ATHENS — Georgia’s starters had a surprise when they ran onto the Sanford Stadium field for Wednesday’s scrimmage.
The scoreboard showed Oklahoma State held a 21-0 lead in what coach Mark Richt billed as a practice game for the 13th-ranked Bulldogs’ Sept. 5 opener against the ninth-ranked Cowboys in Stillwater, Okla.
"I wanted a little sense of urgency for both sides of the ball," Richt said in explaining his decision to spot the "Oklahoma State" scout team the three-touchdown lead.
The practice game covered only one half, leaving new first-string quarterback Joe Cox limited time to lead the comeback.
The starters rallied for a 27-24 win over the scout team but did not impress Richt.
"I’d say overall my feeling was we’re not quite ready to beat Oklahoma State today," Richt said. "It’s a good thing we’ve got 10 more days to prepare."
Richt’s staff did not keep statistics for the scrimmage, which was closed to reporters. He said he hoped the scrimmage will show players where they need to improve in the last week of practice.
"I think it’s good for them to realize they’re not as sharp as they need to be to win," Richt said.
Cox threw a touchdown pass to A.J. Green.
"It was maybe 40 yards," Cox said.
Second-string quarterback Logan Gray threw a touchdown pass to Habersham Central graduate Tavarres King.
Richt said the first-team offense threw one interception, but he did not identify which quarterback threw the pass.
"We’re not playing Oklahoma State, so I really don’t know what to take from it," Cox said. "We got some good looks from the scout team. We did some good things. We ended up coming back and beating them, but it was just another scrimmage. It was just a lot more structured today."
Freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger shared time playing the role of Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson. Another freshman, Rantavious Wooten, tried to replicate Oklahoma State star receiver Dez Bryant.
The practice game was not Cox’s first experience in rallying Georgia to a win. As a freshman in 2006, He came off the bench when Georgia trailed Colorado 13-0 and led the Bulldogs to a 14-13 win with a touchdown pass with 46 seconds remaining.
Cox made the only start of his college career in a win over Mississippi but spent most of last two years playing a limited role behind Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick by Detroit in this year’s NFL draft.
Cox, a fifth-year senior, appeared in three games last season.
Richt said the offense overall was "erratic" but said Cox played well.
"I thought Joe was sharp running the system," Richt said. "I thought he was accurate throwing the ball."
Richt said sophomore starting tailback Richard Samuel had a "solid" day but "wasn’t spectacular."
Sophomore Caleb King, who entered preseason practice as the No. 1 tailback, was held out with a hamstring injury. Richt said King should return by Monday.
NOTES: SS Bryan Evans and Reshad Jones were held out with hamstring injuries as a precaution, according to Richt. Each has returned to practice. ... Richt named his captains for the Oklahoma State game: Cox on offense, LB Rennie Curran and DT Jeff Owens on defense and DE Demarcus Dobbs on special teams.