ATLANTA -- Amid more than 70,000 people at the Georgia Dome on Saturday and in front of national television audience, several Georgia players from Columbus showed it was still a small world.
Four players from Columbus were on the field together for the first time with the Bulldogs, and five from the city were on the roster.
Believed to be the most players from Columbus on the same Division I team since Georgia had three in 1980, it represented a special connection for the teammates, despite Georgia’s 35-21 loss.
“I just loved it,” said Georgia freshman Quintavius Harrow, a former Carver linebacker who had a tackle on the Bulldogs’ kickoff team. “With all of us from Columbus, just to see us out there, it was just beautiful, like high school all over again.”
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Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, a Southern California transfer and former two-sport Carver star, was a bright spot on a Georgia defense that struggled much of the night to stop Boise State’s offense and quarterback Kellen Moore. Heralded freshman running back Isaiah Crowell, also a former Carver player, made his debut with 60 yards on a team-high 15 carries.
Georgia senior fullback Bruce Figgins, a former Shaw athlete, made a key block on Brandon Boykin’s 80-yard, first-quarter touchdown run, and on the sideline was walk-on quarterback and former Columbus High athlete Greg Bingham.
Columbus likely has not been so well represented on a Division I football roster since Carver athletes D.J. Jones and Dale Williams and former Hardaway player Tommy Nix played together at Georgia during the Bulldogs’ 1980 national championship run.
The connection was not lost on Figgins, the oldest and most experienced of the bunch.
“Jarvis played great, Isaiah did well and Quintavius played great as well on special teams,” Figgins said. “It’s always exciting to see guys from the same city and from the same area in Columbus do well and excel.”
Jones finished the game with 11 tackles (2.5 for lost yardage), trailing only teammate Christian Robinson’s 13. He provided pressure in several key third-down situations and had a hand in rushing Moore into a second-quarter interception.
Back in the game
Saturday was the first time in nearly two years that Jones had played in a game. He suffered a neck injury and missed the end of his freshman season at Southern California, and he sat out last season after transferring to Georgia.
Jones said he was eager to see some action Saturday even if it did take some time to readjust to the speed of the game, particularly against Boise State’s no-huddle offense.
“I wouldn’t say it was hard, but I was definitely driven,” Jones said. “I worked hard every day for it, and to finally get out there and go against somebody else, I felt like it was great.”
Crowell’s debut appeared off to a rocky start. He first took the field for Georgia’s second drive, and after acting as a decoy on the first play, took a handoff from quarterback Aaron Murray and tripped behind the line of scrimmage for a 2-yard loss.
While he never broke free, Crowell’s runs got progressively better, and only Boykin with his 80-yard touchdown had more rushing yards.
“I thought it was going to be a little rougher,” Crowell said of his first college game. “But when things came down to it, it was just like everything has always been.”
After the game, Crowell said he was pleased with his performance.
“I was kind of nervous at first, but it was a good experience,” Crowell said. “It was good to get my feet wet and get ready for the next game.”
Mistakes and all, it was a positive start for a contingent from Columbus that made an impact on offense, defense and special teams, Jones said.
“It’s a great feeling because we’ve got all of Columbus behind us, and everybody is tuned in watching us,” Jones said. “It was great for us to get in and produce for our team here.”
Chris White, 706-571-8571.