ATLANTA — It worked out just the way they planned it. That was the word on Saturday from Georgia’s bookend twins, Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter, as they basked in the glow of the Bulldogs’ 28-7 win over Auburn.
Bellamy, who plays opposite of Carter at outside linebacker when they’re not subbing in and out for each other, describes in meticulous detail how they planned to be right where they were Saturday, making confetti angels on the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium after winning the SEC championship.
“Man, this has been the plan since Day 1,” Bellamy said, thinking back to last December when he and Carter stood alongside Nick Chubb and Sony Michel behind head coach Kirby Smart to announce they would be back for their senior seasons. “When we all decided that, this was the plan. We knew the type of seniors we had coming back, great players, great leaders, great backs. We planned all of this.”
That goes for this whole “Revenge Tour” business, too. It was all his idea. Bellamy swears it.
“It’s crazy. During summer workouts, I wrote that on our White Board,” Bellamy said. “I put it on the board in the weight room. ‘Revenge Tour.’ We knew we had a better team than we showcased last year. We lost a lot of close games. These seniors knew that wasn’t Georgia football. So we were going to fix it. We planned this. I’m telling you.”
It’s fitting then, that Bellamy and Carter were involved in the the two most momentum-changing plays of the SEC Championship, one in each half.
Auburn seemed to have the Bulldogs back on their heels early in the game. The Tigers were already up a touchdown and were driving deep into Georgia territory Early in the second quarter. They faced third-and-six at the Bulldogs’ 16-yard line.
“The team needed a play,” Bellamy said. “It was third down. I knew they were going to pass it. Their center usually works to the field, so I knew I’d have one-on-one with the tackle. I did the same move I’ve been doing for five years. I trusted my training. ‘Sack/ball out, sack/ball out.’ That’s all I was thinking.”
Bellamy got around Auburn’s tackle and caught just enough of quarterback Jarrett Stidham to force the quarterback down and the ball loose. Linebacker Roquan Smith pounced on it and the Auburn scoring threat was thwarted.
Seven plays and 84 yards later, the Bulldogs’ offense made good on it, scoring to knot the game at 7.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter and Georgia was in need of a defensive play again. On the first play of the final stanza, Auburn trailed only 13-7 as it drove to midfield. On first-and-10, running back Kerryon Johnson took a handoff at left tackle cut outside of Carter looking for room to run.
But while Johnson was looking for a sliver of daylight, Carter had his eyes on the football. He reached in with his hand as he dove on Johnson from behind and knocked the ball loose. Smith was there again to scoop up the football and this time he went the other way with it.
Georgia took over at the Auburn 39 and the Bulldogs scored four plays later with a Jake Fromm touchdown pass to Terry Godwin. Godwin and Fromm would hook up again for a two-point conversion to put the Bulldogs two scores.
“Kerryon is a patient runner so I knew I had to hold the block,” Carter said. “Once I saw him commit to a hole, I just tried to attack the ball the way we’re taught to. You do it enough and the ball is going to come out, and that’s what happened. I had to reach in there and get it out.”
The two fumbles and recoveries got Georgia to a plus-5 turnover margin for the season and they turned them into 15 points. Carter was the Bulldogs’ second-leading tackler with six and also had a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry.
Smith led Georgia with 13 tackles and a sack and, of course, the fumble recoveries. He was named the game’s MVP.
“I don’t know anybody who it would be more fitting for,” Carter said with a laugh.
Carter called Bellamy over from interviews he was doing across the room and asked him to sit next to him for this one. He was being asked if they were really as good of friends as it seemed.
“We do it for one another,” Carter said, throwing his big left arm around Bellamy’s neck. “It’s a grind. It’s been a long season and we still have more work to do. But this guy right here is why I do it.”
Said Bellamy, “Zo got one, too (meaning a turnover). We’ll be quiet for a couple of games and everybody’s writing the Wolf Pack off. We know how it goes. We save our performances for the big stage.”
They’re major cut-ups, too. Bellamy and Carter, and that’s especially true when the Bulldogs win games. They’re always the first players to leap in the stands and pose for selfies with fans.
Saturday it was confetti-snow angels and keepsakes. Carter proudly sat in front of his locker with an SEC championship sign occupy the seat next to him.
He’d named it.
“This is my man, Champy,” he said, introducing it to whoever came by for an interview. “It took be four years to find him and I finally got him. So I’m going to keep him.”
He earned it.