A couple of times after North Texas’ Derek Thompson absorbed a hit from Georgia’s defense, outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins could hear the quarterback voice his frustration.
AJ Reynolds/Staff, @ajreynoldsphoto
Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd (84) celebrates a sack during the first half of the NCAA college football game between Georgia and North Texas in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.
“Two or three times, he’d say, ‘Oh, [expletive]’ or ‘Oh, no,’” Jenkins said. “He was scared at times. When you get hit that many times, I would be, too.”
And the hits kept coming for a number of players on North Texas’ offense. Nine Bulldogs contributed to 10 tackles for loss in Georgia’s (2-1) 45-21 win over the North Texas (2-2) on Saturday.
“I was really proud of our defense and their mental toughness, their ability to handle some adverse situations,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said.
Freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd sacked Thompson twice for losses of eight and nine yards in the first quarter, his first of the season.
That first sack offered some relief for Floyd, who said after the game that his coaches had been “getting on him” all week because he hadn’t recorded a sack yet.
“When I got that first sack, I felt a lot of stress off my soul,” Floyd said.
It was also a challenge for Jenkins, who has yet to record a sack this season.
“I’ve definitely got to step myself up this week and catch up to him,” Jenkins said. “I can’t let him beat me.”
This was the first time North Texas had been held to less than 100 rushing yards this season. In a 34-27 win against Ball State last week, North Texas racked up 231 rushing yards on 45 carries.
Georgia allowed 197 rushing yards in its season-opening loss to Clemson and 226 rushing yards to South Carolina. This week, the Bulldogs held North Texas to seven rushing yards, nine of which came on the final two drives of the game. North Texas had minus-2 rushing yards heading into its final drives.
“Any time you can hold guys to a negative number like that going into a drive when you’re up, I guess that’s good,” Grantham said. “I was pleased with what they did.”
The stout defensive performance might have been just what Georgia needed to tune up for a tilt against No. 6 LSU next week. The Tigers were ranked sixth in rushing yards and tied for third in rushing touchdowns in the SEC heading into a game against Auburn on Saturday.
“[This] was definitely something big,” Jenkins said. “I feel like [LSU] has the same offense at times and they have similarities in their quarterbacks. I feel like it was a good thing.”
Jenkins and Floyd said they’d felt like the defense had clicked this week. Don’t tell head coach Mark Richt that, though.
“We want them as confident as possible, but we don’t want them to think they’ve arrived,” Richt said. “They’ve got a long way to go, that’s for sure.”