Backup QB Cox comes up big as Georgia edges ColoradoSep 23, 2006 - 8:02 PM ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Georgia still has not lost a non-conference home game under coach Mark Richt. But not for lack of trying.
The ninth-ranked Bulldogs were saved by backup quarterback Joe Cox and scored all their points in the fourth quarter to post a 14-13 victory over Colorado.
The Bulldogs trailed, 13-0, in the third quarter when Richt inserted Cox at quarterback in place of true freshman Matthew Stafford. It turned out to be a move that saved Georgia from an embarrassing setback.
"We dodged a big bullet today, like dodging a bazooka," Richt said. "When you boil it down, I thought we played decent, but they played better in the beginning. They had us off-balance on both sides of the ball. Thankfully we had halftime to reverse."
Cox, who completed 10-of-13 passes for 154 yards, pulled Georgia within 13-7 with 9:11 to play on a 23-yard TD pass to fullback Brannan Southerland.
"Joe came through in the clutch and you have to give him credit," Richt said.
Georgia forced a fumble on Colorado's next drive and took over at midfield. The drive ended on 4th-and-3 from the Buffalo 11 when Cox's pass was batted down by strong safety J.J. Billingsly.
But the Bulldogs forced a three-and-out and the Georgia offense took over at the Colorado 43. This time the Bulldogs took advantage of the good field position, putting together a five-play drive that Cox capped with a 20-yard TD pass to tight end Martrez Milner with 46 seconds remaining.
"This was a dream scenario," Cox said. "Martrez was lined up with a safety. I saw the mismatch with Martrez, went to him and it worked."
"When the ball was coming my way, all I was thinking is, 'I have to catch this ball,'" Milner said. "It was perfectly thrown. The line did a heck of a job blocking and Cox threw a great ball."
Colorado got the ball back with 35 seconds left and ran three plays, with the drive ending on an interception of Bernard Jackson by linebacker Tony Taylor.
Taylor finished with 13 tackles for Georgia, which has allowed only 25 points in four games, the fewest since the 1997 team also allowed 25 points in a 4-0 start.
Georgia (4-0) entered the game coming off consecutive shutouts for the first time since winning the national championship in 1980. Mason Crosby ended the Bulldogs' bid for a third straight shutout with a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Jackson, who finished with 225 total yards, scored on a one-yard run to give Colorado (0-4) a 10-0 lead at the half. Crosby's second field goal of the game, a 36-yarder, made it 13-0 in the third quarter and gave the Buffaloes their first second-half points of the season.
"We did not knock them out when we had the chance," new Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said. "This loss tears your guts out."
Making his second career start, Stafford was 8-of-16 for 76 yards, was sacked twice and unable to sustain any momentum in the first half as the Bulldogs were limited to 54 yards on 21 plays.
"I was pretty surprised when they made the switch," Cox said. "Matt was not playing bad, but I guess they wanted to change things up. I was ready for this situation and it worked out well."
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