Following his touchdown in the second quarter of Georgia’s 45-7 win over Auburn, junior safety Bacarri Rambo couldn’t hear anything.
His 24-yard scramble after intercepting Tigers quarterback Clint Moseley pushed the crowd in Sanford Stadium to its cheering apex.
The noise left Rambo in shock as his teammates drew a flag for excessive celebration.
“I thought I went deaf for a second there,” said Rambo, who now leads the Southeastern Conference with seven interceptions.
The score, which ended with Rambo diving toward the end zone to evade would-be tacklers with the ball extended in one hand, put the Bulldogs up 21-7 over the Tigers and effectively ended the game.
Now ranked second nationally in interceptions, Rambo’s score was Georgia’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
“The defensive linemen are always on me for not following their blocks,” he said. “They told me they always set up a wedge for me. I guess I finally listened to them.”
If Rambo can snag one more pick this season, it would mark the most in a single season by a Bulldog since safety Ben Smith had 10 in 1989. Linebacker Tony Taylor also had seven in 2006.
“Bacarri is doing what he’s supposed to do,” Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings said. “He never surprises me.”
Rambo’s 12 career picks ties him for fifth in school history, four behind the record holder Jake Scott (1967-68).
“Honestly, if I had two interceptions I’d be happy,” Rambo said. “As long as we’re winning I’m happy.”
DEFENSE FUELED BY PRESSURE: After rendering the Tigers’ rushing offense ineffective early on, Georgia’s defense turned its attention to freshman quarterback Clint Moseley.
Forced to throw 27 times, Georgia’s defense sacked Moseley, who finished 11 of 22 for 140 yards, on five occasions.
“That was our gameplan coming in,” Commings said. “Once we stopped the run and built an early lead, we keyed on the pass and went after the quarterback.”
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones finished with two sacks. He leads the SEC with a season total of 10, ranking him in the top 10 nationally.
“I think when you’re having fun and doing something you love, you’re going to get better,” said Jones, who had five tackles. “Every time we get the opportunity, we want to make a statement.”
Defensive end Abry Jones had 1.5 sacks. Nose tackle John Jenkins and linebacker Christian Robinson had 1.5 sacks combined.
“You’ve got to make plays on defense this day and age,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “You’ve got to go stop people. To do that, you’ve got to attack them, be relentless in your effort and prepare during the week. If you do that, you have a chance to go make plays.”
KICKING ROTATION CONTINUES: Georgia’s senior kickers Blair Walsh and Brandon Bogotay continued the rotation that began last weekend against New Mexico State.
Bogotay kicked the team’s only field-goal attempt, hitting a 26-yarder in the third quarter. It was the first converted field goal of his career. His only other attempt was a missed 35-yard try against Idaho State last season.
“I’d been carrying around that miss for a long time,” Bogotay said. “It felt great to get my first make.”
The two each kicked off four times. Bogotay had an average of 70 yards and two touchbacks. Walsh averaged 66.8 yards with one touchback. Walsh was good on four extra points; Bogotay knocked in two.
With the second successful game of the kicking experiment completed, Bogotay expects the rotation to continue.
“Blair and I are both out there pulling for each other,” he said. “We want to help each other out and help make this team better.”
CROWELL VS. WRIGHT: After a week full of playful media jabs, Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell and Auburn defensive lineman Gabe Wright embraced following the game.
Teammates at Carver High in Columbus last season, Saturday marked the first time the two friends were on the field together since a playoff loss to Calhoun in November of 2010.
“I told him to keep his head up,” Crowell said. “Losses are going to happen. I told him wins would come for him.”
The two still text and call one another regularly, said Crowell, who finished with 132 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 carries.
Wright had four tackles, as Auburn struggled to stop the Bulldogs’ offense.
“I don’t think he (tackled me),” Crowell said. “Not that I know of.”
THIS AND THAT: Redshirt sophomore cornerback Jordan Love (broken hand) didn’t dress for the game. Coach Mark Richt said Love injured his hand in an “accident” Thursday night and added no further details. … Nose tackle Kwame Geathers needed assistance leaving the locker room following the game. He left in the second quarter with an ankle injury. … The Bulldogs’ 35 points in the first half were their most points in an opening half of an SEC game since 2003, a 37-10 lead over Alabama.