“I’ll tell you what, that quarterback right there, these kids really look up to him,” Martinez said.
D.J. Shockley was named the Most Valuable Player of the SEC Championship Game after guiding the No. 13 Bulldogs to a 34-14 win over No. 3 LSU. The victory boosted Georgia to No. 8 and dropped LSU to No. 10.
Shockley completed just 6-of-12 passes for 112 yards against the Tigers, but a third of his completions were for touchdowns and he rushed for another score. His 112 yards are the second fewest ever by a winning quarterback in the SEC title game. The only winning starter to throw for fewer was LSU’s Rohan Davey in 2001. Davey threw for 84 before being injured and replaced by Matt Mauck, who threw for 67 more.
Shockley’s numbers may not have been great, but his management of the game was superb, Coach Mark Richt said.
“In the run game, I don’t think he made a mistake,” Richt said. “He made the throws on the deep balls. You miss those and you lose momentum. He just was wise in his decision when he dropped back to throw the ball. On our one sack, he was getting ready to make a hot throw and the receiver missed the sight adjustment. Instead of making something dumb happen, he just ate the ball.”
Shockley also audibled into the play that became his second touchdown pass to Sean Bailey and turned a busted play into a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Shockley was the first player to make a verbal commitment to Richt when the coach was hired in December of 2000, Richt said.
“I’m just really thrilled for D.J.,” Richt said. “I’ve known him since he was just a little whipper snapper, an eighth- or ninth-grader coming to a Florida State football camp. I didn’t know who David Greene was then. I didn’t know he was going to be a pretty good player. To be honest, I thought D.J. was going to be the guy the whole way.”
Greene ended up starting all four years of his career and left Georgia as the NCAA’s all-time winningest quarterback. That left just one season for Shockley to start. Saturday night’s victory made the four years he waited all worth it, he said as he left the Georgia Dome field.
“I wouldn’t take it back for anything,” he said.
After the game, Shockley was besieged by well-wishers, and he received an emotional hug from his dad in a hallway of the Georgia Dome. Quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo presented Shockley with a victory cigar, which Shockley said he didn’t think he’d be smoking.
“It’s a souveniar,” he said.