UGA Football: Game Notes – Appalachian State

The Georgia Bulldogs vs. The Appalachian State Mountaineers


  • Game 1: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • Kickoff: Saturday, September 2 – 6:15 p.m. ET
  • Location: Sanford Stadium (92,746) – Athens, Ga.
  • 2016 Records: Georgia 8-5 (4-4 SEC), Appalachian State 10-3 (7-1 SunBelt)
  • Rankings: Georgia #15/15, Appalachian State NR
  • TV: ESPN – Mike Patrick (play-by-play); Tommy Tuberville (color analyst); Paul Carcaterra (sideline)
  • Video Stream:
  • Radio: WSB AM 750 – Bulldog Network | Affiliates
    Scott Howard (PxP), Eric Zeier (Color), Chuck Dowdle (sideline)
  • Audio Stream: | Mobile
  • Satellite: Sirius 134, XM 192
  • Web Stats: Live Stats
  • Twitter: #APPvsUGA
  • ReBroadcast: SEC Network: TBA

Georgia 2016 Averages App State
24.5 Scoring Offense 29.2
24.0 Scoring Defense 17.8
+8 Turnover Margin +8
384.7 Total Offense 429.9
191.2 Rushing Offense 250.9
193.5 Passing Offense 179.0
10.7 Punt Returns 12.5
20.2 Kickoff Returns 20.6


Season Openers & Bulldog History

The Bulldogs are 93-27-3 in season openers, including winning 17 of their past 20. Last year, the Kirby Smart era began with a 33-24 victory over No. 22 North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic held in Atlanta in the Georgia Dome.

The 2017 season marks the 124th year of Georgia football, and the Bulldogs are closing in on 800 all-time wins. Georgia begins this year with a record of 795-418-54. The Bulldogs win total ranks 11th nationally. Georgia enters the 2017 season ranked No. 15 in both the Associated Press and Amway/USA Today coaches polls. This year’s Bulldogs had numerous players who opted to come back for their senior seasons rather than try their chances in the NFL. These Bulldogs included tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and on defense, outside linebackers Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter and defensive backs Dominick Sanders and Aaron Davis.

Non-Conference Matchup To Start

Kirby Smart‘s second year will begin at Sanford Stadium against Appalachian State at 6:15 p.m. on ESPN. This also marks the season opener for the Mountaineers and only the second-ever meeting between the two schools. Georgia won the first matchup, cruising to a 45-6 victory Between the Hedges in 2013.

The rest of Georgia’s 2017 non-conference slate includes a road game with Notre Dame (Sept. 9), Samford (Sept. 16) in Athens and Georgia Tech (Nov. 25) in Atlanta. Georgia has faced Notre Dame only once and it was in the 1981 Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs won that showdown 17-10 to clinch the national championship. When Georgia plays host to Samford, it will be the teams’ first-ever matchup. The Bulldogs lead the series with the Yellow Jackets 65-39-5 as the Bulldogs have won 13 out of the last 16, including a 13-7 victory the last time the teams met in Atlanta in 2015.

Getting To Know The Mountaineers

Appalachian State is located in Boone, N.C., and the enrollment at the university is around 18,000 students. They like to go by “App State,” and after more than 40 years in the Southern Conference, they moved to the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in 2014.

The Mountaineers, under the direction of fifth-year head coach Scott Satterfield, are the preseason favorite in the SBC for the second straight year. App State posted a 10-3 record last year to claim its first SBC championship along with its second consecutive bowl win, a 31-28 decision over Toledo in the 2016 Raycom Camelia Bowl. The Mountaineers return 47 lettermen, including 13 of 22 starters on offense and defense. The Bulldogs welcome back 54 lettermen, including 18 starters on offense and defense.

Bulldog Graduates

Georgia has seven players on this year’s roster who have already earned their undergraduate degrees. The players who received their undergraduate degrees from UGA include: N John Atkins, OT Aulden Bynum, ILB Reggie Carter, DB Aaron Davis,QB Brice Ramsey.

