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The Latest: Argentina collapses vs. Croatia, could go home

The Latest: Argentina collapses vs. Croatia, could go home

The Latest: Argentina collapses vs. Croatia, could go home
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Petr David Josek
Argentina's Lionel Messi, center, reacts after missing to score during the group D match between Argentina and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Thursday, June 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The Latest: Argentina collapses vs. Croatia, could go home

The Latest on Thursday at the World Cup (all times local):

11 p.m.

Croatia has stunned Argentina 3-0 to advance to the group stage of the World Cup and leave Lionel Messi and his teammates needing help to stay alive.

The humiliating loss for one of soccer's most storied nations began to take shape when Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero miskicked a clearance that Croatia defender Ante Rebic drove into the net in the 53rd minute. Luka Modric scored the clincher on a long drive in the 80th and Ivan Rakitic added another in stoppage time.

Croatia has a perfect six points from two games. Argentina has one with one group match to play and no longer controls its own fate.


10:46 p.m.

Luka Modric has given Croatia a 2-0 lead over Argentina at the World Cup with a blistering shot from outside the penalty area.

Modric sent his right-footed shot into the corner of the goal with 10 minutes to go in Nizhny Novgorod, setting off Croatian celebrations. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic ran down the touchline jumping in delight.

Ivan Rakitic nearly made it 3-0 a few minutes later with a thunderous free kick off the crossbar.

The goal seems likely to have put Croatia through to the knockout stage. It also puts Argentina and Lionel Messi in danger of a disastrous group-stage exit at what could be the superstar forward's final World Cup.

Croatia took the lead in the 53rd after Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero miskicked when trying to clear from a back pass and Ante Rebic volleyed the ball pack past him and into the goal.


10:21 p.m.

Croatia leads Argentina 1-0 early in the second half after a big blunder from Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero.

Caballero tried to clear a back pass in the 53rd minute but miskicked it and Croatia forward Ante Rebic volleyed the ball back past him and into the goal.

The keeper threw his arms out in frustration and Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli clutched his head in his hands.

Croatia will qualify for the knockout stage for the first time since 1998 if it can hang on to its lead in Nizhny Novgorod.

Lionel Messi and his fellow Argentines are having a disastrous start to the World Cup after opening with a surprise 1-1 draw with Iceland, when Messi missed a penalty. They could still advance with a loss depending on the results of the remaining matches in the group.


9:52 p.m.

Argentina has missed chances and is 0-0 with Croatia at halftime at the World Cup.

Enzo Perez had the best of the opportunities for Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod when the ball fell to him after a mix-up in the Croatian defense. He put his shot wide of the open goal.

Maximiliano Meza earlier had a goal-bound shot blocked and Marcus Acuna hit the crossbar.

Argentina needs a win to get its campaign back on track after a surprise 1-1 draw against Iceland. Croatia started by beating Nigeria 2-0.

Lionel Messi is being kept quiet by Croatia's defense and has shown his frustration with the referee a couple of times after a few decisions went against Argentina.

Croatia can qualify for the knockout stage with a win.


9:45 p.m.

Authorities at Bogota's international airport have found 14 replica World Cup jerseys of Colombia's national team soaked with a total of 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of cocaine.

Investigators say an anti-narcotics agent grew suspicious when he saw the box of jerseys being sent to a small city in the Netherlands.

Officials said Thursday that the agent "observed with sadness that the shirt that has brought so much happiness to the country" was saturated with cocaine hydrochloride. Traffickers sometimes use clothes soaked in the drug and then dried to transport narcotics.

Coca production in Colombia has surged in recent years.


9:30 p.m.

An Argentina fan has been banned from attending World Cup matches after posting a sexist video in which he encouraged a Russian woman to say offensive things in Spanish.

The video shows the fan asking the young woman who didn't understand Spanish to repeat provocative phrases.

Argentine government security official Guillermo Madero, who is in Russia, told The Associated Press that the fan "won't be able to enter stadiums at the tournament and he won't be able to watch World Cup matches."

Madero had filed a formal request with Argentine authorities, which then gave the fan's name to Russian security forces. The fan's identification card, which supporters are required to show to enter stadiums in Russia, was then taken away from him.

A Colombian fan who posted a separate video with a female Japanese fan also had his fan ID confiscated so that he can't attend matches.

The sexist videos are among a string of incidents in which some Latin American fans are encouraging foreign women to say offensive things in languages they don't appear to understand.

— Associated Press writer Debora Rey reported from Moscow.


9:22 p.m.

Diego Maradona is back supporting Argentina at the World Cup — and he's behaving, so far.

The former Argentina captain and 1986 World Cup winner held up a Lionel Messi shirt before kickoff against Croatia, kissed it and jumped up and down as fans in Nizhny Novgorod sang his name.

Maradona was accused of making a racist gesture toward South Korean fans at Argentina's opening match in Moscow. He denied any racist intent but apologized for smoking a cigar. Smoking is banned at World Cup stadiums.


8:25 p.m.

American referee Jair Marrufo will make his World Cup debut working Saturday's match between Belgium and Tunisia in Moscow.

Marrufo, a 41-year-old from El Paso, Texas, was on the preliminary list of referees for the 2010 World Cup and then was cut.

