Today is a special day in Bulldog Nation. Today, for the first time this season, the Georgia Bulldogs will take the field not just as the defending SEC East champions from 2011, but as the newly-crowned SEC East champions for 2012, as well. Also, because the Red and Black were on the road for Veterans Day weekend, today will be Military Appreciation Day in Sanford Stadium, as our servicemen and servicewomen will be recognized on the field and the colors will be presented by the University of Georgia ROTC.
Finally, owing to the early kickoff time, the Dawg Sports staff has elected to eschew the usual general college football thread for the noon games, preferring instead to open this week’s first-half Georgia game thread a little early and allow it to do double duty as the focal point for discussion of the Bulldogs’ matchup with Georgia Southern and the place for offering observations about the rest of the early afternoon action around college football, as well . . . all, of course, while bearing in mind Spears’s observation that this is the only game that matters in all the world. As always, look to your moderators for assistance and guidance, for they are here to help.
The only duty left to me to perform ere kickoff occurs, of course, is the anointing of this week’s Dawg Sports honorary game captain for the Classic City Canines’ clash with the Eagles. The choice was clear, so we have selected none other than Danny Ware, who rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries in Georgia’s 2004 season opener against Georgia Southern, averaging 7.5 yards per carry while opening the scoring with a ten-yard run in the first quarter, opening the second-half scoring with a three-yard run in the third quarter, and closing out the scoring with a one-yard run to paydirt in the final minute of a 48-28 Bulldog win.
The game was Ware’s first as a starter; after redshirting in 2003, he stepped in to fill the void left when Kregg Lumpkin was lost to a knee injury in August, and Ware’s breakout day against the Eagles served as the springboard for a 692-yard rushing season. At the time, Ware’s 2004 season was the sixth-best in Georgia history for a freshman running back, but it was only the second-best that autumn: Thomas Brown, Ware’s fellow freshman, gained 875 yards on the ground that season. Brown’s and Ware’s 2004 total of 1,567 rushing yards was the best ever by a rookie Bulldog tailback tandem.
Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall eclipsed that mark last weekend. Both underclassmen had 100-yard days against the Auburn Tigers, bringing their combined season-long rushing tally to 1,598 yards. Marshall needs only 68 more rushing yards to pass Ware for tenth on the all-time Georgia freshman running back list, and Gurley is 27 yards shy of becoming the third freshman 1,000-yard rusher in school history. Here’s hoping both halves of the "Gurshall" tailback tandem follow in Danny Ware’s footsteps against Georgia Southern today.