It could have been worse.
That was the collective feeling of Georgia players and coaches Saturday after seeing A.J. Green leave the game with an AC sprain in his left shoulder and safety Bacarri Rambo carted off the field following a crushing hit on Mario Fannin.
Although head coach Mark Richt said the star receiver is out indefinitely after suffering his injury early in the second quarter of Georgia's 31-24 win, Green is at least expected back for the Bulldogs' bowl game.
Rambo also received good news.
The redshirt freshman was momentarily knocked unconscious following his goal-line hit on Fannin and was fitted with a neck brace for precautionary reason. Fortunately, Richt said that Rambo was showing movement in all his extremities and aside from a concussion appears to have avoided serious injury.
"It was scary," fellow safety Reshad Jones said. "We lost one of our brothers, basically. It hurt when I saw him down and he couldn't give up."
Jones couldn't have had a better view.
With just over a minute left, Auburn faced a second-and-11 from the Bulldogs 23, when quarterback Chris Todd threw over the middle to Fannin who momentarily seemed to catch the ball at the goal line before the hit from Rambo jarred the ball loose.
Georgia players celebrated, but only for a moment upon realizing that Rambo was still on the Sanford Stadium turf.
That's just where he stayed for approximately 15 minutes while medical personnel stabilized his neck before carting him off the field.
"I saw break, he was coming for the ball, both of us were coming so I didn't want to jump because I could see he was about to make a play," Jones said. "He just went down hard. He gave the guy a good shot."
Wide receiver Israel Troupe was watching from the sideline.
"It was gut-wrenching to see him get hurt. I saw the play. When he made it I was yelling and about to run on the field, then I saw him go down. It hurt me to see him go down because have been friends like forever," Troupe said. "But as soon as I saw him moving, I knew everything was OK."
Rambo's hit likely kept the game from going into overtime.
Once play resumed, the Bulldogs sacked Todd before a fourth-down pass was tipped away by Bryan Evans.
"He's really playing extremely well. Rambo is going to be a really great football player; he's made a lot of plays for us this year," Richt said. "I love our other two safeties, Reshad and Bryan but this kid has earned his playing time with the veterans in there."
Green's injury came following a hit on his left shoulder after catching a 12-yard pass early in the second quarter.
"Honestly, I didn't know he was hurt until that series was over. We just had to keep going," fellow wideout Tavarres King said. "Troupe stepped up tremendously, he had two nice catches. It was just an all-out great effort by him. We all had to step up and I think we did."
Charles comes up huge
Freshman tight end Orson Charles fancies himself a history buff when it comes to some of biggest plays in the history of professional football.
So, it should come as no surprise that he already knew about Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" in the 1972 AFC playoff game between Pittsburgh and Oakland.
That was the nickname given Harris' catch and run, which won the legendary game for the Steelers.
Saturday, Charles had a catch he won't soon forget, either.
"Some other people had mentioned that to me," Charles said.
With Georgia facing a third-and-8 from its 20, quarterback Joe Cox threw a pass that was tipped by Josh Byrnes right into the arms of Charles who never broke stride.
The play picked up 34 yards and set up Washaun Ealey's go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run.
"God was just looking out for me," Charles said. "The guy didn't come up with the interception. I just had to go get it."
Dawgs cut down penalties
After being besieged with penalties for most of the year, Georgia was only flagged four times for 29 yards against Auburn, including just one the entire second half.
Last week, Richt decided to punish his guilty players by pulling them from an entire series once a penalty flag was thrown.
Saturday, Richt intended to do the same thing, but after an early offside call in the first quarter, he changed his mind. Well, kind of.
To be honest with you, I forgot the first time and after that I was like "oh, shoot, since I forgot, I'm not going to do it to the next guy," Richt said. "But I do know last week when I started doing it, it got everybody tight and out of sorts, Guys were afraid to play another snap for fear they might jump offside or something and coaches I could tell were kind of pressing. It was affecting us in a negative way. Fortunately, we just stopped doing it and we won the game because we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot like we've been all season long."
This and that
Representatives from the Music City and Chick-fil-A Bowls were among those in attendance Saturday.
Linebacker Darius Dewberry suffered an elbow injury and did not return.
Junior Akeem Dent got the first start of the season at SLB after returning from a hamstring injury. Also, redshirt sophomore defensive end Justin Houston returned to the starting lineup against the Tigers after sitting out the Tennessee Tech game with an elbow injury.
Bulldogs had a baseball decal with the initials "CV" that they wore on the back of their helmets in honor of UGA baseball student-athlete Chance Veazey. Veazey, a 5-9, 175-pound freshman native of Tifton was involved in a motor vehicle accident shortly after leaving the Miller Learning Center on October 28. He is continuing his rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. The Veazey family provided approximately 1,000 "Team Veazey" t-shirts for UGA students. Many of the students wore them in a show of support for Chance and to raise awareness for the "Prayers for Chance" fund.
Georgia (6-4, 4-3 SEC) hosts Kentucky (6-4, 2-4 SEC) on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. The game will either be televised by ESPN or ESPN2. Georgia leads the series 49-11-2, including the Bulldogs' 42-38 win in Lexington last year.
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