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No. 9/7 Georgia Rallies To Thwart Colorado Upset Bid
Release: September 23, 2006
By: Associated Press
CU tight ends Dan Goettsch (left) and Riar Geer celebrate Bernard Jackson's 1-yard touchdown run against Georgia.
Photo Courtesy: Associated Press
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ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia freshman quarterback Joe Cox came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes in the last 9:11 -- the second a 20-yarder with 46 seconds left -- as the No. 9/7 ranked Bulldogs rallied from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to defeat Colorado 14-13.

Cox, who took over late in the third quarter for an ineffective Matthew Stafford, threw a 23-yard TD pass to fullback Brannan Southerland for Georgia's first touchdown. Cox capped the comeback with his 20-yarder to tight end Martrez Milner.

"You think about in situations like that you might be nervous, but that was the most comfortable I've been," Cox said. "I was out there laughing and having a good time."

Milner led Georgia with four catches for 64 yards.

"It was a heck of a bullet we dodged," Milner said.

Colorado, 0-4 under new coach Dan Hawkins, built a 13-0 lead behind quarterback Bernard Jackson, who passed for 140 yards and ran for 85 yards and a touchdown. But Cox brought the Bulldogs (4-0) back from the brink of what would have been a shocking loss.

The loss was the eighth straight over two seasons for Colorado, its longest losing streak in 42 years.

Cox finished 10-of-13 for 153 yards, including his first two TD passes. Stafford was 8-of-16 for 76 yards and a fumble.

Georgia was in danger of its first shutout loss since 1995 before Cox saved the day.

Georgia completed the comeback even though Colorado made two fourth-down stops in the final quarter.

"We are never down," Hawkins said. "We are fighters and not quitters. We did not knock them out when we had the chance."

Added Hawkins: "This loss tears your guts out. ... We did not come here to show up and play. We came here to win."

After Georgia's first touchdown, Bulldogs' cornerback Paul Oliver caused a fumble with a hit on Hugh Charles, and defensive tackle Jeff Owens recovered at the 50 to give Georgia an opportunity. But on fourth-and-3 at the 11, Cox's pass was deflected at the line by cornerback J.J. Billingsley.

Georgia's defense held, and the Bulldogs took possession for their last drive at the Colorado 43. On the drive, Cox passed to Mohamed Massaquoi for 11 yards to the 25 before finding Milner in the middle of the end zone on a third-and-6.

"He was in man-to-man coverage and I knew if I got it up high enough over his shoulder he would have a chance," Cox said of Milner.

Said Milner: "It was a great ball. When I caught the ball, in my mind I knew the game was over."

On Cox's first possession, he drove Georgia deep into Colorado territory, but the Buffaloes stopped tailback Kregg Lumpkin on a fourth-and-3 run from the 13.

"Today's game showed that we're better than our 0-4 record," said Colorado defensive tackle George Hypolite, who had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, two sacks and three tackles for losses.

Colorado shut down Georgia's running game until Lumpkin, third on the Bulldogs' depth chart at tailback, gained 52 yards, most in the final quarter.

The Buffaloes outrushed the Bulldogs 173-54.

Colorado led 10-0 at halftime, but it could have been a bigger lead.

Colorado was denied on its first scoring opportunity when Dale Dixson blocked Mason Crosby's 26-yard field-goal attempt. Later in the first quarter, a would-be touchdown pass from Jackson to Dusty Sprague was negated by a false-start penalty, forcing the Buffaloes to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Crosby.

Colorado needed only four plays to drive 63 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. Jackson kept Georgia's defense off-balance, running before passing to Sprague for a 16-yard gain and then dropping back to pass before running for 28 yards to the Georgia 19.

Jackson's screen pass to Charles gained 18 yards to the 1, and the quarterback scored on a keeper the following play.

Georgia's only scoring threat of the half ended with a missed 53-yard field goal attempt by Brandon Coutu.

A turnover helped set up a 36-yard field goal by Crosby early in the second half. Hypolite sacked Stafford on Georgia's first possession of the half, causing a fumble that Hypolite recovered at the 19. The field goal pushed the lead to 13-0.

Charles rushed for 72 yards on 18 carries. Redshirt freshman tight end Riar Geer had a seven catches for 71 yards.

Colorado outgained Georgia 313-284 and held an eight minute edge in time of possession.

With Georgia now heading into its Southeastern Conference schedule next week at Mississippi, Cox may have earned his first start.

"It's hard to say exactly what to do for sure," said Georgia coach Mark Richt, who already has tried Joe Tereshinski and Stafford, as starting quarterbacks.

Now, the quarterback competition is open again.

"We'll have to step back and look at the big picture again, but Joe Cox threw his hat in there real strong," Richt said.

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