Graduates lead the way at Friday's practice
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Graduates lead the way at Friday’s practice

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ATHENS, Ga. – With several players who graduated earlier in the day leading the way, the No. 13 Georgia football team returned to the Woodruff Practice Fields for its third Belk Bowl practice on Friday.

The Bulldogs (9-3, 6-2 SEC) logged two hours in full pads in preparation for the Dec. 30 bowl in Charlotte, N.C., where they will face Louisville (9-3, 5-3 ACC).

Friday morning, the graduating class included quarterback Hutson Mason, receivers Chris Conley and Michael Bennett, punter/holder Adam Erickson, fullback Taylor Maxey, offensive linemen Kolton Houston and Mark Beard, linebacker A.J. McDonald and defensive lineman Mike Thornton. They were joined at a pre-graduation breakfast ceremony by former offensive lineman Austin Long and former tight end Greg Mulkey.

“Graduation day is huge and I’m so proud of those guys for their accomplishments in the classroom to reach this day,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “They were able to spend some time with their families to celebrate this special day, and then when they got out here they were focused, they had a great attitude, they worked their tails off and they continued to be great leaders.”

Friday’s practice was the third of four consecutive workouts that the Bulldogs will hold before a three-day break for Christmas. The team will conclude their Athens practices Saturday, then will reconvene in Charlotte on Dec. 24.

The Bulldogs are making their 50th bowl game appearance, including their 17th consecutive. Georgia is 27-19-3 all time in bowls and will be playing in the Belk Bowl for the first time.

This also will be Georgia’s first-ever meeting with Louisville on the gridiron. Georgia enters the matchup boasting the SEC’s highest-scoring offense, averaging 41.7 points per game. Louisville ranks tied for third in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 20.5 points per game, and second in the ACC in total defense, allowing 293.2 total yards per game.

The 2014 Belk Bowl will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.


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