Georgia 48, W. Carolina 0
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Freshman Eric Zeier passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns and Chuck Carswell returned a punt 71 yards for another as Georgia overpowered Western Carolina 48-0 on Saturday.
Greg Talley also connected with Larry Ware on a 65-yard scoring pass and Carswell set up a field goal with a 44-yard punt return and a touchdown with an 11-yard interception return in the season opener for both teams.
Georgia snapped a four-game losing streak from the end of last season and extended the Division I-AA Catamounts’ losing streak to seven games.
The Catamounts crossed midfield three times, twice having Phil Shirley fail on field goal attempts of 51 and 50 yards.
Preston Jones, Georgia’s third quarterback, threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Shannon Mitchell in the final quarter. Georgia’s other scoring came on a 1- yard run by Mack Strong and field goals of 48 and 27 yards by Todd Peterson.
Zeier, a highly touted recruit who went through spring training with the Bulldogs, was sacked on his second college play and threw incomplete on the next play.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Zeier then went to work, picking the Catamount secondary to pieces. He completed 15 of 22 passes.
His touchdown passes covered 17 yards to Paul Etheridge in the second quarter and eight yards to Rodney McCoy on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Talley started and drove the Bulldogs to the Western Carolina 31 on the game’s first possession, but Peterson’s 48-yard field goal try hit the crossbar and fell away.
Carswell then returned a punt 44 yards to the Western 31, setting up Patterson’s 48-yard field goal that broke the ice midway through the opening period.
Talley dumped a short pass to Ware at midfield and the Bulldog tailback took it the rest of the way down the middle untouched as Georgia took a 10-0 lead with 3:44 left in the quarter.
Carswell’s 71-yard punt return in the opening minute of the second quarter put the Bulldogs in control, and they steadily pulled away from the Southern Conference foe.
Mitchell Hambrick’s fumble recovery on the Western 19 set up the Jones-to- Mitchell touchdown that ended the scoring.