Another pair of players joined the Bulldogs as graduate transfers during the offseason: Cameron Nizialek(Columbia University – Economics), David Marvin (Wofford – Biology/ Chemistry). Marvin was a summa cum laude Honors graduate for the Terriers and is working on his Master’s of Public Health at Georgia. Nizialek is working on his graduate degree in Sport Management and Policy. All of the SEC players who have achieved an undergraduate degree will be sporting the SEC Graduate patch on their uniforms this year.

Head Coach Kirby Smart


Full Name: Kirby Paul Smart
Birthdate: December 23, 1975
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
Family: Wife: Mary Beth; Children: twins Weston and Julia (Feb. 8, 2008), and Andrew (May 25, 2012)
High School: Bainbridge (Ga.)
College: BBA Georgia ’98; MS Appalachian State State ’03Coaching Experience
1999 Georgia Admin. Asst.
2000 Valdosta State Defensive Backs
2001 Valdosta State Def. Coord.
2002-03 Appalachian State State Grad. Assistant
2004 LSU Defensive Backs
2005 Georgia Running Backs
2006 Miami Dolphins Safeties
2007 Alabama Asst. HC/DBs
2008-13, ’15 Alabama Def. Coord./ILBs
2014 Alabama Asst. HC/Safeties
2016-current Georgia Head Coach

Playing Experience
Georgia (1995-98): Four-year letterman as defensive back. First team All-SEC in ’98; 13 career interceptions; four-time member of SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Bainbridge H.S. (1991-93): Three-year letterman in football, basketball, and baseball; first team Class AAAA All-State as a senior; 16 career interceptions.
High School Coach: Sonny Smart (father)

Coach Smart’s Record
Year W L Pct. SEC
2016 8 5 .615 4-4

When Georgia looked for a new head football coach after the 2015 season, the arrows pointed to Kirby Smart, longtime University of Alabama defensive coordinator and former UGA player and assistant. After one season, he has not disappointed.

In his first year leading the Bulldogs, Georgia extended its school record to 20 consecutive bowl appearances and posted five fourth-quarter comebacks including wins over No. 8 Auburn and No. 22 North Carolina. He led UGA to an 8-5 final record, which included a victory over TCU in the Liberty Bowl.

He has also made an immediate impact in recruiting circles posting the nation’s third-ranked class in 2017 following his first class in 2016 generally considered among the top ten. In addition to his coaching duties, Smart oversees the Kirby Smart Family Foundation, which is focused on being champions in the community by supporting and giving back to needy children and families.

Smart officially came home to Georgia on Dec. 6, 2015. But he still had unfinished business at Alabama, which was chasing a national title. He juggled two jobs for a month until January 11, 2016, when the Tide won its fourth national championship in a seven-year span. Twelve hours later, he was at work in Athens, where he is one of nine head coaches at schools from Power 5 conferences that are coaching at their alma mater.

Did You Know?
Kirby Smart is one of nine head coaches at schools from Power 5 conferences that are coaching at their alma maters.

The complete list:
Paul Chryst (Wisconsin) Barry Odom (Missouri)
Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) Mark Richt (Miami)
Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) David Shaw (Stanford)
Jim Harbaugh (Michigan) Kirby Smart (GEORGIA)
Cliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech)

Top Ind. Single-Game Performances Under Smart
Rushing Yards: 222, Chubb vs. #22 UNC (9/3/16)
Rushing TDs: 2, Chubb vs. #22 UNC (9/3/16), @ SC (10/9/16); Herrien @ #21 OM (9/24/16)
Longest Rush: 55-TD, Chubb vs. #22 UNC (9/3/16); 55-TD, McKenzie vs. LA (11/19/16)
Passing Yards: 346, Eason vs. VU (10/15/16)
Passing TDs: 3, Eason @ Missouri (9/17/16)
Receiving TDs: 2, McKenzie @ Missouri (9/17/16)
Longest TD Pass: 66-TD, Eason to McKenzie vs. Nicholls (9/10/16)
Longest Pass: 77, Eason to McKenzie vs. TCU (12/30/16)
Tackles: 13, R. Smith vs. Georgia Tech (11/26/16)
Sacks: 3, T. Thompson vs. TCU (12/30/16)
TFL: 3, Thompson vs. Nicholls (9/10/16)

