Rodrigo cracks CFP record book but can’t prevent overtime loss in title game

Game-by-game summaries listed below

Updated through Jan. 10, 2018

On the way: Rodrigo’s successful 55-yard field goal is headed for the crossbar. When the ball landed, the kick became a Rose Bowl record and also the longest field goal in Georgia bowl history.
The College Football Playoff championship game was settled on the last play of overtime — just as the semifinal matchup was for Georgia. But this time the Dawgs finished on the short end of the scoreboard, falling 26-23 to Alabama in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Dome on Jan. 8 despite the record-breaking efforts of redshirt sophomore kicker Rodrigo. 

Rodrigo etched his name into the CFP record book more than a half-dozen times during the playoff season, including longest field goal made in both semifinal and final games. His pressurized 51-yarder against Alabama gave UGA a short-lived 23-20 lead in the first overtime, and it outdistanced the previous best in a title game by 14 yards — Clemson’s Greg Huegel had a 37-yarder against Alabama in 2016. In the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, Rodrigo’s 55-yarder to end the first half knocked the 47-yarder by Alabama’s Adam Griffith out of the top spot for semifinal games.

Additionally, Rodrigo’s 11 points (3 FGs, 2 PATs) is a record for kicking points in a championship game, sending Huegel’s 10 points to second place. For combined points in semifinal and final, Rodrigo’s 23 points equals Huegel. Rodrigo is now second in most field goals in a semifinal (2) and is in first place for most field goals in a final with 3. For most field goals in two games, Rodrigo is tied for first with Huegel with 5.  For most PATs in a semifinal, Rodrigo is now tied for first with Oregon’s Aidan Schneider, who had 6 in 2015, and Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert, who had 6 against Georgia.  For most kicking points in a semifinal, Rodrigo’s 12 points against Oklahoma is second to Huegel’s 13. Seibert also had 12.

For the season, Rodrigo led the Dawgs in scoring with 123 points, which is third all-time for Georgia kickers. Billy Bennett’s 131 and 130 remain in the top two spots. Rodrigo tied Marshall Morgan for second place for most PATs in a season with 63; Morgan’s 67 is No. 1. Rodrigo joined several other Georgia kickers with a perfect PAT season, but his 63 total is now the most without missing, knocking Kevin Butler’s 52 into second place. Rodrigo’s career PAT percentage of 100 is now tied for first with Brandon Coutu.

In field goals, Rodrigo’s 20-for-23 season increased his career totals to 34 for 41, a success percentage of 82.9, which is best all-time at Georgia. Coutu now occupies second place at 80.3.

The one-season touchback record already belonged to Rodrigo, and the final number for 2017 rose to 67 with three more in the final against Alabama. The previous record of 51 was established in 1981 by Kevin Butler. Rodrigo’s 8 touchbacks against Missouri is also a team one-game record.

Game-by-game summaries

Game One: Georgia 31, Appalachian State 10

Kickoffs: 6 for 444 yards, 74.0 average, 5 touchbacks. Return yards: 15. Average field position: 23.3-yard line.

PATs: 4 for 4.

FGs: 1 for 1 (23 yards).

Game Two: Georgia 20, Notre Dame 19

Kickoffs: 5 for 331 yards, 66.2 average, 1 touchback. Return yards: 84. Average field position: 21.8-yard line.

PATs: 2 for 2.

FGs: 2 for 3 (27 make, 44 miss, 30 make)

Game Three: Georgia 42, Samford 14

Kickoffs: 7 for 526 yards, 75.1 average, 7 touchbacks. Return yards: 0. Average field position: 25-yard line.

PATs: 5 for 5.

FGs: none attempted.

This 38-yard field goal by Rodrigo gives Georgia an early 3-0 lead in the eventual 41-0 victory over Tennessee.

Game Four: Georgia 31, Mississippi State 3

Kickoffs: 6 for 437 yards, 72.8 average, 6 touchbacks. Return yards: 0. Average field position: 25-yard line.

PATs: 4 for 4.

FGs: 1 for 1 (49 make)

Game Five: Georgia 41, Tennessee 0

Kickoffs: 7 for 494 yards, 70.6 average, 5 touchbacks. Return yards: 39. Average field position: 22.8-yard line.

PATs: 5 for 5.

FGs: 1 for 1 (38 make)

Game Six: Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 14

Kickoffs: 8 for 553 yards, 69.1 average, 5 touchbacks. Return yards: 65. Average field position: 23.75-yard line.

PATs: 6 for 6.

FGs: 1 for 1 (27 make)

Game Seven: Georgia 53, Missouri 28

Kickoffs: 10 for 705 yards, 70.5-yard average, 8 touchbacks. Return yards: 49. Average field position: 26.4-yard line.

PATs: 5 for 5.

