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Georgia Top 10: Week 5

9/30/2012

ATHENS, Ga. -- Tennessee nearly upset a sloppy Georgia club Saturday, but Mark Richt's Bulldogs survived to win 51-44 and remain undefeated entering Saturday’s SEC East showdown at South Carolina.

It’s somewhat hard to believe, given the considerable experience on Georgia’s roster, but two true freshmen -- tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall -- are near the top of this week’s UGA Power Rankings. The backfield duo combined for 294 rushing yards and five touchdowns in Saturday’s win against the Volunteers, which helped them surge past the team’s many veterans in the rankings.

Here is the full list after five games (last week’s rank in parentheses):

1. Jarvis Jones (1): Jones had a quiet game by his standards, but he still finished with eight tackles and half a tackle for a loss. He leads the team with eight tackles for a loss heading into next weekend's enormous game against South Carolina.

2. Aaron Murray (2): Murray tossed an interception that Byron Moore returned for a touchdown, and the quarterback lost a fumble deep in Georgia territory. Yet Georgia’s junior quarterback piloted the offense to another game of 40-plus points and 560 total yards. Murray was 19-for-25 for 278 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

3. Gurley (3): Against the Vols, Gurley received his heaviest workload yet and delivered 130 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. He continues to lead the SEC with an average of 107.2 rushing yards per game and also leads the league with 10 touchdowns.

4. Marshall (9): Marshall continues his rise on this list after posting his second 100-yard performance in the last three games. Marshall’s 10 carries for 164 yards -- including touchdown runs of 75 and 72 yards -- gave him an average of 16.4 yards per carry. That is the fourth-best single-game average in SEC history for a runner with at least 10 carries in a game.

5. Shawn Williams (4): He had a fairly quiet evening against Tennessee. Secondary mates Damian Swann and Sanders Commings delivered three interceptions against Tennessee, while Williams tied for fourth on the team with six tackles.

6. Michael Bennett (10): Bennett bounced back from a quiet outing against Vanderbilt by making two huge touchdown catches in the third quarter against Tennessee. His touchdown catches of 8 and 32 yards helped him finish with five grabs for 70 yards and gave him the team lead with four receiving scores.

7. John Jenkins (6): Jenkins finished with just one tackle, but he pressured Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray into throwing early or incomplete a few times. And he came up with one of the biggest defensive plays of the game when he snatched a fumble away from Bray in the fourth quarter as the Vols were trying to rally.

8. Tavarres King (7): King had two catches for 38 yards -- both on the same first-quarter drive. He came within an eyelash of his fourth touchdown catch of the season on a 7-yard catch to the Tennessee 1, where he dragged linebacker A.J. Johnson for several yards. Initially the officials ruled the play a touchdown, but upon reviewing the instant replay they determined his knee was down just short of the goal line. Gurley scored a touchdown on the next play.

9. Marlon Brown (5): Brown did not have an official reception and carried once for an 8-yard gain. But he did catch a 2-point pass that helped the Bulldogs claim a 51-37 lead in the fourth quarter.

10. Alec Ogletree (NR): Sure, it wasn’t a perfect performance by Ogletree or the Georgia defense. But he reminded everyone that he is one of the Bulldogs’ big-impact defensive players immediately upon his return to the lineup. The junior linebacker recorded 10 of his career-high 14 tackles by halftime and also deflected three passes -- one of which he tipped into the air, leading to a Swann interception.

On the verge: Commings, Malcolm Mitchell, Amarlo Herrera, Jordan Jenkins, Chris Burnette