ATHENS, Ga. — Having to face Nebraska in a second straight bowl game is anything but a bummer for Georgia junior receiver Chris Conley.
The pairing instantly brought back good memories.
Conley had a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns against the Cornhuskers in this past January’s Capital One Bowl, and his 87-yard score with 11 minutes remaining clinched Georgia’s 45-31 victory. The performance occurred a month after Conley instinctively caught a tipped pass at Alabama’s 5-yard line as time ran out on Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
“After that Alabama game, I was dealing with some struggles,” Conley said, “and being able to come out and have success in the game immediately after that was huge for us and huge for me personally. It sent me into the offseason charged up, and I had a great spring.
“I came into this season ready to play, so it was a great game for me.”
Conley entered the Capital One Bowl as Georgia’s sixth-leading receiver. He will enter the Gator Bowl tops on the team with 42 receptions for 605 yards and four touchdowns.
The 6-foot-3, 206-pounder from Dallas, Ga., is coming off a seven-catch, 129-yard showing in the 41-34 double-overtime win at Georgia Tech. The seven catches were a career-high, with his yardage total ranking second only to his showing in Orlando.
Conley missed two games this season after spraining his ankle on the final play against Vanderbilt, but that’s a much better predicament compared to what other Bulldogs receivers had to endure.
“I can’t complain, and I feel like I’ve gotten better even though my numbers don’t jump off the page,” Conley said. “I feel like I’ve had a pretty solid year not only in my execution but in my development as a player. I feel really good about where I’m at right now.”
When he’s not playing football, studying in journalism or serving as the team representative on Georgia’s student-athlete advisory committee, Conley can be found scouring the campus for students willing to be filmed in light-saber battles. An admitted “Star Wars” junkie, Conley is in his own film, and he’s recruited tailback Todd Gurley as well.
“He just has been a great leader for us,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. “Younger guys look up to his work ethic and understand how that can really bless you in your career. He’s done so many things off the field, as far as community service projects and getting involved in student government on campus and nationally.
“I think he’s a world-changer kind of guy. I know when his football days are over – whenever they are – he’s going to do something big. He’s a great kid.”
Odds and ends
The Bulldogs worked out for two hours Wednesday in full pads. … Richt said that freshman Tramel Terry’s move from receiver to safety could be permanent, adding that Terry has a “good body type for that.” … Adam Erickson continues to be the punter, having supplanted Collin Barber after the loss at Auburn.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...