Stafford gets first start - Dawgs blank UAB
Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Dawg Post Reporter
Posted Sep 16, 2006


ATHENS – Matthew Stafford didn’t prove a lot in his first collegiate start, but if Georgia’s defense keeps up its current pace, he won’t have to for a while.

The No. 10 Bulldogs whipped UAB 34-0 thanks to their defense’s first back-to-back shutouts since the 1980 national championship season.

“I don’t even think we’ve touched what we can do as an offense,” Stafford said, “and shoot if our defense gets any better… I don’t know if you can have negative points or not.”

Georgia (3-0) held the Blazers, who scored 17 points two weeks ago against Oklahoma, to 163 yards, 2.9 per play. A Sanford Stadium crowd of 92,746 saw UAB get within 45 yards of the end zone just once on a beautiful 80-degree day.

“Their defense is very good,” Blazers coach Watson Brown said after his team fell to 1-2. “They’re more physical up front than anybody we’ve played in recent years, and the secondary is pretty solid also.”

Georgia has given up just one touchdown this season, to Western Kentucky in the second quarter of the season’s first game. The two shutouts in two weeks matches the Bulldogs’ total from the previous six years combined.

“I didn’t know (about the back-to-back shutouts) until I heard it from the P.A. announcer,” cornerback Paul Oliver said. “We’re really excited about that. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going.”

Georgia will return to Sanford Stadium on Saturday to face Colorado, which played Arizona State late Saturday. The Buffaloes have gotten off to a very slow start under first-year coachDan Hawkins, who played in Athens last year as Boise State’s head coach. Colorado lost to Division I-AA Montana State and rival Colorado State in their first two games.

Stafford, a true freshman who was elevated to the top spot by an injury to Joe Tereshinski, directed a mostly conservative offense that compiled 231 yards and scored two touchdowns under his direction. Georgia’s close-to-the-vest game plan was more a reflection of what it saw from UAB’s defense than any lack of confidence in Stafford, quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo said.

“I just wanted to go out there and do whatever I could to help us win,” Stafford said. “If that’s hand it off and throw short, I’m going to do it. I feel like I managed the game ten-fold better than I did last week.”

Stafford completed 10 of 17 passes for 107 yards. He didn’t throw an interception or a touchdown pass, but he did shake off 250- pound UAB defensive end Jermaine McElveen to rush for a 4-yard score in the fourth quarter.

“Matthew made some nice decisions,” Richt said. “He did not throw any balls or make any decisions that could have gotten him in trouble.”

Georgia finished with 271 total yards after Joe Cox directed one drive to end the game.

“We shot ourselves in the foot all day offensively,” Richt said. “The good news is we do have the potential to play better than we performed today, and we’re really working on that.”

There’s plenty of time considering the way the other side of the ball is playing.


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