The list includes Robert Edwards, who would rush for 1,000
yards as a NFL
rookie in 1998. It includes 1998 Super Bowl MVP and three-time All-Pro
Terrell Davis, who led the NFL with 2,008 yards rushing in 1998 and led the
AFC in rushing two other years.
Other notable Georgia backs who couldn’t reach 1,000 yards
in recent years
include Olandis Gary, who reached the milestone in his 1999 NFL rookie
season with Denver, Torin Kirtsey, Jasper Sanks, Verron Haynes and Patrick
Pass. In the 2000 season, Georgia’s leader — Brett Millican, with 375 yards
— didn’t even reach 400 yards rushing.
Since Hearst rushed for 1,594 yards and finished third in the
in 1992, no Georgia back has reached 1,000 yards. Edwards was the closest,
with 908 yards in 1997.
Now Smith has 952 yards rushing as he prepares for the Nov. 30
final regular-season game against Georgia Tech. Though he says his focus is on
beating Tech and then winning the Southeastern Conference championship game
on Dec. 7, he did not hesitate when asked about the significance of rushing
for 1,000 yards.
"It just means a lot,’’ Smith said. "In the last
10 years, how many backs
have been through here? A lot of good backs. To get that 1,000-yard mark is
going to feel real good.’’
Barring injury, Smith is a lock. The SEC championship game has
counted in regular-season stats. For the first time this year, NCAA
regular-season stats also will include bowl games.
Smith wants to reach the mark against Tech. Though this has
been a 12-game
season, he missed one game with a broken thumb and so would be hitting 1,000
yards in what for him has been an 11-game season.
Smith’s 2001 fight with a lingering groin injury makes this year’s success
"A lot of people had doubts, saying I was injury prone,’’
Smith said. "They
wondered if I would ever last to the end of a season.’’
There are other personal milestones to be won:
Receiver Terrence Edwards already has the Georgia career
receptions, receiving yards, touchdown catches and games with 100 yards
Now Edwards is only two touchdown catches away from the SEC career record of
31 set by Florida’s Chris Doering (1992-95). That record seemed out of reach
when Edwards suffered a separated shoulder against Mississippi and missed
last week’s win over Auburn. The senior made a surprise return to practice
Wednesday and has a chance of playing at least a limited role against Tech.
Receiver and return specialist Fred Gibson could reach a
first time he touches the ball against Tech — perhaps on the game’s opening
Despite missing the Kentucky and Florida games with a thumb injury, Gibson
has 981 all-purpose yards, including 580 yards receiving and 407 yards in
kickoff returns. (He lost six yards on his one carry of the season against
Senior linebacker Tony Gilbert is aware that he trails fellow
Bailey by nine tackles in the chase for the team lead. Gilbert has claimed
top honors the last two years and would be only the second player, following
Ben Zambiasi (1975-77), to lead the team three straight years.
Gilbert now has 91 stops; Bailey leads with 100.
"I’ll take being behind Boss,’’ Gilbert said.
"We’ve been through so many
things. Just to get 100 and be in the 300 club (for career tackles) would
be a plus for me.’’ Added Gilbert: "As long as we keep getting more
trophies, I won’t feel bad
Gilbert already has passed the 300 mark to move into Georgia’s
top 15 career
David Greene has thrown 20 touchdown passes this season, four
Zeier’s Georgia record of 24 in 1993 and 1994.
Twice this season Greene has passed for four touchdowns in a game — against
Kentucky and Northwestern State.
Defensive end David Pollack leads the SEC with 11 sacks, 28
pressures and 19 tackles for loss. In addition to playing for those honors,
Pollack is two sacks away from the Georgia single-season record of 13 set by
Mitch Davis in 1993.
"Of course you think about stuff like that,’’ Pollack
said. "You’re human.
But it really isn’t about an individual. It isn’t about a stat. It’s a
matter of who is winning.’’
Terrence Edwards: SEC career TD receptions record At 29, is two away
from Chris Doering’s mark
Fred Gibson: 1,000 all-purpose yards Now has 981
Tony Gilbert: Georgia tackles leader 3 straight years,
Bailey by nine tackles
David Greene: Georgia record for TD passes in a season
With 20, 4 behind Eric Zeier
David Pollack: Georgia sacks record With 11, is two
shy of Mitch Davis’ mark set in 1993
Musa Smith: 1,000 yards rushing At 952 yards, Smith
seems to be a lock
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