ATHENS, Ga. -- Thanks to last Saturday’s 42-10 win against in-state rival Georgia Tech, the Georgia players’ dreams of spending early January in Miami are still intact.
The Bulldogs (11-1) have their work cut out to reach the Jan. 7 BCS championship game, with No. 2 Alabama (11-1) -- last season’s BCS champ -- standing in their way. If the Bulldogs are to beat the Crimson Tide in Saturday’s SEC championship game, count on the leading members of this week’s Georgia 10 to make the biggest difference.
Let’s review our Georgia Power Rankings through the conclusion of the regular season (last week’s rank in parentheses):
1. Jarvis Jones (1): With nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss, Jones still made a big impact against Georgia Tech despite limited opportunities to rush the passer. He remains the national per-game leader in forced fumbles (0.6), while ranking second in tackles for a loss (1.95) and fourth in sacks (1.05).
2. Aaron Murray (2): Since a horrendous first half where he threw three interceptions against Florida, Murray has been on an absolute tear. Since halftime against the Gators, Murray has tossed 14 touchdowns and no interceptions (including two TDs against Georgia Tech). He is the nation’s highest-rated passer with an efficiency rating of 177.15.
3. Alec Ogletree (4): Ogletree was nearly unstoppable over the last month, totaling 48 tackles and six tackles for loss in the last four games. With 15 tackles against Georgia Tech, the junior linebacker broke a career high that he established earlier this season against Tennessee (14).
4. Todd Gurley (3): Gurley certainly hasn’t done anything to deserve a demotion. That’s just how good Ogletree has been of late. Gurley was great against Georgia Tech, posting 97 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He leads the team with 1,138 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
5. Malcolm Mitchell (5): Although his string of four straight games with a touchdown catch came to an end, Mitchell made the biggest play in the passing game against Georgia Tech with a 57-yard catch that set up a score. He also had a team-high 88 yards, pushing his totals for the season to 532 yards on a team-best 36 catches.
6. Bacarri Rambo (7): Rambo made perhaps the defensive play of the game when he snatched the ball away from Georgia Tech running back Robert Godhigh at the Georgia 1 in the first quarter and then returned the fumble to the 50. He also made an interception near the UGA goal line and totaled eight tackles.
7. John Jenkins (7): Alternating between defensive end and nose guard, Jenkins had one of the best games of his career against Georgia Tech, including a career-high 11 tackles. The senior is tied for eighth on the team with 44 tackles.
8. Shawn Williams (9): Williams made five tackles against Georgia Tech, but lost his team tackles lead to Ogletree. Williams is second on the team with 78 behind Ogletree’s 87.
9. Tavarres King (6): King made one catch for a 19-yard gain against the Yellow Jackets, but it could have been a much bigger game for the senior. He was open on a pair of long balls from Murray, but lost his footing just before being able to make a play on the ball. He still leads the team with 704 receiving yards on 34 catches.
10. Garrison Smith (10): Smith was one of the key figures in Georgia’s defensive front enjoying a productive afternoon against Georgia Tech. Smith finished with eight tackles and is the leading tackler among the Bulldogs’ defensive linemen with 52 stops.