Quick Facts

  • Led UGA to its first win over a ranked team in a season opener away from Sanford Stadium in school history, posting a 33-24 win over #22 UNC during the 2016 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic
  • In head coaching debut, Bulldogs overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and scored the final 19 points of the game in a win over the #22 Tar Heels in the Georgia Dome in 2016
  • Became first UGA football coach since Joel Hunt in 1938 to start his career 3-0 after winning his first 2016 SEC game on the road with a 28-27 victory over Missouri
  • Five fourth-quarter comebacks, including wins over #8 AU & #22 UNC

Defense/Special Teams Scores
2016: Safety vs. #22 UNC; Lorenzo Carter 24-yd fumble recovery for TD vs. Nicholls; Terry Godwin 43-yd KOR for TD @ SC; Maurice Smith 34-yd INT return for TD vs. #8 Auburn; Isaiah McKenzie 82-yd PR for TD vs. UL Lafayette

5 Victories When Tied Or Trailing Late
Year Opponent Start of 4th Qtr. Final
2016 %#22 UNC Trailed 24-23 33-24
2016 @ Missouri Trailed 27-21 28-27
2016 @ Kentucky Trailed 21-16 27-24
2016 #8 Auburn Tied 7-7 13-7
2016 ^TCU Trailed 23-21 31-23

%Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic, Ga. Dome; ^Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn.

Eason Starts Year Two At The Controls

Sophomore QB Jacob Eason served as the starter since the second game of the 2016 season and went 7-5 over that stretch, including during Georgia’s 31-23 win over TCU in the Liberty Bowl. In addition to the comeback over the Horned Frogs in the bowl game, he led the Bulldogs in three more wins with game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.

Eason notched his first win over a top-10 opponent in a 13-7 victory over #8 Auburn on Nov. 12. With the game tied at 7-7 headed into the fourth quarter, he directed two lengthy scoring drives that resulted in field goals. Eason directed a 13-play drive and a 14-play drive that each lasted nearly seven minutes. Overall, Georgia held the ball in the second half for 22:59. WR Riley Ridley finished as one of Eason’s top targets versus the Tigers, recording a career-high 89 yards on three catches.

In the road win over Kentucky, Eason directed the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter that started at the UGA 25 with 2:47 left. He was 4-for-4 for 42 yards before PK Rodrigo Blankenship‘s 25-yard field goal as time expired for a 27-24 victory.

The first career fourth quarter comeback for Eason came in the 28-27 win at Missouri in just his second career start. He finished 29-for-55 for 308 yards and three touchdowns (all were career highs). In the win over Mizzou, Eason and the Bulldogs converted a 4th-and-10 with 1:29 left that resulted in a 20-yard scoring strike to Isaiah McKenzie. This game-winning TD capped an 80-yard drive in 10 plays that took 2:03.

Eason became only the sixth Bulldog freshman QB to start a game and the first since Matthew Stafford (No. 1 NFL Draft pick in 2009 to Detroit Lions) in 2006 when he lined up behind center in the win over Nicholls last year.

2017 early enrollee Jacob Fromm starts the year as Eason’s backup at quarterback. The Warner Robins, Ga., native was a Parade All-American in 2016 after passing for 12,745 yards and 116 touchdowns in 46 games for Houston County High School.

Jacob Eason (2016 UGA)
2016 Att Cmp TD Int Yds Sk Eff.
vs. *#22 UNC 12 8 1 0 131 1 185.9
NICH (W) 20 11 1 1 204 1 147.2
@ MIZZOU (W) 55 29 3 1 308 4 114.1
@ #23< om=””> 36 16 0 1 137 3 70.9
#11 UT (L) 28 17 2 1 211 3 140.4
@ SC (W) 17 5 1 1 29 1 51.4
VU (L) 40 27 1 0 3 46 1 148.4
vs. #14 UF (L) 33 15 1 0 143 2 91.9
@ UK (W) 31 17 1 0 245 0 131.9
#8 AU (W) 31 20 0 0 208 2 120.9
LA (W) 19 13 2 1 165 0 165.5
GT (L) 27 14 1 2 139 0 92.5
^TCU (W) 21 12 2 0 164 3 154.2

