ATHENS, Ga. — There was never a doubt in Blair Walsh’s mind he would make it, he said following the game. With the clocking ticking down to zero, Walsh drilled a 37-yarder down the middle for his eight consecutive field goal, lifting Georgia to a thrilling 20-17 win over Arizona State.
“I was just trying to think of it as just another kick,” Walsh said. “I just wanted to make it—nothing crazy, just get it up and get it in.”
The kick was Walsh’s first game-winner in his career, including high school.
“This is the greatest experience of my college career to have the chance at the game winner and hit it,” he said.
The team rushed Walsh after the kick, dog-piling in a celebrating that ultimately ended with the kicker dancing with teammates in front of the student section.
“Blair has made every kick so far, and I’m really proud of him,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, who admitted he wasn’t watching when Walsh kicked. “We got him in position and he drilled it, so that was great.”
The game-winning kick was the first since Brandon Coutu drilled a 37-yarder at Vanderbilt in 2007.
Georgia fullback Fred Munzenmaier doesn’t see much action, but he knows what to do with the football when he gets his opportunities.
The junior fullback got just the third touch of his career in the first quarter against Arizona State, and he punched it in for a two-yard touchdown.
“It feels good, I mean if I get the ball my goal is to score so I’m going to die trying,” he said.
The result is nothing new for Munzenmaier, who also had touchdowns on the first two carries of his career, including a 1-yard run against LSU last season and a 6-yard dash against Ole Miss in 2007.
Munzenmaier broke his streak of touchdowns with a carry on fourth-and-one, where the 6-foot-2 222-pound fullback was stopped short.
Break through I
Redshirt freshman Baccari Rambo was promised more playing time by defensive coordinator Willie Martinez earlier this week, and Rambo showed he deserved it in the second quarter by hauling in his first career interception – just he second pick of the season by a Georgia defender.
“I was saying all week it’s time for me to step up, man. Time for me to step up,” Rambo said. “I’ve got to get better, mature and grow up. I started watching more film and studying the plays and I just stayed focused during the whole thing.”
Rambo came off the bench at safety this week after seeing minimal action in the first three games. Georgia’s secondary struggled badly against Arkansas last week, however, and Martinez promised a shake-up. While the defense looked improved against the Sun Devils, Rambo showed his promise by picking off Arizona State quarterback Danny Sullivan late in the second quarter after defensive end Cornelius Washington forced an early throw.
That was a great pass rush—a great pass rush,” Rambo, who finished with four tackles and pass breakup, said. “The whole defensive line got in there and forced [Sullivan] to make a bad pass. He had to throw it to try to get the ball off.”
Break through II
Rambo wasn’t the only Georgia player to enjoy a breakthrough game Saturday night. True freshman receiver Rantavious Wooten hauled in a 27-yard catch on third-and-12 for his first career reception in the second quarter.
In the fourth quarter, on Georgia’s winning drive, Wooten hauled in a crucial third-down catch, an 11-yard gain to pick up a first down.
“Every time I’m in the game I’m thinking the ball may be coming my way, so I got it in my mind that it was coming to me and I focused hard to make the catch,” he said.
Wooten, who finished with 38 yards receiving, also got one carry on an end around in the first half, picking up three yards.
Junior Chris Davis got the start at left guard against the Sun Devils. After starting all 13 games last season and Georgia’s opener against Oklahoma State, Davis had come off the bench in favor of Justin Anderson each of the past two games… Junior defensive tackle Brandon Wood looked like he might be headed for a medical redshirt just two weeks ago following offseason shoulder surgery. Instead, Wood saw his first action of the season in the first half against Arizona State, working at both defensive tackle and defensive end.