The Union Recorder

Local Sports

October 31, 2012

Richt hopes Georgia defense plays 'mad' again

ATHENS — After underachieving through much of the season, Georgia's defense rose at the right time with a dominant performance in last week's win over Florida.

The important 17-9 win over the previously undefeated Gators came after safety Shawn Williams said the defense had been playing soft.

It was a dramatic turnaround after the Bulldogs allowed at least 20 points in six of their first seven games.

What defense will show up for No. 7 Georgia on Saturday against Mississippi? It may be difficult for the defense to play with the same intensity against the unranked Rebels when it hasn't been challenged by one of its own players.

Coach Mark Richt insists he doesn't have the answer — but he hopes it's more motivation for his defense.

"That's a good question," Richt said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "You ought to write a story about that, maybe make everybody mad. That would be nice.

"I'm serious, I don't know. I don't know what they are going to do this week. I hope they play like they did this past week. I hope we continue to get after it with that kind of emotion and heartbeat."

Linebacker Jarvis Jones had a career-high 13 tackles with three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as the defense forced six turnovers.

Bacarri Rambo and Damian Swann had interceptions as Georgia held Florida without a touchdown.

Georgia (7-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) can clinch its second straight trip to the SEC championship game by beating Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2) and Auburn.

Georgia players insist playing for a SEC championship is ample reason to avoid a letdown this week.

"Just keep up the intensity, play with the same chip we played with last week," Swann said. "We're in control of our own destiny. We just have to win out."

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