*came in as a reserve

Year G/GS Cmp. Att. Pct. Yds. INT TD Eff. LG
2016 13/12 204 370 55.1 2,430 8 16 120.3 77 TCU


Chubb, Michel Highlight Bulldog Rushing Attack

The centerpieces of the Bulldog backfield are seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb ranks fifth nationally in career rushing yards among active players with 3,424 yards while Michel is 15th with 2,411. The Bulldogs are the only school with two players in the top 15. Here’s the top five active rushing leaders in NCAA FBS:

1. Royce Freeman (Oregon) Sr. 39 games 4,146 yards 44 TDs
2. Justin Jackson (Northwestern) Sr. 38 games 4,129 yards 30 TDs
3. Jarvion Franklin (W. Michigan) Sr. 40 games 3,639 yards 41 TDs
4. Larry Rose III (New Mexico St.) Sr. 31 games 3,618 yards 27 TDs
5. Nick Chubb (Georgia) Sr. 32 games 3,424 yards 29 TDs
*15. Sony Michel (Georgia) Sr. 33 games 2,411 17 TDs

They combined for 1,970 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns (also 235 receiving yards and two scores) in 2016. In the win over #8 Auburn last year, Chubb led the team with 101 rushing yards, eclipsing the 3,000-yard mark for his career (3,424). He is now one of only five Bulldogs to do that and ranks second on that list. After his 142-yard performance in the 2016 Liberty Bowl, Chubb passed the No. 3 spot held by current L.A. Ram Todd Gurley (3,285 from 2012-14). The record holder is the legendary Herschel Walker (5,259).

In his career, Michel now has 2,411 yards and that is good for 10th in school history. He went for a career-high 170 yards on 19 carries (8.9 avg.) and a touchdown in last year’s game versus Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs are the only school in the FBS to have two active rushers each with more than 2,000 yards. They lead the nation in combined yardage at 5,835.

Chubb and Michel combined for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries in the road win over South Carolina. It marked the first time since the 2014 win over Auburn that a pair of Bulldogs went over the 100-yard mark in the same game (Gurley, Chubb). Chubb and Michel are the first Bulldog teammates to each have 1,000-yard rushing seasons in their career. Michel became the 10th Georgia player in history to rush for more than 1,000 yards while starting six games in 2015 He became a starter last year after Chubb, who became the ninth running back with 1,000+ yards in 2014, went down with the knee injury against UT.

Chubb returned to the lineup in dramatic fashion in the 2016 season opener against #22 UNC, earning Maxwell Award Player of the Week honors for his efforts. After sustaining a season-ending knee injury at UT (Oct. 10, 2015), he underwent surgery and extensive rehab. Against UNC, he tallied a Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game record 222 yards on 32 carries. This marked his third career 200-yard game with only legendary running back Herschel Walker having more with nine.

Career Rushing For Sony Michel
Year G/GS Att. Yds TD LG Rec Yds TD LG
2014 8/1 64 410 5 75 7 106 1 33
2015 13/6 219 1,161 8 66 26 270 3 48
2016 12/2 152 840 4 42 22 149 1 33
Total 33/9 435 2,411 17 75 55 525 5 48


Career Rushing For Nick Chubb
Year G/GS Att. Yards Per/Att. Per/Gm. TD LG
2014 13/8 219 1,547 7.1 119.0 14 83 CSU
2015 6/6 92 747 8.1 124.5 7 83 ALA
2016 13/11 224 1,130 5.0 86.9 8 55 UNC
Total 32/25 535 3,424 6.4 107.0 29 83 (2x)


Career Receiving For Nick Chubb
Year G/GS Rec. Yards Per/Rec. Per/Gm. TD LG
2014 13/8 18 213 11.8 16.4 2 27 AUB
2015 6/6 4 32 8.0 5.3 1 24 SU
2016 13/11 5 86 17.2 6.6 1 49TD LA
Total 32/25 27 331 12.3 10.3 4 49TD LA


Developing Depth On The Offensive Line

Georgia returns just two of five offensive linemen who started a majority of the 2016 games. Senior Isaiah Wynn and junior Lamont Gaillard return while C Brandon Kublanow and tackles Greg Pyke and Tyler Catalina have exhausted their eligibility. Gaillard began to make the transition to center in the spring while Wynn worked at tackle in the preseason. Senior Dyshon Sims started at OG in the 2016 Liberty Bowl after Wynn slid over to OT for the injured Catalina. Sims gives Georgia depth across the line after playing in all 13 games last year.

