ATHENS — Matthew Stafford had a big game, but it could have been bigger.Stafford passed for a career-high 275 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia’s 45-21 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday. The junior completed 13 of 21 passes with no interceptions but graded his performance only so-so.
Stafford was playing behind a new offensive line that included four first-time starters.
The only returning starter on the line was Chris Davis, a sophomore who moved from left guard to center.
The unit gave up only one sack.
Georgia finished with 535 total yards, including 323 passing. Backup quarterback Joe Cox passed for 48 yards with a touchdown.
BUSY DAY FOR FRESHMEN
One of the new starters on the offensive line was true freshman Cordy Glenn, who started at right guard.
Glenn was one of 10 true freshmen to play in the game. It was the most first-year players to appear in a season-opener under Richt.
Other freshmen to play on offense were receiver A.J. Green, tailback Richard Samuel and center Ben Jones.
First-year players on defense included defensive backs Nick Williams, Brandon Boykin and Sanders Cummings, linebacker Marcus Dowtin and defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson.
Another freshman, kicker Blair Walsh, made a 52-yard field goal in his debut.
It was the longest field goal for a Georgia freshman since a 54-yarder by Hap Hines in 1996. Freshman Allan Leavitt made a 52-yarder against Alabama in 1973.
With little fanfare, Larry Munson began his 43rd season as the play-by-play announcer on Georgia’s radio network, but this was not just another game.
The 85-year-old Munson underwent surgery April 4 to remove blood clots from his brain.
Munson’s longtime sideline reporter, Loran Smith, said he thought the legendary announcer was as good as ever.
Munson worked only home games and a game at Georgia Tech last season.
He will continue to work only home games this season as color analyst Scott Howard takes the play-by-play duties on road games.
Defensive tackle Jeff Owens suffered a potentially serious injury to his right knee.
"I doubt he’ll be playing anytime soon," Richt said.