ATHENS, Ga. — The latest in the line of Georgia mascots has taken his place in his red-and-black doghouse at Sanford Stadium.
Uga VIII was introduced before Saturday’s Southeastern Conference game between Vanderbilt and Georgia.
University of Georgia President Michael Adams applauded on the field as interim mascot Russ took his last bow. Uga VIII, whose registered name is Big Bad Bruce, then made his debut.
As Russ left the field, a crowd of photographers followed Uga VIII, wearing his red sweater, to his doghouse on the sideline.
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Uga VIII, 13 months old, was named in honor of Dr. Bruce Hollett of the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Hollett has helped care for the line of white English bulldog mascots owned by members of Savannah-based Sonny Seiler’s family.
Durham still produces
A few moments after the game, wide receiver Kris Durham made his way over to Uga VIII.
“I have a bulldog at home, so I was trying to get him where my bulldog likes it, right behind the ear,” Durham said.
Durham got plenty of love from teammates after yet another big game.
The senior led Georgia with four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. He also made a 22-yard catch in triple coverage, holding on to the ball despite being hit.
“I’ll have to go back and look, because I was asked if that was the best catch I’ve ever made. I don’t know. I haven’t seen it,” Durham said. “I just saw the ball.”
There was some uncertainty whether Durham’s production would keep up after the return of A.J. Green, for Georgia’s fifth game. But Durham has remained a focal point of the offense.
“I think he’s the most underrated receiver in the SEC,” Green said. “I’m just glad to have him on my team. He’s going to help me out.”
Replayed in their minds
First Christian Robinson thought he had scored a defensive touchdown, only to have it overturned on replay. Then Akeem Dent thought he had one too, only to have it overturned.
At that point, Robinson and Dent approached Marcus Dowtin, their fellow inside linebacker, and said it was his turn.
“You’re the next guy, guess you better make a pick,” Robinson said he told Dowtin.
Robinson’s non-score happened in the first quarter. He picked up an apparent fumble by Vanderbilt tight end Mason Johnston and ran about 35 yards into the end zone. But replay officials ruled that Johnson never completed the catch.
“I was so excited. I was thinking about my family, my dad had a pick in college, the only one that he took back, and I was just thinking about him because it was very similar, he also took it up the sideline,” said Robinson, whose father, Ken Robinson, played at South Carolina. “It was disappointing, but I know we’ll have other opportunities. You know, other guys do that. It’s a memory I won’t forget.”
Dent recovered a muffed punt in the back of the end zone in the second quarter. It was quickly overturned, as replays showed Dent was out of bounds, and instead it was ruled a safety.
Malcome doesn’t play
Freshman tailback Ken Malcome did not play, so the Bulldogs will do their best to make sure he is able to take a redshirt this season.
Malcome was prepared in practice to play in case backup Carlton Thomas couldn’t play, but Thomas’ hamstring was healthy enough.
When the game got out of hand, fullbacks Fred Munzenmaier and Zander Ogletree got the carries.
“I wasn’t really interested in playing Ken Malcome for just a short amount of time,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. “And then Caleb comes back and Carlton gets healthy and all that kind of thing. More than likely, we won’t play Ken unless we absolutely have to. I think he was happy it turned out that way too.”
Senior Josh Davis, demoted from the starting unit two weeks ago, got a lot of work at right tackle. When Davis played, freshman Kenarious Gates came out and Clint Boling shifted from right tackle to right guard.
But Richt indicated it was for only depth reasons.
“The starting lineup we like,” Richt said. “It takes a little pressure off of Gates, (and) I think it takes a little pressure off (left tackle Trinton) Sturdivant not to have to play every snap.”
Davis steps in
Last week, it was Boss Bailey, the former Georgia linebacker, giving a pregame speech. This week, it was Thomas Davis, a former Randolph-Clay standout now with the Carolina Panthers, who stopped by to lay into his former team.
“(Davis) let them understand that it’s hard to build a certain tradition of how we want to play defense or how we want to play football,” Richt said. “I think some of the old guys were thinking we were really letting that slip away a little bit.”
— Associated Press contributed to this report