Notebook: Injuries decimate Bulldogs’ lineup

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The injuries didn’t stop even after Georgia got off the field Saturday night in Neyland Stadium.

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Georgia running back Keith Marshall is carted off the field after a first-quarter injury against Tennessee.

Coach Mark Richt was bleeding after he cut a finger when he moved his chair for his postgame news conference after the Bulldogs’ 34-31 overtime victory against upset-minded Tennessee.

“Hopefully, you guys can stand to look at blood right now,” Richt said.

Georgia already lost receiver Malcolm Mitchell to a season-ending knee injury in the opener.

Fans will now brace to learn if other players are also done for the season after right knee injuries to tailback Keith Marshall and wide receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley are a major cause of concern.

“You can ask me about injuries but I’m going to say I don’t know,” Richt said.

Marshall was expected to carry Georgia’s running game against Tennessee with Todd Gurley sidelined. Marshall was helped off the field and had to be picked up and carried from the trainer’s table to a cart that took him through a tunnel in Neyland Stadium. He was seen on crutches after the game.

Players hugged him on the sideline and Marshall shed tears. Trainers worked on him.

He left the game after rushing for 33 yards on five carries and was hurt trying to catch a pass when cornerback Cameron Sutton collided with him. Linebacker Amarlo Herrera patted Marshall on the back and Bennett hugged him.

Then Bennett, who was lost last season with a torn ACL, went down again with an injury to the same knee in the third quarter. Scott-Wesley later was injured covering a kick in the same quarter.

Bennett was on the training table with his parents next to him after sustaining his own knee injury and then stood on the sidelines.

“Now [walk-on Kenneth] Towns and [redshirt freshman Blake] Tibbs are probably going to get a lot more work,” Richt said of players that were deep down the depth chart.

The one bit of good news is that Gurley could be back from his sprained ankle as early as Saturday against Missouri.

“We’re not counting out this game here,” Richt said. “I’d be really surprised if he couldn’t make it for Vanderbilt (the week after) and I think it’s probably 50-50 on this one.”

Morgan boots new career-best field goal

Marshall Morgan’s career-long field goal only lasted a week.

The sophomore got Georgia on the board with a 56-yarder after connecting from 55 last week against LSU. It was the longest field goal on the road in program history.

“I’m proud of Marshall Morgan,” Richt said. “That [56]-yarder was pretty spectacular. That final kick, we’d still be playing if he didn’t make that one. That was big.”

It was the longest field goal ever against Tennessee and ever in Neyland Stadium.

The game-winner for Morgan came from 42 yards in overtime.

“Right when I hit it, I knew I hit it well, I knew it was good,” Morgan said. “There wasn’t much wind so I knew if I hit it like I’ve been practicing all week and all summer, it would be successful. The snap was there and the hold was there.”

Richt said he remembered back to the Outback Bowl in the 2011 season.

“In the bowl game, we just centered it up and kicked it and missed it. I wanted to at least try to advance the ball the best we could without getting too crazy,” Richt said. “We knew we were in field goal range immediately. We tried to get it closer, couldn’t get it closer. We ended up on the left hash.”

Wooten steps up against Volunteers

When Georgia needed someone to step up for its injury-riddled receiving corps Saturday, Rantavious Wooten was there.

The fifth-year senior led Georgia with a career-high six catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns. His previous high for receptions was four against South Carolina last season.

“Coach [Tony] Ball always says you’re one play away from being a starter, so prepare like it,” Wooten said. “It sucks. Those are my brothers, man. We’re a family.”

Wooten had a 4-yard touchdown on a slant for a 17-3 Georgia lead with 5:09 left in the first quarter and then the game-tying 2-yard touchdown with five seconds left in regulation

Quick hits

Richt said a player simply “whiffed” on a block for Tennessee’s punt block for touchdown. Jalen Reeves-Maybin blocked a Collin Barber punt that Devaun Swafford returned 15 yards for a touchdown. “They came and pressured,” Richt said. “They’re not a heavy pressure team but they saw the possibility of let’s see if Georgia can figure it out and they came at least three or four times, maybe five.” … Former Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and Richt spent about 10 minutes chatting pregame on the field. Bulldogs running backs coach Bryan McClendon came by to give Martinez a hug and some Georgia staffers also greeted the current Volunteers defensive backs coach. Bobo and former Georgia linebackers coach John Jancek, now the Vols’ defensive coordinator, spoke about a half hour before the game on the field and shook hands and gave a hug. … Devin Bowman, who did not play the first four games of the season, was on Georgia’s kickoff return team to start the game. He also was on kickoff coverage. … Tennessee receiver Jonathon Johnson hit the wall beyond the end zone chasing down an overthrown ball from Justin Worley on third down before settling for a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter.

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