ATHENS – After missing a 26-yard field-goal attempt with 5:40 left in a tied game Saturday night, Georgia’s Marshall Morgan had to wait less than four minutes on the game clock to make amends.
It probably seemed longer.
“I was real down, you know,” he said.
With 1:44 to play, the score still tied 6-6, Morgan got another chance. This time, the kick was from 34 yards. And this time, he made it to give Georgia a 9-6 victory over Missouri.
Between his miss (wide left) and his game-winner, Morgan said he felt supported on the sideline.
“A lot of the coaches came and gave me little pep talks, and a few of the players did, too,” he said. “Jordan Jenkins gave me a nice little speech, telling me I’d have another shot.
“I was pretty much standing there, frozen. Once I saw our defense stop them, I was, like, ‘OK, I’m going to get another shot.’”
Before Morgan went on the field for the game-winner, head coach Mark Richt had some words for him.
“I’m not going to say everything (Richt said), but he pretty much told me whether I make it or miss it, I’m still his guy,” Morgan said. “That was nice of him. … That made me feel especially confident in the kick and definitely kind of happy going into it.”
Said Richt: “I told him I love him, no matter what. There’s so much pressure on these kids. I told him, ‘I believe in you, so relax and focus on your job and your fundamentals and let it rip.'”
One Bulldog was more succinct, Morgan recalled with a smile. “Sony (Michel), he pretty much told me, ‘You better make it.'”
Morgan made three of four field-goal attempts Saturday, accounting for all of Georgia’s points in the game — the first game the Bulldogs had won since 1995 without scoring a touchdown.
“This is the kind of game kickers dream of,” Morgan said.
He made a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter to tie the score at 3-3, made a 24-yarder late in the third quarter to tie the score at 6-6, then gave Georgia the lead for the first time all night with the game-winning 34-yarder.
On the miss, which was from the left hashmark and loomed large at the time, Morgan said he “misaligned” the kick. “A short hash kick is a tough angle, but you’ve got to make those anyway,” he said. The miss was out of his mind, he said, by the time he came back onto the field at the end of Georgia’s next possession.
“You’ve got to forget every kick, whether you make it or miss it,”Morgan said. “Luckily, I could forget that miss pretty fast and put it behind me. … I got another chance to get out there and get the win, and I’m definitely grateful for that.”
Wants to visit Gales next week
Morgan met with reporters Saturday for the first time since before Georgia’s Sept. 26 game against Southern. In that game, Southern’s Devon Gales suffered a spinal fracture on a Georgia kickoff, when Gales was blocking and he and Morgan collided.
“Now that we have the bye week, I want to go visit him” at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, Morgan said. He held up his helmet, showing a decal bearing Gales’ No. 33.
At an Oct. 1 news conference at Shepherd, Gales’ family asked for prayers for Morgan and his family, as well as for Gales, “because the accident has affected both young men and will change their lives forever.”
Morgan said he heard about that statement, and “I really appreciate that. His family is great. … (I) definitely wish him the best.
“It’s a … sad thing that happened.”