He was suspended for two weeks early in the 2009 by the U.S. Soccer Federation for receiving a jersey from Chicago's Cuauhtemoc Blanco after a Major League Soccer match, and he did not work any MLS games after June 24 that year because of what the USSF said were poor performances.

Marrufo's father, Antonio, was a referee in Mexico's top division who was under consideration for the 1998 World Cup but wasn't picked.

The U.S. is the only nation with two referees at the World Cup. Mark Geiger controlled Wednesday's match between Portugal and Morocco. A 43-year-old from Beachwood, New Jersey, Geiger worked two matches during the group stage in Brazil four years ago, and then became the first American to officiate a knockout stage match: France's 2-0 win over Nigeria.


7:53 p.m.

France has ensured progression to the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Peru that also ended the South American team's World Cup hopes.

Kylian Mbappe scored in the 34th minute, becoming the youngest goal scorer in France's World Cup history.

France tops the Group C with six points, two clear of Denmark, which had a 1-1 draw with Australia. The Australians have one point, and Peru is out of contention after back-to-back 1-0 losses.

France and Denmark will meet next Tuesday, when Australia takes on Peru in the last group game.


7:48 p.m.

Some World Cup visitors are reported to have used their visa-free entry to Russia and fan identity documents as a means to seek asylum in the European Union by crossing the border to neighboring Finland.

Finnish public broadcaster YLE reported that a Nigerian citizen was detained last Friday at the Vainikkala border point, the main entry point to Finland from St. Petersburg and Moscow, after presenting a forged Brazilian passport.

Three Moroccan men were detained Sunday after illegally crossing the border in the woods near the same border post. YLE said the Nigerian citizen and Moroccans had used their World Cup IDs for visa-free entry to Russia, and that all four have sought asylum in Finland. Russia is allowing fans with FIFA credentials to visit without a visa during the tournament.

Finnish border guard spokesman Marko Saareks told YLE that "the tournament has started pretty briskly for us." He said Finnish officials had expected a spike in asylum claims from some World Cup visitors toward the end of the tournament rather than the beginning.


7:30 p.m.

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic apparently does not want to discuss the issue of tensions linked to Swiss players with Kosovo Albanian heritage ahead of the World Cup match against Serbia.

A reporter asked Petkovic how he would discuss the issue with his players, and the coach sidestepped the question.

Speaking through an interpreter, he says: "We will tell them we had a great match against Brazil. That's not enough; we have to play better against Serbia."

Tensions have been building in Serbia ahead of the Switzerland match. Not between Swiss and Serbian fans, but between Albanian and Serbian supporters.

That is because several players in the Swiss squad have Kosovo Albanian roots, including midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri who was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.


7:23 p.m.

Moscow authorities are blocking three planned protest rallies because of the World Cup.

Various opposition groups had applied to hold protests July 1, 3 and 4 in various parts of the Russian capital against plans to raise the pension age.

The city government's chief security official Vladimir Chernikov tells the Interfax news agency that all three applications were rejected "in connection with the decree" from President Vladimir Putin imposing tight security measures for the World Cup. The decree puts tight restrictions on mass gatherings during the tournament.

Chernikov says the protests would "obviously be uncomfortable and unsafe both for the city's inhabitants and for tourists."

Many Russians have been angered by the government's plans to raise the men's pension age from 60 to 65 and the women's pension age from 55 to 63. The government announced the measure June 14, the day the World Cup opened. Officials say it's needed to keep costs down because Russians are living longer.


7:10 p.m.

Nigeria's 19-year-old goalkeeper Francis Uzoho is showing no signs of stage fright.

Ahead of his team's crucial match against Iceland in Volgograd on Friday, Uzoho said the way he copes with the pressure at the World Cup is not to think about Nigeria's goalkeeping pedigree.

The likes of Vincent Enyeama, who made 101 international appearances between 2002 and 2015, and Peter Rufai, Nigeria's goalkeeper during the two World Cups the "Super Eagles" reached in the 1990s, are revered in their home country.

Uzoho says "I don't let the history get to me."

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr says the young keeper is "cool-headed" and improving all the time.

Uzoho was not meant to be Nigeria's goalkeeper at this World Cup but was promoted after Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with leukemia and needed treatment.


6:47 p.m.

France is leading Peru 1-0 at halftime after Kylian Mbappe became the youngest World Cup scorer for France, aged 19 years and 183 days. Mbappe knocked in an Olivier Giroud shot that was deflected by a defender in the 34rd minute.

The Peru fans outnumbered the French in the arena in Yekaterinburg and their team has been using any opportunity to pressure France. 

Striker Paolo Guerrero had the best chance for Peru in the 31st after collecting a pass from Christian Cueva but France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saved his low shot from close range.

Still, France appeared to be the more dangerous team. Lucas Hernandez had a shot blocked by goalkeeper Pdro Dallese late in the first half. Earlier, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba missed the target.


6:35 p.m.

France has taken a 1-0 lead over Peru after Kylian Mbappe tapped in from close range in the 34th.

France opened the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Australia, while Peru is coming off a 1-0 loss to Denmark in Group C.


6:10 p.m.

Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez is planning on deploying two players to mark Neymar on Friday but has assured the Brazil forward that they won't rough him up.

