No. 5 Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 14

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 17, 2012
Even with Georgia Southern on the verge of a halftime lead, Aaron Murray wasn't worried. He knew No. 5 Georgia was too good to let this one slip away. Murray threw four touchdown passes, Todd Gurley became only the second true freshman in Georgia history to rush for 1,000 yards, and the Bulldogs bounced back from a sluggish start to blow out lower-division Georgia Southern 45-14 on Saturday. ''We had some good matchups. We had some coverages we didn't exploit,'' Murray said. ''We were finally able to do that and make some big plays.'' Georgia (10-1) reached 10 wins for the eighth time in Mark Richt's dozen seasons as coach. Georgia Southern (8-3) wasted a chance to be ahead at the half - a potential first-and-goal ruined by a penalty - and that was all the edge Murray needed. He completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell with just 4 seconds left in the half, sending Georgia to the locker room with a 17-7 lead. In the third quarter, Murray hooked up with Chris Conley on a pair of scoring passes, sandwiched around a 43-yarder to Tavarres King. ''We were shooting ourselves in the foot,'' Murray said. ''It wasn't like we weren't driving the ball, but we were stopping ourselves with penalties and turnovers, things like that. Once we cleaned that up in the second half, we moved up and down the field.'' Georgia got a chance to work against the run-oriented option, the same scheme they'll see next week in the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech. Then it's on to the Southeastern Conference championship game for a likely meeting with No. 4 Alabama, and a possible shot at sneaking into the national championship race if the Bulldogs can win out. ''We obviously have goals and aspirations. We've had them since January,'' Murray said. ''Let's just see what happens. We need some help and we need to win, but we can't worry about who else is playing and who else needs to lose. We've got to do our thing and make sure we win our games.'' Gurley scored Georgia's first touchdown on a 1-yard plunge. In the second quarter, he got to 1,000 yards on a 5-yard gain, joining Herschel Walker in 1980 as the school's only first-year players to reach that mark. Knowshon Moreno was a redshirt freshman when he rushed for more than 1,000 in 2007. ''I know I have it, but it doesn't feel like it,'' Gurley said. ''There's still a lot of football to be played. I just feel like these are accomplishments you look back at when you leave, 10 or 15 years from now. It's good, but I still have lot of work to do.'' Georgia Southern hung around for the first two quarters, causing some nervous groans in the predominantly red-clad crowd. But the Eagles, a Southern Conference powerhouse, were totally overwhelmed in the second half. Murray went to Conley for a 13-yard touchdown that stretched the lead to 24-7. After going deep to King, Murray swung a short pass to Conley, who took it 33 yards for the score that sent many of the fans heading for the exits. Before sitting out most of the fourth quarter, Murray put up his third four-TD game of the season and seventh of his career. He finished 18 of 28 for 330 yards. His counterpart, Jerick McKinnon, rushed for 109 yards and scored both Georgia Southern touchdowns. The Eagles dropped to 0-20 against Football Bowl Subdivision schools, with five of those losses to Georgia. At least they picked up a nice paycheck ($475,000) for making a quick bus ride from Statesboro. Georgia Southern, co-champions of the Southern Conference, got some good news on the out-of-town scoreboard when The Citadel defeated Furman to give the Eagles the league's automatic berth into the FCS playoffs. ''We came here to win,'' coach Jeff Monken said. ''But games like this show our guys that we can run the ball against a great defense and give them some confidence going into the playoffs.'' As expected, Georgia marched right down the field on its first possession. It got tougher from there. The next time the Bulldogs had the ball, they were in position to extend the lead on a 51-yard field goal. But Marshall Morgan's kick came up well short of the goalposts - so much so that Darreion Robinson, younger brother of Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, was able to catch the ball in the back of the end zone. He suddenly sprinted out and might've scored if not for a saving tackle by Morgan along the sideline at the Georgia 41. McKinnon fumbled away that chance, losing the ball when he tried to pull back from throwing, but the Bulldogs fumbled it right back when Rhett McGowan took a big hit over the middle. The Eagles strung together a tedious drive for the tying TD, running it 10 straight times before McKinnon's 1-yard sneak. Georgia answered with Morgan's 37-yard field goal, but Georgia Southern was in position for a shocking halftime lead. On fourth-and-1 at the Georgia 7, the Eagles appeared to pick up the first down on Dominique Swopes' 2-yard run. But guard Trevor McBurnett was called for a chop block, going at the legs of massive nose tackle John Jenkins while he was being held up by another Georgia Southern blocker. After 15 yards were stepped off, the Eagles attempted a tying field goal. Alex Hanks was wide right with a 39-yard attempt. ''It was a big penalty,'' McKinnon said. ''But those things happen when you run this type of offense.'' Instead of being ahead or at least tied, the Eagles wound up 10 behind when Murray found Mitchell in the left corner of the end zone in the closing seconds. That essentially snuffed out any hope Georgia Southern had of pulling off the upset. --- Follow Paul Newberry at
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne


USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

USMNT are big favorites against Canada

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Johnny Manziel dropped by agent

Michael Irvin: Cowboys should save Manziel

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

Could the Marlins contend in 2016?

Report: Browns to cut Manziel in March

Browns rip Manziel in statement

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker