Thursday, September 13, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 15


A bone to pick with the Bulldogs

By Tom Carpenter
Daily Cougar Staff

It's impossible for the Cougars to avoid the doghouse Saturday, and it's not just a matter of winning or losing.

Traveling to Athens, Ga., to battle the Georgia Bulldogs puts the Cougars smack dab in the middle of Sanford Stadium and 85,000 howling football fanatics who love
their "Dawgs."

The Cougars, who hold a 2-1-1 edge against Georgia, picked a bad year to walk the "dawg."

Georgia has won eight or more games for four consecutive seasons and finished in the Top 20 each of those years. The Bulldogs won their season opener against
Arkansas State but stumbled for the second year in a row against South Carolina.

This season begins head coach Mark Richt's first year as the Georgia coach.

Unlike the situation Cougar head coach Dana Dimel inherited, Richt's returning players accounted for 66 percent of the rushing yardage in 2000 (953 of 1,451), 47
percent of the team's passing yardage (1,115 of 2,365) and 80 percent of the team's receptions (145 of 181).

Four of the top five tacklers return on defense, including senior safety Jermaine Phillips, one of the team's biggest hitters.

The Georgia kicking game ranks as one of the best in the nation.

Sophomore place kicker Billy Bennett, a walk-on in 2000, returns as the Georgia record holder and should compete for the Lou Groza Award. Bennett hit four-of-six
field goals in the season opener against Arkansas State.

Punter Jonathan Kilgo's net punting average is better than his average. Kilgo averages 45 yards (10 for 450 yards) a punt with a net average of 45.2 yards (4 returns
for minus two yards).

Last season he averaged 42.2 yards a punt with a Southeast Conference best of 39.5 net average.

If the Bulldogs have a weakness, it's at quarterback, where redshirt freshman David Greene toils, sharing time with junior Cory Phillips.

The Cougar defense will have an opportunity to tee off on the inexperienced Greene, a must for the Cougars to have a shot at the upset.

Another loss will almost certainly find the Cougars chained to the Dawg house, listening to the growls of disgruntled fans.

However, those snarls won't compare to the frenzied howls they'll hear if the Federal Aviation Administration allows the Cougars to board a plane Friday and take off
for Athens in the wake of the terrorist attack on America.

Georgia fans pack Sanford Stadium every home game to root for their Dawgs. The Cougars can't afford another case of stage fright if they hope to grab a win in the
Dawg house.

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