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Richt relying on young players
Freshmen stepping up big for Bulldogs
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Georgia vs. Auburn

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens

TV, radio: ESPN; 103.7-FM, 106.1-FM

Web site:

ATHENS — Georgia suddenly has renewed cause to feel good about the future.

The future is the Bulldogs’ freshman class.

First-year players scored Georgia’s first four touchdowns in a 38-0 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

The freshmen began their big day when Washaun Ealey scored the first of his two touchdowns on Georgia’s opening drive.

There was more: Tight end Orson Charles had a 23-yard touchdown catch, Branden Smith ran 52 yards on a direct snap and Ealey added a 44-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.

Ealey’s second score gave the freshmen a 28-0 lead over the Golden Eagles.

“It is encouraging,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt. “It was good to see our freshmen make plays. ... That’s a good sign for the freshmen, no doubt, guys that run fast and guys that could make plays.”

Richt said he hopes the win gives the Bulldogs momentum for this week’s game against Auburn.

“It’s something to build on and move forward with,” he said. “We had tremendous focus to start the game, dominating really on both sides of the ball. Overall, I am very, very happy with the win.”

Ealey, playing behind sophomore Caleb King, led the Bulldogs with 89 yards rushing and two touchdowns — the first of his career — on only seven carries. Smith, a backup quarterback who continues to see looks at wide receiver and quarterback, had three carries for 72 yards.

Charles had three catches for 42 yards.

Georgia has played 10 true freshmen this season. Tavarres King, a redshirt freshman, and first-year player Rantavious Wooten were the starters at wide receiver against Tennessee Tech with A.J. Green missing the game with a rib injury.

Wooten had two catches for 17 yards.

With Green out for at least a week, Georgia focused on improving its rushing offense, which began the day with a last-place ranking in the Southeastern Conference.

Led by Ealey, Georgia set a season high with 304 yards rushing.

Freshman Montez Robinson had two sacks.

Georgia (5-4) can become bowl-eligible with a win over Auburn on Saturday night.

“It gives us confidence to know that we are getting better,” Robinson said. “Auburn is going to be a good team and we are expecting a battle. We are going to practice hard this week and continue to get better.”

Added quarterback Joe Cox: “A lot of the things we needed to correct, we did. We got better at a lot of things, and we still have a lot to work on.”

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