ATLANTA — Georgia’s fill-in mascot drew a big crowd.
Russ, the older brother of Georgia’s late mascot, Uga VII, made his debut for Saturday night’s game at Georgia and was surrounded by photographers before the game.
Unlike Uga VII, who was a pure white English bulldog, Russ has a patch of brown on his back.
Russ may serve as the mascot in Georgia’s bowl game but will not be next in the line of full-time Uga mascots, owned by Sonny Seiler and his Savannah-based family. Seiler has said Uga VIII will be selected next year.
Russ was not the first fill-in mascot for Georgia. The most famous substitute was Otto, who had a 3-1 record in 1986 while filling in for his younger brother, Uga IV, who has injured.
Otto and Uga IV worked together in a win over Georgia Tech in 1986.
Uga VII died of heart problems on Nov. 19. Georgia had no mascot for last week’s home loss to Kentucky.
TAKE THE BALL AND RUN: For the first time this season, Georgia took the ball after winning the opening toss.
Coach Mark Richt apparently couldn’t wait to see his team run the ball.
Georgia had 10 straight run plays — gaining 79 yards — on its opening touchdown drive. Freshman Washaun Ealey had the biggest gain for 35 yards in the long drive.
Ealey passed 100 yards rushing with a 34-yard gain in the second quarter. Ealey, who didn’t start, had a career-high 139 yards rushing in just the first half.
Caleb King, the starter, added 64 yards rushing with a 6-yard touchdown run in the first half.
NESBITT HURTS ANKLE: Josh Nesbitt suffered an apparent right ankle injury late in the first quarter and was out until only 3:18 was left in the first half.
Georgia Tech brought in sophomore Jaybo Shaw after Nesbitt was injured on a first-down run with 1:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Nesbitt was limping as he walked to the locker room minutes later.
Shaw, a Flowery Branch graduate, threw an interception on a deep pass for Demaryius Thomas late in the half. Nesbitt returned at quarterback the following series.
ANDERSON HURTS KNEE: Georgia Tech suffered an early injury when starting defensive tackle Ben Anderson hurt his right knee on Georgia’s opening touchdown drive. Anderson needed help leaving the field.
Jason Peters took over for Anderson, who was on crutches by the end of the first quarter.
WORTH NOTING: Georgia Tech was held to only three points in the first half, matching its fewest points in a half this season. It also was held to three points in the first half of its 33-17 loss at Miami on Sept. 17. ... Shaw’s interception was only Georgia Tech’s second over the last five games. ... Jonathan Dwyer passed Robert Lavette for No. 7 on the school’s single-season rushing leaders. ... Thomas caught a pass for the 28th consecutive game. ... Georgia cornerback Vance Cuff made his first career start ahead of Brandon Boykin, who was slowed by a hip injury.