and a 14-0 advantage. Senior Christopher Smith snagged his fourth career INT, and he returned this one for 24 yards to the UGA 44. It led to a TD and a 21-0 lead. The Bulldog defense registered 16 INTs last year. 

Georgia’s leading tackler was senior Christopher Smith with four plus one interception with five Bulldogs had three apiece.

Points Off Turnovers: In the first half, Georgia converted two interceptions into 14 points. The INTs came from freshman Malaki Starks and senior Christopher Smith. Last season, Georgia was +4 in Turnover Margin and scored 94 points off 21 turnovers.

Offensive Leaders: Georgia senior QB Stetson Bennett finished the first half 18-for-21 for 254 yards, 1 TD passing plus 8 rushing yards and 1 TD to put the Bulldogs in front 28-3.  Georgia was 4-for-4 in the Red Zone, scoring four TDs. Bennett now has five career rushing TDs. The offense finished the half with 313 yards on 33 plays.

Sophomore wideout Ladd McConkey notched his second career rushing TD with a 9-yard scamper to cap a 12-play 85-yard drive in 4:57 for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Georgia’s second score came on a 7-play, 92-yard drive in 3:37 for a 14-0 edge early in the second quarter. Bennett’s one-yard rush finished the drive.

McConkey finished the first half with four catches for 48 yards and a TD. Today was the first time since Vanderbilt last year that he had a rushing and receiving TD. McConkey’s rushing TD versus the Commodores last year covered 24 yards. 

TE Production: Sophomore Brock Bowers had two catches for 38 yards while junior Darnell Washington tallied two for 33 yards.

RB Summary: Senior Kenny McIntosh notched his sixth career rushing TD, a one-yarder to put the Bulldogs up 21-0 midway through the second quarter. It capped a six play, 56-yard drive in 3:46. McIntosh set a career high with six catches for 80 yards in the first half. His previous best was 3-for-37 yards. The leading rusher was junior Kendall Milton with 19 yards on three carries.

For Starters & Game Captains: Georgia had six first-time starters today, all on defense. Javon Bullard (DB), Juman Dumas-Johnson (ILB), Kamari Lassiter (DB), Smael Mondon (ILB), Nazir Stackhouse (DL) and Mykel Williams (DE). Williams became the first true freshman starter on defense in a season opener since Tyson Campbell (DB) in 2018 against Austin Peay. Williams became the ninth true freshmen starter to make his debut in a season opener in the Kirby Smart era.

Georgia won the toss and elected to defer the ball until the second half.

Senior Kenny McIntosh (RB), redshirt sophomore Sedrick Van Pran (C), senior Nolan Smith (OLB) and senior Christopher Smith (DB) were the captains.

 
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