The Bulldogs who have competed for playing time across the front are redshirt sophomore Pat Allen, junior Kendall Baker, redshirt freshman Solomon Kindley, redshirt freshman Ben Cleveland, junior Sean Fogarty and true freshman Andrew Thomas. Georgia’s 2017 signing class included Thomas, junior transfer DeMarcus Hayes and true freshmen Netori JohnsonJustin Shaffer and Isaiah Wilson.

Top Targets

Along with veterans Javon WimsTerry GodwinMichael Chigbu and Jayson Stanley along with second-year receiver Riley Ridley, new faces to watch include sophomore Mecole Hardman and junior Ahkil Crumpton. The receivers as a whole have made an impact with their contributions on special teams during camp. Georgia welcomes back an experienced group of tight ends in seniors Jeb Blazevich and Jordan Davis, junior Jackson Harris and sophomores Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner.

Experienced Defense Returns

Georgia welcomes back its entire starting defensive unit except STAR Maurice Smith, who completed his graduate transfer season and earned one of the team MVP awards. Four out of the top nine tacklers from 2016 were the Bulldog linebackers and all are back in 2017. Junior ILBs Roquan Smith, who had a team-leading 95 stops, and Natrez Patrick, who was second on the team with 59 tackles despite only playing in 10 games, join senior OLBs Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy on the second line of the defense. Junior DB Deandre Baker worked himself into a starting roll last year and will be teaming with a veteran defensive backfield in seniors Dominick SandersAaron Davis and Malkom Parrish. However, Parrish experienced a broken bone in his foot and surgery to repair it during camp and will be sidelined for several weeks.

Smith finished sixth on the team with 50 tackles and added two interceptions, one being a pick-six in the 13-7 win over #9 Auburn in Sanford Stadium.

Sanders Closing In On School Record

Senior safety Dominick Sanders is one of four members of Georgia’s defensive backfield who returns in 2017 along with Baker, Parrish and Davis. Sanders finished with a team-best three interceptions last year. He had an SEC-leading six picks in 2015 and finished that season with a UGA single season record of 205 interception return yards, which ranked fifth in SEC history. Sanders stands in third place for Bulldog Career Interception Yardage, just 20 yards from establishing a record. Last season, Georgia tied for third in the SEC with 15 INTs.

1. 315 Jake Scott (16) 1967-68 {fifth in SEC history}
2. 303 Scott Woerner (13) 1977-80
3. 296 Dominick Sanders (12) 2014-


Junior ILBs, Senior OLBs Return

Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick ranked 1-2 on the team in tackles with 95 and 59, respectively, in 2016. This marked the first time a sophomore led UGA in tackles since 2008 (Rennie Curran, 115).

OLBs Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter combined for 95 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, last season. Like running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, Bellamy and Carter considering leaving early for the NFL and then opted to return for their senior year in 2017.

Experienced Group For New Defensive Line Coach

The Bulldog coaching staff has one new face this season in defensive line coach Tray Scott, and he inherits an experienced unit. The elder statesman is senior nose John Atkins while the other returning starter is junior Trenton Thompson. Atkins made 22 stops while Thompson was the leading tackler among interior lineman with 56 stops, 9.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks and seven QB pressures. Thompson was named MVP of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in leading Georgia to a win over TCU, tallying three sacks and eight tackles.

Junior Jonathan Ledbetter also returns for the Bulldogs after registering 24 tackles in just seven games last year. A deep stable of sophomores will also be battling for time on the line with Julian RochesterDavid MarshallTyler Clark and Michail Carter joining junior DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle on the first line of defense for Georgia.