Neymar is aiming to add to his 55 international goals for Brazil, but is tentatively feeling his way back to fitness after breaking a toe on his right foot four months ago. He limped out of a practice session earlier in the week, after appearing to hurt his right ankle, but is back training and expected to play against Costa Rica at St. Petersburg stadium.

Asked how he plans to stop Neymar, Ramirez says: "Maybe we will mark him with two men, we will see." He quickly adds: "But of course we don't want to see any unfair attacks on him."

Ramirez also urged patience from Costa Rica's fans, perhaps spoiled by the team's achievement in reaching the quarterfinal stages four years ago.

"We know people in our country well, people in our country don't like losing," Ramirez said. "Sometimes we're a little self-destructive, I fear."


5:45 p.m.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva says his team's attempts to combat the "white nights" in St. Petersburg ultimately proved counter-productive.

The sun hardly sets in Russia's northernmost big city. In fact, it only starts to get dark around 10:30 p.m. and — after an inky-blue twilight — becomes light again soon after 3 a.m.

Brazil arrived on Wednesday, and Silva acknowledged he tried to take compensatory measures.

"Yesterday we stayed up a little late, having some physiotherapy," Silva said Thursday through a translator. "At 1:30 in the morning it was getting a little late."

Staying up too late was causing other issues.

"(We were told) to turn off (our) our cell phones, so that we could sleep," Silva said, smiling. "If you are talking to friends back home in Brazil this will give you sleeping problems."


5:05 p.m.

England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold says manager Gareth Southgate is yet to announce his team for the World Cup game against Panama, despite photographs circulating of a note that appeared to indicate a potential lineup.

Press photographers spotted England assistant coach Steve Holland at practice holding a note bearing a team in a 3-5-2 formation, with Marcus Rashford apparently playing in attack instead of Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in place of Dele Alli.

The Football Association hasn't commented on the significance of the photos and Alexander-Arnold played down its significance, saying the players "haven't been directly told who is starting and who isn't."

The right back says "all the positions are up for grabs. Until the manager names the team, it doesn't matter what has come out or leaked. I know the lads don't focus on stuff like that until it comes out of the manager's mouth."


4:55 p.m.

Two Russian fans have been sentenced to 10 days' detention for swearing at police ahead of a World Cup game.

St. Petersburg city court spokeswoman Darya Lebedeva says Arseny Deryabin and Alexander Nikitin cursed at law enforcement while going through security checks at the St. Petersburg Stadium ahead of Russia's 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday.

Court documents show they were sentenced Wednesday.


4:50 p.m.

Australia and Denmark have played out a 1-1 draw after a scoreless second half in Group C.

Christian Eriksen scored for Denmark in the 7th minute before Mile Jedinak's equalized with a penalty in the 38th to keep Australia's chances of progressing to the knockout stage alive.

A Jussuf Poulsen handball after video review set up Jedinak's opportunity.

Entering the World Cup, No. 36 Australia was the lowest-ranked team in the group with the others all in the top 12. France was set to play Peru in the other Group C match later Thursday in Yekaterinburg.

With a 2-1 loss to the French in the opener, another loss for Australia would have made it nearly impossible for the Socceroos to advance to the next stage. Denmark has four points after opening with a 1-0 win over Peru.


4:15 p.m.

Russian authorities have made apparently conflicting claims about whether part of the Luzhniki stadium's fire-detection equipment could have interfered with the goal-line technology system.

The Russian state telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor, says it found malfunctions with four pieces of equipment Wednesday but "there was and is no threat to the system of goal detection at Luzhniki."

However, Russian media reported a statement earlier Thursday from the same regulator, saying the equipment was operating on the same frequencies as the GoalControl system and could have interfered with it. The first statement has been removed from Roskomnadzor's website.

FIFA and GoalControl didn't respond to requests for comment. The system hasn't been required in three games so far at Luzhniki.

It's the second time the World Cup has used the technology, which uses seven cameras to determine whether the ball has crossed the line.


3:48 p.m.

It is 1-1 at halftime after Australia captain Jedinak equalized from the penalty spot in the 39th minute to counter an early Denmark goal.

Christian Eriksen scored from close range in the 7th minute to give Demark a 1-0 lead. Jedinak's penalty came after video replay determined a hand ball in the box for Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen — a call that the Danish players pleaded against.

The match was considered a must-win for Australia, the lowest-ranked team in Group C. The Socceroos dropped their opener 2-1 to France — Jedinak also scored from the spot in that game. Denmark is coming off a 1-0 victory over Peru in its opener. 


3:39 p.m.

Australia captain Mile Jedinak has equalized in the 38th minute against Denmark after converting a penalty that was awarded after a video review. It's 1-1.

Yussuf Poulsen handled the ball when he went up to challenge for a header in the area and referee Antonio Mateu awarded the penalty after reviewing a replay on a sideline monitor.

Jedinak, who also scored from the spot in Australia's opening 2-1 loss to France, calmly slotted the penalty kick after sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.


3:15 p.m.

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has revealed that winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson isn't expected to recover in time to play against Nigeria at the World Cup.

Gudmundsson tore his calf muscle in Iceland's surprising 1-1 draw against Argentina last Saturday.

