Appalachian State running back and Dacula alum Marcus Cox has made quite an impression in his freshman season, coming into Saturday’s game with 857 yards on the ground with nine TDs.
He was also riding a streak of three straight games with more than 100 yards rushing, but Georgia’s defense ended that mark by holding Cox to 59 yards on 23 carries and no scores.
“Marcus has been our workhorse guy and we couldn’t really get him loose today,” Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield said. “(Georgia) was just bigger and stronger than us, but 59 yards against those guys isn’t a bad day.”
Cox has also been a threat in the passing game as he had 515 yards and five more TDs receiving coming into Saturday.
His biggest play against Georgia came through the air in the first quarter when he took a screen pass 16 yards from Georgia’s 34 down to the 18. That play helped set up the Mountaineers first score of the game on Drew Stewart’s 33-yard field goal. He finished with two catches for 20 yards.
Cox was also credited for something most running backs don’t achieve when he forced a fumble in the third quarter.
Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera intercepted a Kameron Bryant pass on Appalachian State’s 37 and returned it 12 yards to the 25. On the play, Herrera was upended by Cox, causing him to fumble the ball before landing on the ground. The ball was recovered by the Mountaineers’ Andrew Peacock.
Aaron Murray’s 23-yard TD pass to Michael Bennett with 11:28 left in the second quarter not only put the Bulldogs up 14-6, it also put Murray atop the field with the most career TD passes in SEC history.
The scoring connection was Murray’s 115th of his career, moving him past Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1993-96). Murray tied the record in the first quarter when he connected with Rantavious Wooten on a 35-yard score with 4:53 left in the period.
The record was broken at the 11:28 mark in the second when Murray connected with Bennett across the middle with a 23-yard strike. Bennett took a hard hit as he crossed the goal line and was briefly shook up but returned to finish the game with five catches for 87 yards and one TD.
Suwanee residents shine on defense
Another pair of Gwinnett graduates made their presence known against the Bulldogs in defensive players Brandon McGowan and Alex Gray.
McGowan, a junior linebacker from North Gwinnett, led the Mountaineers in tackles with seven (five solo), while freshman defensive back Gray from Peachtree Ridge finished the game with five stops (four solo). Central Gwinnett’s Malachi Jones also started at wide receiver with the sophomore catching two passes for 10 yards. He now has 25 receptions on the year for 239 yards.
The problems with Georgia’s spcecial teams have been well documented throughout the season, and the unit was met with mixed results on Saturday.
One upside came in the second quarter when Jordan Jenkins blocked Drew Stewart’s attempt at a 49-yard field goal. However, a faked punt in the second quarter on fourth-and-five failed when an inside sweep to Reggie Davis failed when Davis was halted for no gain.
The defense, however, bailed Georgia out with the following possession when Stewart was wide left on his attempt at a 46-yard kick.
Wooten tops cenury mark
Rantavious Wooten had a career day for Georgia, catching four balls for 104 yards and one TD, marking the first time in his career he surpassed the 100-yard mark in a game.
“For me, this game is all about fun, and today was that,” Wooten said. “It’s also all about seeing preparation and opportunity turn into results. I was glad to make some big plays today and help us get a win.