ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia went through all of last season
without a 100-yard runner.
Of course, the Bulldogs didn't have Danny Ware then.
Making quite a college debut, Ware rushed for 135 yards and
three touchdowns to lead Georgia (No. 4 ESPN/USAToday; No. 3) to a 48-28 victory over
Georgia Southern on Saturday.
"The whole experience has not set in yet," he said. "I'll
have to go home and watch ESPN."
Ware was the first freshman running back to start his first game
at Georgia since 1943. Not even Herschel Walker could make that
"People have compared me to Herschel Walker," Ware said. "I
can't fill that man's shoes."
But he did set a much-needed tone for Georgia's running game,
which went through all 14 games without producing a 100-yard rusher
last season -- the first time that had happened in 31 years.
"We're glad to have that monkey off our back," coach Mark
Richt said. "Danny ran beautifully."
Ware scored Georgia's first touchdown on a 10-yard run. He added
a 3-yarder less than three minutes into the second half, sparking a
28-point third quarter that blew open a close game.
Georgia put its first-teamers back on the field after Georgia
Southern scored a couple of quick TDs late in the game. With less
than a minute to go, Ware finished off his big day with a 1-yard
dive into the end zone, becoming the first Georgia player since
Musa Smith in the 2001 opener to score three TDs in a game.
"I thought I was done," Ware said. "I was glad they put me
back in. I told the line, 'Let's go out there and get it."
Ware was the first freshman tailback to make his Georgia debut
as a starter since the NCAA allowed freshman to play on the varsity
in 1973. Player shortages during World War II forced the Bulldogs
to start an all-freshman backfield in 1943.
Another freshman back, Thomas Brown, made his mark right away
with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Richt has certainly been impressed with Ware's durability. The
running back enrolled at Georgia in time to take part in practices
leading up to last season's Capital One Bowl -- and he hasn't missed
a day yet because of injuries.
"He may not have gotten stronger as the game went along,"
Richt said, "but he was stronger than the guys around him. He was
breaking more tackles as the game went along."
The Bulldogs also struck for a couple of long scores while
improving to 3-0 overall against Georgia Southern. Tyson Browning
had a 72-yard punt return and Reggie Brown caught a 43-yard pass
from David Greene.
The Eagles, who have won six I-AA championships, kept things
close in the first half with their option offense, which held the
ball for more than 20 minutes.
Even so, Georgia went to the break with a 13-7 lead.
Andy Bailey's 21-yard field goal broke a 7-all tie with 2:40
left in the half. The freshman added a 31-yarder with 13 seconds to
go after David Pollack forced a fumble by Southern quarterback Chaz
"I thought we showed a lot of heart," Eagles coach Mike Sewak
said. "Georgia is a very deep team."
The Bulldogs broke it open in the third quarter. Taking the
second-half kickoff, they quickly drove 65 yards in seven plays to
go ahead 20-7. Greene hooked up withBrown on a 23-yard completion
and Ware set up his second TD by rambling 18 yards to the 3.
After Georgia Southern went three-and-out, Browning took a punt
at his own 28 and found a huge hole up the right side. Not even
running full speed, he cruised along behind his blockers, made one
cutback at the Eagles 40 and raced untouched for the touchdown,
putting the Bulldogs up 27-7.
ThomasBrown's short run and ReggieBrown's long catch made it
41-14 at the end of the third quarter. On the latter score, Greene
dropped the snap but picked it up in time to find his receiver open
over the middle. After breaking one tackle,Brown took it all the
way to the end zone.
Greene, who has chance to become the winningest quarterback in
NCAA history this season, completed 9 of 14 passes for 161 yards.
Georgia Southern kept the game respectable even though top
runner Jermaine Austin went out in the first half with a sprained
ankle. Brandon Andrews took over, leading the Eagles with 83 yards
on 20 carries.
The Eagles rushed for 294 yards.
But Williams passed for only 12 yards, completing three of 12
with an interception. Backup Trey Hunter did better, running for
one TD and throwing for another score.
"We knew that no one was giving us a chance to win," safety
James Young said. "We believed in ourselves, and we came out and
played as hard as we could."