Hallgrimsson tells a news conference he was "not going to hide" the fact that Berg Gudmundsson is unlikely to recover in time, and says there'll "definitely" be changes in the lineup.

Hallgrimsson said it was always his intention to alter the team in light of the different threat posed by Nigeria.

If Nigeria loses it will be out, having already lost its opening Group D match against Croatia 2-0.


3:07 p.m.

Christian Eriksen has given Denmark a 1-0 lead in the 7th minute of the World Cup Group C game against Australia.

Nicolai Jorgensen had two controlled touches to create a scoring chance with well-timed pass and Eriksen finished off with a left-foot shot from close range.


2:55 p.m.

FIFA says it condemns claims by a Morocco player that American referee Mark Geiger asked for a player's shirt during Portugal's 1-0 win on Wednesday.

Geiger denied the allegation to FIFA, which says the referee behaved in an "exemplary and professional manner."

The claim was made by Morocco player Noureddine Amrabat in a post-game interview with Netherlands public broadcaster NOS.

Amrabat said Portugal defender Pepe told him the referee had asked for his shirt during the first half.

The Morocco player told NOS: "This is the World Cup, it's not a circus."

Some media wrongly reported Amrabat as saying Pepe told him Geiger had asked for Ronaldo's shirt.

FIFA responded by saying it learned of reports of the allegation with "regret and disappointment."


1:30 p.m.

Defender Thiago Silva will be Brazil's captain in Friday's match against Costa Rica.

Veteran left back Marcelo wore the arm band in the 1-1 opening draw against Switzerland but coach Tite decided before the World Cup that he would rotate the team's captaincy.

Silva was Brazil's captain at the World Cup in 2014, when he was criticized for breaking down before a penalty shootout in the round of 16.

Silva had already captained Brazil in a friendly against Argentina a year ago, when the "Selecao" lost 1-0 for its only setback under Tite.

Neymar took over the captaincy from Silva following the team's disappointing elimination in the 2014 World Cup at home.

The player who captained Brazil the most under Tite was Daniel Alves, who missed the Russia World Cup because of a knee injury.


12:35 p.m.

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he met Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin and talked about the Russia team's good start to the World Cup.

Blatter went to see Russia's president after attending Portugal's 1-0 win over Morocco in Moscow on Wednesday.

Blatter says "we had small talks. We spoke about football and the good start of the competition, the good start of the team." Russia has qualified for the round of 16.

The 82-year-old Blatter is serving a six-year ban from official football duty until October 2021 for financial misconduct during this 17-year rule. The terms of the ban meant Blatter was kept separate from successor Gianni Infantino and other football officials at Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

Fulfilling a long-standing personal invitation from Putin to attend the World Cup, Blatter will travel to St. Petersburg to see Brazil play Costa Rica on Friday.

Blatter says it was "respectful" to be invited to Russia and the Kremlin despite being suspended from football.


11:40 a.m.

Dele Alli has missed England's practice session because of a thigh injury, putting him in doubt for the team's second group game against Panama at the World Cup.

The midfielder was hurt during England's 2-1 win over Tunisia on Monday and was taken off in the second half.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the likely replacement if Alli misses out.