FGs: 4 for 4 (37 make, 43 make, 29 make, 27 make)

Game Eight: Georgia 42, Florida 7

Kickoffs: 7 for 495 yards, 70.7-yard average, 4 touchbacks. Return yards: 69. Average field position: 24.0-yard line.

PATs: 6 for 6.

FGs: none attempted

Game Nine: Georgia 24, South Carolina 10

Kickoffs: 4 for 272 yards, 68.0-yard average, 3 touchbacks. Return yards: 13. Average field position: 22.0-yard line.

PATs: 3 for 3.

FGs: 1 for 1 (21 make)

Game Ten: Auburn 40, Georgia 17

Kickoffs: 4 for 270 yards, 67.5-yard average, 3 touchbacks. Return yards: 12. Average field position: 24.3-yard line.

PATs: 2 for 2.

FGs: 1 for 2 (42 miss, 47 make)

Game Eleven: Georgia 42, Kentucky 13

Kickoffs: 6 for 421 yards, 70.2-yard average, 4 touchbacks. Return yards: 41. Average field position: 23.5-yard line.

PATs: 6 for 6.

FGs: none attempted.

Rodrigo’s field goal as time expired gave the Dawgs a 17-7 halftime lead over Georgia Tech in Nov. 25, 2017 game at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Game Twelve: Georgia 38, Georgia Tech 7

Kickoffs: 6 for 400 yards, 66.7-yard average, 4 touchbacks. Return yards: 28. Average field position: 22.2-yard line.

PATs: 5 for 5.

FGs: 1 for 1 (37 make)

Game Thirteen: Georgia 28, Auburn 7

Kickoffs: 6 for 442 yards, 73.7-yard average, 5 touchbacks. Return yards: 21. Average field position: 24.5-yard line.

PATs: 2 for 2.

FGs: 2 for 2 (27 make, 35 make)

Game Fourteen: Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48

Kickoffs: 7 for 474 yards, 67.7-yard average, 4 touchbacks. Return yards: 44. Average field position: 21.0-yard line.

PATs: 6 for 6.

FGs: 2 for 3 (48 miss, 55 make, 38 make)

Game Fifteen: Alabama 26, Georgia 23

Kickoffs: 5 for 362 yards, 72.4-yard average, 3 touchbacks. Return yards: 42. Average field position: 24.4-yard line.

PATs: 2 for 2.

FGs: 3 for 3 (41 make, 27 make, 51 make)

Spring game full of surprises for Rodrigo

Rodrigo’s second spring game for Georgia was definitely and markedly different from his first one for several reasons, and the results from the Apr. 22 Red and Black match-up leaned heavily toward the positive for the redshirt freshman.

In the spring of 2016, Rodrigo was limited to place-kicking duties because of a pulled glute muscle. In the 2017 version, Rodrigo went to the other extreme, executing field goal attempts and kickoffs for both squads. After a mishit on his opening kickoff, which still carried to the goal line, Rodrigo launched seven more that averaged 71 yards in distance and 4.33 seconds in hang time.

Three of his kickoffs were touchbacks and two others probably would have been downed by returners in a real game. His longest kickoff was 77 yards, coming to rest two yards beyond the end zone’s back line after just missing the crossbar. He had another kickoff that hit the back line for 75 yards and one other that landed 9 yards deep in the end zone for 74 yards. The other distances were 66, 67, 68 and 70 yards.

His best hang time was 4.47 seconds and his worst hang time was 4.25 seconds. The other hang times were 4.38, 4.37, 4.37, 4.28, and 4.28 seconds.

Rodrigo’s eventful G-Day was capped by his receiving two awards after the game–for academics and community service.

Rodrigo’s successful field goal distances were 34, 33, 28 and 19 yards. All but the 28-yarder were for the Black squad. The 28-yard field goal broke a tie at 22 to give the Red squad a 25-22 lead with 1:03 left in the game. A drive led by Jacob Eason to try to get Rodrigo in range to re-tie it for the Black team fizzled out near midfield.

Rodrigo had the distance but missed wide right from 49 yards, and a strong wind pulled a 40-yard dead-center attempt off line and wide right. For the game, Rodrigo scored 13 points, adding one PAT after a Black team touchdown to lead all scorers. Last fall, he also was the team’s top scorer with 68 points, outdistancing Isaiah McKenzie, who has since departed for the NFL. In the previous spring game, Rodrigo scored 9 points on two field goals and three PATs.

Immediately after the game, the entire team lined up on the field for surprise presentations of spring practice awards, and Rodrigo was the only player to receive two. He was given an academic plaque for sophomore GPA (3.74) and he was also given a plaque for Community Service participation. Rodrigo has taken part in numerous community service appearances and projects, both in and around Athens as well as in his hometown of Marietta. He was unaware any recognition was forthcoming.