Players Aiming To Make An Impact

Two early enrollees and another pair of second-year Bulldogs are also looking to earn playing time in the backfield. Highly-recruited in-state standouts Richard LeCounte and Deangelo Gibbs joined the program in January and have been rotated throughout the secondary during the preseason.

J.R. Reed and Tyrique McGhee will also be vying for more playing time this fall. Reed, whose father Jake played receiver in the NFL for 12 years and whose uncle Dale also played in the League, redshirted the 2016 season after transferring from Tulsa. McGhee played in all 13 games last year and tallied nine tackles, eight of those coming on special teams.

Parrish’s recovery is listed as day to day. He started 12 of 13 games in 2016 and finished with 49 stops and two interceptions. He has 108 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four interceptions in 37 games during his Bulldog career.

Blankenship, Marvin Contending For PK Spot

Redshirt sophomore Rodrigo Blankenship emerged onto the scene last year and was named to the Freshman All-SEC team after connecting on 14-of-18 field goals and all of his 26 PATs. He will be joined in competition for the kicking spot with graduate transfer David Marvin. Blankenship drilled a game winner at Kentucky last year and booted a career-long 49 yarder versus the Wildcats as well.

Marvin, who was a Summa Cum Laude graduate in Biology/Chemistry, set the Wofford school record for most field goals in a career (32) and tied the record for the longest field goal in SoCon history at 57 yards.

Georgia’s Options At Punter

Last year, Marshall Long and Brice Ramsey shared the punting duties and averaged 37.5 yards per attempt. In 2017, Long is still recovering from a dislocated knee cap sustained during practice between Georgia’s ninth and 10th games last year. Ramsey, who started his career with the Bulldogs as a quarterback, is working only with the quarterbacks this year.

Graduate transfer Cameron Nizialek arrived in Athens during the preseason after spending his first three seasons at Columbia University. Nizialek averaged 44.8 yards on 34 punts last season and left Columbia with an undergraduate degree in Economics.

McKenzie’s Departure Opens Up Returner Spots

Isaiah McKenzie, who is now handling some of the return duties for the Denver Broncos, piled up 692 punt return yards and five touchdowns along with 375 kickoff return yards and a score during his Bulldog career that ended in 2016. Last year, McKenzie handled all 23 returns and he and Atlanta Falcons free agent Reggie Davis took 25 of Georgia’s 29 kickoff returns.

Now, Georgia must find their punt and kickoff return men for 2017. Junior Terry Godwin, junior transfer Ahkil Crumpton, sophomore Mecole Hardman and others have taken turns at punt returner leading up to the App State matchup. On kickoff returns, Hardman, senior Sony Michel, junior Jayson Stanley and others have lined up deep as the competition continues.

First-Time Starters In 2016

The Bulldogs had six first-time starters in the 2016 season opener on offense and defense and had 15 total last year. #22 UNC: Michael Chigbu (WR), Tyler Catalina (LT), Lamont Gaillard (RG) Charlie Woerner (TE), Roquan Smith (WLB) and Maurice Smith (STAR). Additionally, all three kicking specialists made their Bulldog debut in William Ham (PK, PAT, KO), Marshall Long (P) and Rodrigo Blankenship (KO).

NICHOLLS: Jacob Eason (QB), Jayson Stanley (WR)
#21 OM: David Marshall (DE)
#11 UT: Isaac Nauta (TE), Julian Rochester (DL), Deandre Baker (DB)
#14 UF: Javon Wims (WR), Jonathan Ledbetter (DL)
#8 AU: Shakenneth Williams (WR)

The True Freshman Experience

In the 2016 season opener, 12 true freshmen made their debut plus two redshirt freshmen. The Bulldogs ended last season by playing a total of 15 true freshmen and five redshirt freshmen, including SEC All-Freshman Team member PK Rodrigo Blankenship.

In 2015, a total of 22 true freshmen, which led the nation, played for the Bulldogs, including 19 in the season opener and that also led the country. Thirty-three Bulldogs earned a snap for the first time in their careers in 2015.