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATLANTA — For Trent Pearson and Jason Miller, it was set up to be a perfect day: Atlanta United soccer at The Benz in the afternoon, SEC football talk in the evening at Centennial Olympic Park. There ended up being some wrinkles. It started with the hometown soccer team not winning (they played Seattle to a 1-1 draw). And then Georgia coach Kirby Smart had to cancel his scheduled appearance on SEC Nation, which was broadcasting a live show from the park from 6 to 8 p.m. It was a perfect day for Atlanta’s Jason Miller (L) and Trent Pearson, who are both Georgia fans and fans of the Atlanta United soccer team. (Chip Towers/DawgNation) But there were no complaints from these two fans. “I saw on social media a few weeks ago that this was going on and I’m a season ticket holder for Atlanta United,” said Pearson, drinking a beer with his buddy underneath the UGA Alumni Association tent around dusk. “So I knew I wanted to come over and check it out afterward. It’s been pretty cool. I’m pumped it’s in Atlanta because Atlanta is the heart of the SEC.” The SEC is holding its annual Football Media Days convention in Atlanta for the first time in history. It has been held in Birmingham since the late 1980s. On Sunday, the league conducted its first-ever SEC Summerfest football kickoff celebration. The aim was to cater to fans. There was live music, food trucks, interactive games for kids and hospitality tents for all 14 of the SEC schools. The finale was intended to be the SEC Nation show, featuring all the SEC Network’s television personalities and college football analysts. But the crowd had thinned out considerably by the time that started at 6 p.m. as Atlanta United fans headed home. “I think it’s a great idea and it’ll only get better over time,” Pearson said. “This is the first year and not that many people knew about it. Atlanta is a lot better place for the SEC preseason meetings.” As expected, Georgia fans had the strongest presence. But Florida and Auburn were also very well-represented. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn created a stir among and orange-and-blue set when he made an appearance on SEC Nation early in the show. The SEC had announced that Smart was also going to make an appearance, but he backed out for unspecified reasons. Trent Woods, better known as Big Dawg III, was among the contingent of Georgia fans to descend on Centennial Olympic Park Sunday for the SEC’s inaugural SEC Summerfest event. (Chip Towers/DawgNation) “He’s probably busy trying to see that Demetris Robertson gets eligible this season,” cracked Trent Woods, better known as Big Dawg III, the famous Georgia fan who wears the face of a bulldog painted atop his head. Woods was headed toward the Centennial Park exit but still taking photos with fans around 7 p.m. He said he’d been there since about 3 p.m. “And I forgot to put on sunscreen today, so I’m going to be feeling it later,” he said, rubbing the crown of his head. All of the goings on Sunday were a sideshow to the main event that begins late Monday morning. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey will give a state of the SEC address around 11 a.m., kicking off four days of football talk and preseason hype in The Omni Hotel and College Football Hall of Fame. Pearson’s ties to Georgia run deep. He’s a UGA alum who worked for the Bulldogs as an equipment manager while in school. He’s about to take a full-time job at The Citadel. The same can’t be said for his friend. Miller is actually a Georgia Tech alum but he said he also roots for Georgia in all but one game a year. “Just don’t tell anybody,” Miller said. Oops. The post Georgia and Atlanta United fans unite at inaugural SEC Summerfest event appeared first on DawgNation.
  • LEBANON, Tenn. — Zion Logue committed to the Georgia staff about a week ago. He went public with that choice from a gathering at his aunt’s home in Central Tennessee on Sunday night. The 6-foot-5.5, 285-pound standout chose Georgia over a field of options that included serious interest from Kentucky, Ole Miss and Memphis. Alabama and Ohio State were a couple of his other higher-profile offers but they had not ratcheted up their pursuit of Logue the way that a few other schools had. Logue becomes the 11th commitment for the Bulldogs in the class of 2019. His decision also bumps the Bulldogs up to No. 11 nationally. Georgia’s class now rates as the No. 4 collection in the SEC based off the 247Sports Team Composite rankings. He will not enroll early and told DawgNation that the current plan is for him to not take any other official or unofficial visits besides the one he will take to Georgia. “If Georgia will let me take any other visits then I will have to think about that,” Logue said. “But if they do not want me to do that, then I will make sure to honor what they want me to do with that.” Why did he choose Georgia? Logue said that he couldn’t really articulate all the exact reasons. It was largely just a feeling, he said. “It is just that family feel I get with Georgia,” Logue said. “I just feel like Georgia has something really special going on with that program right now and in the seasons to come.” It is worth noting here that the DL target with the size-14 cleats is now the only 3-star commitment for the Bulldogs in the class. About that 3-star rating here with Zion Logue Did you just get a good look at that film? See what you need to know? Well, go ahead and flush all of that. That film is essentially the recruiting equivalent of a weight loss “before” picture. With Logue, it will involve some serious weight gain. Logue seemed to have re-booted his recruiting over the last 3-4 months. That junior year film from Lebanon High School was at least 50 pounds ago. It now looks like he has transformed his body from a 245-pound defensive end as a junior into a serious SEC defensive line target for this cycle. “I feel like I was able to show all those coaches that I was committed to working to become something really special one day,” Logue said. The weight change, which was accomplished through some serious weight training, has reshaped his body. He was a different player when several major Power 5 programs saw him over the summer, including Georgia. “My junior year I played around 240 or 245 pounds,” he said. “Then from January to March this year, I put on 35 pounds.” That grind has included a lot of explosive lifts. Squats. Cleans. Weighted jumps from the middle of a power clean position. He’s kept on bulking up from there. Logue has added another 15-20 pounds to his frame since then. His trainer Shavez Jobe told DawgNation that the future Bulldog DT has added that weight without losing any of his speed. He’s still right around the 5.0 or 5.1 mark in the 40-yard dash. “Just weight room and