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Column: Looking at early returns from college football in the state

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of AllOnGeorgia.

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I was reading about college football across the state Tuesday night and came across some interesting tidbits of information.

I thought today I would share a little nugget related to some of the state’s teams.

Let’s start with Georgia.

Lost in the blowout of South Carolina last Saturday was the heads-up play by Juwan Taylor following Deandre Baker’s interception on the Gamecocks’ opening drive.

If you were watching on television, the game went to a commercial break with you most likely thinking Baker had scored a touchdown as he ran across the goal line with the ball.

But on the back side of the break, you found out that Georgia’s defensive back actually dropped the ball to the ground before he crossed the goal stripe as he was just a bit too eager to celebrate his pick-6.

Taylor, though, saw what happened and ran over to scoop up the ball and was ultimately awarded the touchdown in the box score.

It turned out to be the first defensive touchdown of the senior linebacker’s career, including rec ball and high school.

“It just didn’t look right when he threw the ball down,” said Taylor who was trailing the play. “We always practice any ball on the ground, just scoop it up. So that’s what I did. It was an immediate reaction.”

Taylor got credited for a fumble recovery, one-yard return and a touchdown.

Baker got a 55-yard return, but not the first interception return for a score in his career.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in his weekly press conference with the media on Monday that Baker would get plenty of practice carrying the ball across the goal line in the team’s practice later in the afternoon.

Now, let’s take a look at Georgia Tech, which lost Saturday at South Florida.

With the loss to the Bulls, did you know that the Jackets still have only won two true road games going back to the 2015 season?

Tech scored 38 points with 595 yards of offense, but its defense couldn’t stop the home team. The Bulls trailed by 10 points less than three minutes in the final quarter and ended up winning by 11.

South Florida’s last three drives were touchdown, touchdown, touchdown.

Now, there is Georgia Southern.

The Eagles are 2-0 under new head coach Chad Lunsford and they have yet to surrender a point in the fourth quarter.

You figure the Eagles won’t pull off another Florida 2013 miracle in Death Valley when they take on No. 2 Clemson Saturday on the road.

But regardless, the Eagles will leave Clemson still having won more national titles than the Tigers, six in FBS to their two in FCS.

At Georgia State, the Panthers played two Saturdays ago on Tobacco Road when they visited N.C. State in Raleigh.

A near-sellout crowd of 56,000-plus saw the Wolfpack win 41-7 in Carter-Findlay Stadium.

Georgia State starting quarterback Dan Ellington had never played in front of a crowd that large.

He said the crowd of 23,088 at Georgia State Stadium for the team’s opening win over Kennesaw was the largest crowd he had ever played in front of prior to the N.C. State visit.

He finished the game 15-for-28 with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

In Macon, the Mercer Bears delivered coach Bobby Lamb a meaningful victory Saturday when they rolled over Jacksonville University.

The 45-3 thumping of the Dolphins was the 100th win of Lamb’s career. He has won 33 games with the Bears after winning his first 67 at Furman.

“When you win 100, you’re probably getting old,” said the 14-year head coach.

On Saturday, Kennessee State amassed some big numbers in its 49-10 victory at home over Tennessee Tech.

The Owls, who are ranked No. 7 in the FCS Top 25, rushed for a school-record 507 yards, which is the most by any team through two weeks in Division I football. They also scored a school-record seven rushing touchdowns.

At Valdosta State, the Blazers are relishing over their 55-6 rout of Fort Valley State last Saturday in the Okefenokee Classic played at Memorial Stadium in Waycross.

The old baseball stadium, which has been converted to a football field, is the regular home of the Ware County High School team.

Instead of pounding out homers, the Blazers pounded out yards and touchdowns. They scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions and poured it on thick throughout the fourth quarter when they scored 28 points in the final 15 minutes.

For the game, the Blazers finished with 537 yards while holding the Wildcats to 153 yards including minus-5 rushing yards.

The Valdosta State defense recorded six sacks for 47 yards and 12 tackles for loss for 57 yards.

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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