With a 17-yard completion to Reggie Brown on the third play of the second half, David Greene became just the fifth player in Southeastern Conference history to pass for more than 10,000 yards.
“It’s probably something I’ll appreciate a lot more later in my life,” he said. “I guess, first of all, it says I’ve been around a while.”
Greene also became the winningest quarterback in school history, getting his 37th victory and breaking his tie with former Bulldog John Rauch. He needs three more wins to become the all-time winningest quarterback in collegiate history.
Overall, the senior had a quiet but efficient day. He was 14 of 21 for 191 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Greene now has 10 touchdowns and one interception this season.
“I felt really good today,” he said. “I played great except for one drive.”
The one drive Greene is referring to was Georgia’s next-to-last drive of the first half, when he threw three straight incomplete passes. Coach Mark Richt said Greene was lofting the ball too much on that drive.
“He just needs to fire that ball,” Richt said. “He came out in the second half firing the ball.”
Backup quarterback D.J. Shockley was inserted for two series in the first half for the first time this season. He led the team 69 yards on his first try, but the drive ended at Vanderbilt’s 6-yard line due to a Danny Ware fumble. Shockley came back in on the last drive of the half, but the Bulldogs simply ran out the clock.
Shockley entered the game again late in the third quarter and threw his first interception of the season. After the game, Shockley said the interception was due to a “bone-headed” decision.
Shockley rotated in basically every third series for the Bulldogs.
“That wasn’t the plan, but as the game developed, I felt both guys were playing extremely well,” Richt said.
FINISHING IT OFF: It was clear how much Richt wants his offense to keep rolling when he left his starters in the game until the very end despite a 27-point lead.
“I wanted to have the offense play well the whole game,” he said. “I didn’t want to spend the last 10 minutes stumbling around.”
THE DROPS: Ware fumbled for the second and third times in the last two weeks against the Commodores. The Bulldogs recovered one of them, but the other cost Georgia a great scoring opportunity.
“We haven’t lost faith in him, but he certainly needs to be more respectful of the ball,” Richt said.
Ware blamed the fumbles on wrist bands he wore for the first time this season. He will go back to wearing the bands near his elbows rather than on his wrists, he said.
He wasn’t the only Bulldog who had trouble holding onto the ball. New punt returner Thomas Flowers dropped the first ball he fielded. He recovered the ball himself. Bryan McClendon also fumbled on a kickoff return, but the ball went out of bounds.
“Holding onto the ball, that’s the A-No. 1 thing,” Richt said. “If we don’t hold onto it better, we’ll lose at least one more game, I’m sure.”
BETTER UP FRONT: Georgia didn’t allow a single sack even though split guard Fernando Velasco and split tackle Ken Shackleford were making the first starts of their careers. In fact, Greene didn’t even get knocked down until the final drive of the game, something he was thanking the offensive line for just before that drive.
“I guess I jinxed myself,” he said.
INJURY UPDATE: Peach County native A.J. Bryant was the only Bulldog to suffer a significant injury. He left the game on crutches due to a case of plantar fascia. A tendon in his right foot snapped, Richt said.
“It’s very painful, but it’s probably better it happened now,” said Richt, who added he hopes Bryant will miss just a day or two of practice.
Ron Courson, Georgia’s director of sports medicine, agreed, saying, “We’ll see how he does this week, but I think he’ll be OK.”
Defensive end David Pollack sprained his left ankle with 4:17 left in the second quarter, but he returned on the second play of the next series. He appeared to aggravate the injury late in the third quarter but actually only suffered from a shin bruise.
Tight end Martrez Milner, who Richt called probable before the game, did not dress out.
UNUSUAL INJURY: Wide receiver Fred Gibson, who caught two passes for 19 yards, was slowed by the effects of a root canal he had Friday. Gibson awoke Friday morning in pain and had the procedure later in the day.