more weight room,” Logue said. “Being in the weight room every day and just working.” His athletic ability allowed him to play three spots in high school. He just recently gave up baseball and used to be a middle school quarterback. Jobe and Logue both believe he can still throw a football about 60 yards. The college position projection for Zion Logue Logue rates on the 247Sports composite scale as the nation’s No. 42 strong-side DE prospect, but that projection was at his previous weight and that position. He traveled to the U.S. Army All-American camp back in January and established himself as a prospect with a bit higher ceiling than that. Especially as he kept reshaping his body into a frame which can withstand the rigors of the SEC. Where does UGA plan to use him? “I can play between the ‘3’ and the ‘5’ technique for Georgia,” Logue said. “The coaches saw what I could do when I camped there for them and that’s where they plan to use me.” He told DawgNation that he also plans to be at the highly-anticipated west end zone expansion and locker room reveal at Sanford Stadium later this month. Logue had originally planned to make his commitment known on Sept. 6 but chose to move it up in order to just settle the matter of his college future and end his recruiting process. The post BREAKING: Bulldogs add defensive line target Zion Logue to 2019 class appeared first on DawgNation.
  • As much fun as it is for Georgia fans to reminisce about the greatest games we’ve seen, there are other days we’d just as soon forget — but can’t. Of course, any time the Dawgs lose is a bad day for fans, but some games are such awful experiences, for one reason or another, that they are seared into our memories. Here are 10 of the least favorite Dawgs football games that I’ve attended over the years — and, as you’ll see, not all of them are losses … Tech in the rain The 34-14 drubbing by the Yellow Jackets in 1974, closing out the first regular season after I graduated from UGA, is probably my least favorite game ever. On a day when Athens was hit by what Vince Dooley later recalled as “the hardest sustained rain I can ever remember for a football game,” Pepper Rodgers’ Georgia Tech team ran the wishbone just about to perfection on a muddy field. As Dooley put it 15 years later in the book “Dooley’s Dawgs,” on that day Tech “dominated us … It was one of our most humiliating defeats. … I’ve never been so embarrassed.” In addition to the downpour, it was bitterly cold, and Dooley’s players were huddling around a portable heater on the sideline. “It was obvious they were more concerned about staying warm than being in the game,” he recalled. I couldn’t blame them, though. I was so wet and cold and miserable that I left the game early in the third quarter — the first time I’d ever done that.  Florida in Athens  Georgia’s Kirby Smart is sandwiched by Gators players in the 1995 game against Florida, played in Athens. (Dave Martin/AP) Stadium renovations in Jacksonville that made it necessary to move the Georgia-Florida series to Gainesville and Athens for two years brought Steve Spurrier’s No. 3-ranked Gators Between the Hedges for the 1995 game. What resulted was a humiliating beatdown that saw Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel throw five touchdown passes in just under three quarters. But, that wasn’t enough for Spurrier, known for his hatred of the Bulldogs. He decided he wanted his Gators to be the first team to score “half a hundred” on the Dawgs in Athens, so they kept pushing, including a final score with 1:10 left on the clock, to give Florida a 52-17 win over Ray Goff’s hapless team. Most of the Georgia fans (including me) were no longer there to watch Spurrier celebrate his triumph, though, having left during the fourth quarter. Thankfully, I was there 20 years later when another Georgia team returned the favor and closed out Spurrier’s career against the Dawgs with a 52-20 trouncing of his South Carolina Gamecocks. I never saw anything sweeter than a dejected Prince of Darkness removing his headset in disgust before the game was over. Bama: The ‘Blackout’ and more Alabama came into Athens ranked No. 8 in the country to face Mark Richt’s No. 3-ranked Dawgs, who featured Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. UGA declared a Blackout in honor of the game, and the Sanford Stadium crowd was stoked at kickoff. By halftime, with the Tide having put up a 31-0 lead, the black-clad Georgia fans were shell-shocked. The final score of 41-30 may have looked a bit more respectable on paper, but no one who was there would sum it up as anything but complete domination by Nick Saban’s troops. Some fans naturally blamed the black jerseys, which didn’t show up again for another eight years . The 38-10 loss to Bama in Athens in 2015 also is a pretty awful memory, exacerbated by the fact that it was a rainy day and the trudge back to the car afterward was miserable. This was another game completely dominated by Alabama. Strangely, this time no one blamed Georgia’s jerseys (which were red). A royal thrashing Vince Dooley and Britain’s Prince Charles meet before the 1977 game against Kentucky. (University of Georgia) Perhaps the most star-studded Georgia homecoming game ever also turned out to be one of the worst losses of the Dooley era. In what would turn out to be the fabled head coach’s only losing season in Athens, UGA welcomed Britain’s Prince Charles (“Damn good prince!” chanted the student section) and former “Beverly Hillbillies” star Donna Douglas to its 1977 game against Kentucky, plus James Brown performed “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs” on the field at halftime with the Redcoat Band. But, the game itself sucked. Georgia was held to eight first downs and 127 total yards. including just 47 rushing, and Kentucky won 33-0. True, this wasn’t your usual Kentucky team; the Cats would finish the season 10-1, ranked sixth in the nation. Still, as Scott Woerner recalled years later, “t he Kentucky game that year was not just a capitulation of one team, but a complete domination by the other.” I’m not sure if it was this game, or maybe another day where the Dawgs were dominated, but one of my all-time favorite Dooley stories, told by an ex-player, took place at halftime of a shellacking at home: The disgusted Georgia head coach came into the Sanford locker room, shoved a row of lockers, knocking them over, and walked out, not saying a word. A come-from-ahead loss The 2009 matchup against Kentucky in Athens was the only time I’ve viewed a game at Sanford Stadium from one of the enclosed private boxes. The free food and adult beverages served were enjoyable, but I felt strangely removed from the action, with glass between me and the game and the sound piped in. However, considering what happened in the