BOULDER, Colo. — Georgia center Ben Jones was suspended for the first half of tonight’s game because of his clip at Mississippi State.
Georgia announced minutes before kickoff that the decision was made after SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Georgia coach Mark Richt “conferred.”
Slive and Richt each watched replays of the clip, which riled up MSU coach Dan Mullen.
“It was poor judgment on Ben’s part,” Richt said in the statement. “He feels very badly about the incident and has sent a note of apology to the Mississippi State player. I have talked with (Mississippi State Coach) Dan Mullen and he appreciated the concern and Ben’s apology.”
Chris Davis started in Jones’ place at center.
Jones this week told Georgia247sports.com that he regretted the play.
“It was a pass downfield,” Jones said. “I was just trailing the play because I didn’t know if the ball was caught yet. I just went to cut the guy downfield, just because I thought he might make the play because the ball was still up. When I cut him, they said it was too far behind the play, so I shouldn’t have done it.”
While A.J. Green played for the first time, the receiver who ably filled in for Georgia did not.
Kris Durham made the trip, but did not play because of a neck stinger he suffered near the end of the Mississippi State game. Richt had termed Durham questionable three days before the game.
The senior led Georgia in catches and receiving yards over the first four games.
Up in the air
Kicker Blair Walsh was curious how the thin air would affect his kicks. During the week he had heard that it would add a few yards, but also cause them to be a bit more erratic.
That seemed the early verdict. In warm-ups, Walsh teed one up from 70 yards, and it had the distance but went a few yards left. A few more tries from a bit closer had the same result.
Perhaps the air did have an effect, in the wrong way. After making his first attempt, a 33-yarder, Walsh missed a 41-yarder as the first half ended.
That ended a season-opening streak of eight field goals made for the junior.
True freshmen notes
Defensive end Garrison Smith saw his first action, as the Bulldogs elected to play the true freshman rather than redshirt him this year.
Smith became the sixth true freshman to play for the Bulldogs this season. One of them, linebacker T.J. Stripling, suffered a right knee injury on kickoff coverage and had to be carted off the field.
Three other Georgia freshmen who had yet to play this season made the trip: tailback Ken Malcome, receiver Michael Bennett and tackle Kenarious Gates.
Georgia brought 74 players, four above the limit for SEC games.
Return game returns
Brandon Boykin’s 72-yard kick return was Georgia’s longest of the season so far. Branden Smith also had a 36-yard punt return, also the longest for the Bulldogs in that category.