October 9, 2010

Dawgs snap skid

One game doesn't erase the memories of what's been an ugly start to the 2010 campaign.

But as least for one day, Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs can rejoice after their 41-14 thumping of Tennessee Saturday at Sanford Stadium, a win that snapped a four-game losing streak, the program's longest since 1993.

"Oh, this was a lot more fun compared to these past four games," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "It's definitely left a bitter taste in our mouth when you don't get that W, but we had a great time today."

It certainly beat what had transpired the previous four games as Georgia dominated from the opening kickoff and never looked back.

It was a game quarterback Murray won't soon forget.

The Tampa freshman was sensational, completing 17-of-25 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a pair of scoring runs on scampers of 35 and 5 yards as the Bulldogs (2-4, 1-3) piled up 402 yards of total offense compared to 269 for the Vols (2-4, 0-3).

"You can't play the way we did today unless the guys are sticking together," Richt said. "They are still working and still believing and still doing what the coaches say. If we continue to do that, we've got a chance to win next week."

The Bulldogs host Vanderbilt for homecoming next Saturday with kickoff set for 12:21 p.m.

It didn't take the Bulldogs long to get cracking against Tennessee.

After stopping the Volunteers on their opening possession - the first time Georgia has held an opponent without a touchdown on its initial drive in five tries - the Bulldog offense went right to work.

First it was Caleb King (13 carries for 58 yards), picking up 17 yards on two carries before Murray scooted 9 yards for a first down to the Tennessee 47.

Following a 12-yard pass to A.J. Green (six catches for 96 yards), Murray took the snap, saw nothing but green space in front and outran Tennessee's defenders 35 yards for a quick 7-0 lead.

It was the defense's early stop that players from both sides of the line of scrimmage said helped propel the Bulldogs to their second win of the year.

"That helped set the tone a lot," defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. "The past few games, the other team would come right out and get a touchdown, you know? We've been called soft, and everything like that, and Coach Richt came out and told us he was deferring the ball for a reason because he knew we were going to get that stop."

Georgia's offense was just getting warmed up.

After a 42-yard field goal by Blair Walsh, Georgia's third possession of the game resulted in points as well when Murray hit Rantavious Wooten on a 12-yard pass to extend the lead to 17-0.

A 38-yard pass from Vol quarterback Matt Simms to Justin Hunter cut the margin to 17-7 and after stopping the Bulldogs on their ensuing possession, Tennessee appeared to regain a wee bit of momentum.

But whatever dreams the Vols might have had of mounting a comeback were quickly extinguished when Eric Gordon fumbled the punt right into the arms of Bulldog Blake Sailors.

The turnover was one of three forced by the Bulldogs who scored again three plays later when Murray found Green streaking down the middle of the field for a 22-yard touchdown. Green's touchdown keyed a 17-0 Bulldog spurt which pushed the margin to 34-7 with 10:26 to go in the third.

A 20-yard field goal by Walsh and 5-yard run by Murray accounted for the scores.
Tennessee managed a 2-yard run by Tauren Poole for the Vols' second touchdown before Georgia tallied its final score on a 1-yard run by Shawn Chapas with 3:12 left in the third.

"We ran into a motivated team today," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. "They were hungry and ready to play. That's what we expected Georgia to be like at the beginning of the season. I was disappointed with how we competed. It's easy to take a loss if you are competing. We obviously weren't ready emotionally from start to finish."

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