second half, maybe that was a blessing. Georgia took a 20-6 halftime lead, but Kentucky scored 14 points off four second-half turnovers by the Dawgs, and the Wildcats rallied to beat Georgia 34-27 for their first win in Athens since that 1977 homecoming game. The view from above allowed me to anticipate the interception Georgia QB Joe Cox threw on a screen pass while the ball was still in the air. All in all, not the way I prefer to watch football. Donnan’s last Tech game Unlike the previous year’s 51-48 thriller in Atlanta, the 2000 Tech game in Athens wasn’t close. I’ve seen many bad plays over the years, but few have been as dispiriting as watching slow-footed Tech QB George Godsey fake out the Dawgs defense and run for a 33-yard touchdown less than 2 minutes into the game. Tech built a 27-3 halftime lead and cruised to a 27-15 victory over the 19th-ranked Bulldogs. It was tough for Georgia fans to watch Tech players holding up three fingers (indicating three consecutive wins over the Dawgs), as they tore into the hedges. But, on the bright side, it led to Jim Donnan’s firing.  A stunning loss The 2006 loss to a Vanderbilt team that would finish the season 4-8 definitely was one of the most surprising defeats of the Richt era. Vanderbilt left Athens with a 24-22 win over the 14th-ranked Bulldogs. Georgia took a 22-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the Dawgs failed on a 2-point conversion and then missed a field goal with about 5 minutes left that would have forced Vandy to go for a TD on its final possession. The Commodores kicked the winning field goal with 2 seconds left. The Sanford scoreboard immediately went blank after the final whistle, but it didn’t help erase the memory of what we’d just seen. The squib kick The 2014 loss to Georgia Tech forever will be known as the “squib kick” game. (Sean Taylor/UGA) Usually, when you take the lead with 18 seconds left on the clock, you win. But, Richt teams had a knack for being the exception to that rule. Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason hit Malcolm Mitchell with a 3-yard touchdown pass to put the Dawgs ahead in the 2014 game against Georgia Tech, but Richt elected to call for a squib kick on the kickoff, enabling the Jackets to get great field position and quickly get in position for a game-tying field goal. The game went to overtime, and Georgia lost 30-24. Of course, the squib kick wasn’t the only reason the Dawgs lost that day. There were a pair of fumbles on or near the goal line, and, on one fourth quarter drive, Georgia was first-and-goal at the 1-yard line and had to settle for a field goal. Also, Jeremy Pruitt’s defense gave up 399 yards and allowed the Jackets to convert on eight third downs and two fourth downs. Still, the squib kick, giving Tech the ball at their own 43 with 13 seconds remaining, will go down as one of the biggest coaching blunders in UGA football history. A tie that felt like a loss The lightly regarded Pitt Panthers came into Athens three-touchdown underdogs to start the 1973 season, but, thanks to some clever scheming on defense, and freshman back Tony Dorsett running for over 100 yards, the game ended in a 7-7 tie. Most of The Red & Black’s student staff wasn’t back yet (school started later in those days) and, as the summer managing editor, I was drafted to help out with the coverage. It was the only regular season game I’ve ever watched from the press box, an experience I didn’t particularly enjoy since you weren’t supposed to cheer, plus a sportswriter sitting near me provided a running racist commentary on Dorsett’s exploits. My assignment was to do the UGA locker room reaction story after the game. The slogan written on the blackboard exhorted “Take Pride in Yourself!” but my old Athens classmate Andy Johnson and the other Dawgs weren’t feeling very proud. It seemed like a losers’ locker room. “We just never could get going,” Andy told me. “We didn’t underestimate them. We knew they would be good, but, I don’t know, I guess we just weren’t ready.” With Heisman-winner Dorsett leading Pitt to a national title two years later, perhaps Georgia’s performance that day wasn’t as underwhelming as it seemed. Still, the result, combined with the press box experience, made it one of my least favorite games. A depressing overtime win Sometimes, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you played the game. Thus, just as a couple of losses made my list of the all-time “best” Georgia games, the 2015 overtime victory over Georgia Southern has a place on this list of my least favorite games. It’s all a matter of perspective; my daughter, for whom it was her last home game as a UGA student, says this was one of her favorite games, because it was so exciting, and Georgia won. But, I can’t get past the fact that the Dawgs never should have been taken to overtime by a lesser nonconference opponent like Georgia Southern. When I look back at the game now, Georgia having to struggle against such an opponent — not exactly a cupcake, but certainly not an SEC-level program — sort of encapsulates much of the fan frustration with the last years of the Richt era of Bulldogs football.     That’s my list of some of the games I wish I could forget. Thankfully, there’ve been many more good — even great — days than bad ones during my decades attending Georgia football games. If you’d like to share your thoughts or questions on this or any other Dawgs topic, email me at junkyardblawg@gmail.com . The post 10 of the least favorite Georgia football games this fan has attended appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Now that the Paul Finebaum drama has been settled, the SEC can get on with kicking off the college football season like it does every year. Only this year, the league plans to make SEC Football Media Days a bigger deal than ever. All the rhetoric that annually precedes the season will get under way this week as coaches and players from all 14 teams and more than 1,000 media members who follow them descend on Atlanta for the first time in history. But the SEC plans to crank it up a notch — starting on Sunday — a day earlier than usual — and incorporating fans into the proceedings. Centennial Olympic Park is where SEC football fans will want to be between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday. That’s the location for the first SEC Football Kickoff Summerfest. Presented by Regions Bank, the free event will feature live music, interactive games for kids, food trucks and party tents set up for each of the respective 14 schools. The main event gets underway at 6 p.m. as SEC Nation – the SEC’s version of College GameDay featuring that Finebaum guy and all the other SEC Network personalities — goes live from the park. Country music artist John King will be playing live and there will be a deejay as well. “The thought was just to make one of our bigger, signature events just a little bit bigger by allowing more fans to participate,” said Herb Vincent, the SEC’s associate commissioner for communications. “The opportunity we have there in Atlanta is outstanding with Centennial Olympic Park being right across the street from the College Football Hall of Fame. … Basically, it’s an opportunity to tailgate in the summer time.” Georgia and Auburn fans hoping to get the early scoop on their respective teams are urged to show up Sunday. