Dawgs and Cocks' Special Teams Play All Night

Posted Sep 13, 2009

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt told reporters at practice Tuesday the game against South Carolina could come down to special teams play.

The statement proved accurate.

Georgia sophomore Brandon Boykin set a team record with his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the 1st quarter.

Blair Walsh connected on a 50-yard field goal and boomed two touchbacks on kickoffs.

Defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson blocked an extra-point attempt, setting up Georgia’s four-point lead, which took away the option for South Carolina to tie with a field goal on the final drive of the game.

“I knew it was going to be a battle that could come down to field position and field goals,” Walsh said. “I knew it was going to be a close game and I knew this whole week the game could come down to special teams and I think we did the best possible job.

Boykin narrowly missed taking a second return to the end zone, gaining 48-yards before a shoestring tackle.

His return for touchdown displayed speed and strength, as Boykin broke one tackle and outran everyone else. The return was the longest since Lindsey Scott returned a kickoff 99-yards against Lousiana State in 1978.

“I took off to the sideline and everybody maintained their block,” Boykin said. “It was just open space for me. I had to score.”

“I’m really proud of him,” Richt said of Boykin. “He’s a tremendous athlete. I wished we had three of him.”

Freshman Branden Smith, after fumbling his first kick return, also added a 48-yard return.

“It was a lot of pressure, but that’s what it takes. I had to step up and redeem myself,” said Smith, who had a 61-yard rushing touchdown. “I’m only a freshman but I just had to step my game up.”

Tyson’s blocked extra-point in the fourth quarter kept Georgia ahead, 38-37, slowing South Carolina’s momentum after Eric Norwood’s interception and touchdown.

“That’s just a guy giving effort when some people don’t play hard because they don’t think they can block it,” Richt said.

South Carolina kicked five field goals, tying a school record. But in the end, it was the field goal they couldn’t kick that mattered most.

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