Instant analysis: UGA 45, Buffalo 23
September, 1, 2012
By David Ching | ESPN.com
ATHENS, Ga. -- The No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs opened the 2012 season with a 45-23 win over the Buffalo Bulls.
Georgia senior QB Aaron Murray threw for 258 yards and three scores while Todd Gurley added three more touchdowns on the ground.
It was over when: Georgia drove 49 yards -- capping the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Michael Bennett -- early in the fourth quarter to go up 38-16 in a game where Buffalo kept it too close for comfort for a while.
Game ball goes to: Freshman tailback Todd Gurley deserves this honor after scoring touchdowns on two of his first three college touches -- a 100-yard kickoff return and a 10-yard, tackle-breaking run. He scored a third touchdown on a 55-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Stat of the game: 243. Considering all of the hype Georgia's defense carried into the season, the Bulldogs were no doubt stunned to see Buffalo move the ball efficiently and score on its last two drives of the first half. The Bulls outgained the Bulldogs 243 yards to 188 in the first half before Georgia clamped down in the second half. Buffalo had just 23 yards in the third quarter.
Turning point: Georgia reclaimed command of the game immediately in the third quarter when it drove 82 yards in six plays, scoring a touchdown on a 38-yard pass from Murray to Rantavious Wooten to go up 31-16. Murray was 4-for-4 for 68 yards on the drive.
What it means: A bout of spotty defense late in the first half made this game much more interesting than it should have been. Georgia had difficulty containing Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich -- a dangerous sign with Missouri's James Franklin on deck -- before shutting down the Bulls in the second half. Nonetheless, Georgia overcame its occasionally sloppy play to win handily.
The top five freshmen in the SEC
11:00 AM ET Nevada Louisiana-Lafayette 2:20 PM ET Utah State UTEP 3:30 PM ET 22 Utah Colorado State 5:45 PM ET Western Michigan Air Force 9:15 PM ET South Alabama Bowling Green
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State