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn have been confirmed as guests on SEC Nation. It definitely should make for a happening scene in downtown Atlanta. In addition to the SEC’s considerable presence, Atlanta United FC – the city’s wildly popular professional soccer club – will be playing a match against Seattle nearby at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 2 p.m. “We think we’ll get some spillover from that,” Vincent said. “The College Football Hall of Fame is open and they’ll be showing the World Cup, so there should be a lot of activity downtown.” Media Days itself won’t get started until late Monday morning inside the Hall of Fame, but fans are invited to greet their favorite coaches and players in the lobby of the Marietta Street facility across the street from Centennial Olympic Park. But expect the atmosphere to be considerably less festive as teams and reporters begin to discuss in earnest the serious business of what to expect this coming season. Led off by a state of the conference message from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey on Monday, each head coach and three selected players will take turns on the podium throughout the week. The event concludes on Thursday. Following is the lineup: MONDAY (All times Eastern) 11:30 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.: Commissioner Greg Sankey and Texas A&M 2 p.m. – 6:50 p.m.: Kentucky and LSU TUESDAY 8:30 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.: Steve Shaw, SEC Coordinator of Football Officials 9 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Georgia and Ole Miss 1:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Arkansas and Florida WEDNESDAY 8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.: David Fletcher, Football Bowl Association 8:40 a.m. – 8:55 a.m.: Bill Hancock, Executive Director College Football Playoff 9 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Mississippi State and Tennessee 1:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Alabama and Missouri THURSDAY 8:30 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.: Football Writers Association of America 8:40 a.m. – 8:55 a.m.: National Football Foundation 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Auburn, Vanderbilt and South Carolina At the end of the week, media members will vote on all-conference teams and predict an order of finish. Georgia and Alabama are the prohibitive favorites to win their respective divisions heading in. But the real fun to be had happens on Sunday. The SEC is hopeful that great turnout will spur on a new tradition. “We won’t know much about it until it happens,” Vincent said. “It depends on the weather, of course. But we think it should be a lot of fun.” The post SEC hoping for festive atmosphere for first Football Media Days in Atlanta appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The decision is in. Demetris Robertson is coming back home to play for his home state Georgia Bulldogs.  The transfer commitment video drop from Chimin’ In Media settles a short-term matter. Robertson will come back home to play for his home state Georgia Bulldogs. Will he play right away in 2018? That could happen. Will he have to sit out another year due to his transfer to hit the field in 2019? That could also happen. That will hinge on an NCAA ruling. But for right now, let’s traffic in a much more clear-cut debate. Robertson’s decision should have no bearing on the ultimate decisions for the pair of 5-star receivers the Bulldogs currently have committed for 2019. That would be 5-stars Jadon Haselwood and Dominick Blaylock. Both of those prospects are long-time homegrown in-state commitments to the Bulldogs. That’s looking at it from purely a football perspective first and foremost. Haselwood currently ranks as the nation’s No. 1 WR for the 2019 cycle. He also rates as the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect for the 247Sports composite. While we are talking about two extremely talented receiver prospects here, I do hold the scouting opinion that Haselwood has more upside as a prospect than Robinson. If you absolutely had to pick one, then you would pick Haselwood. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior is more of a complete receiver in the A.J. Green mold. He is also a player that thrives on competition. He didn’t let any of the talented prospects that UGA was chasing in the 2018 or 2019 classes affect the decision he made way back in March of 2018. There are also three clear points to convey here: Haselwood is an outside receiver or an “X” receiver. Robertson will work in the slot. If he is the player he has shown to be so far, then Robertson will likely only spend one or two seasons at Georgia. That means Haselwood and Robertson will at the most only play together in the 2019 season. Haselwood, on the other hand, will have at least three seasons of eligibility at UGA. What do the UGA fans think? It seems that more than 1,000 of the responded recently to a Twitter poll about which player they would rather see play for the Bulldogs. who would you rather have at UGA? — sᴀᴠᴀɴɴᴀʜ ᴋ ᴊᴏɴᴇs ☆ (@sav_katherine) July 9, 2018 Blaylock might be the player that might be competing with Robertson for snaps and specific play calls in the UGA offense in the 2019 season. That said, he should still be seen as one of the most committed prospects in the 2019 class. Dominick Blaylock ranks as the nation’s No. 4 receiver prospect in the class of 2019. (Nate Gettleman/Cox Media Group file photo) The Walton High standout plans to take just one official visit. That’s the one to UGA. He also hasn’t made a single recruiting trip to visit another school since he made his commitment in July of 2017. If anything, that adds to the lure of UGA for Blaylock. It will be another headache of a matchup for SEC defensive backs to contend with. “Dom doesn’t worry about anyone else,” Blaylock’s father John Woods told DawgNation. “The more the better. He’s just going to do his thing.” Robertson becomes the 17th player on the UGA roster or commitment list that has received a 5-star rating from at least one of the major recruiting services.   The post How does the Demetris Robertson decision affect UGA recruiting? appeared first on DawgNation.