ATHENS, Ga. -- One down, one to go.
This play-fake by Aaron Murray turned into a 66-yard TD pass during Saturday's win. (Photo by Sonny Kennedy/Special to Dawgs247)
Sixth-ranked Georgia is a step closer to another SEC East title after beating Ole Miss 37-10 on Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium. A victory next weekend at Auburn will secure Georgia's second consecutive trip to the conference's championship game in Atlanta.
The Bulldogs gave the Rebels (and East second-place Florida) a glimmer of hope early, falling behind 10-0 before taking control after halftime and ripping off 37 unanswered points.
"In the first half, I thought they outplayed us, but we outscored them," UGA coach Mark Richt said. "I thought their defense outplayed our offense in the first half. Our defense settled in pretty quick. ... Ole Miss had a good plan and played hard. We were fortunate to make some plays to get it going in the right direction."
UGA quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 384 yards (topping 300 yards passing for the third time this season), firing touchdown passes to four different targets, including a 66-yard strike to Marlon Brown off a third-and-short play-fake in the first half and a 40-yard throw to Tavarres King on third-and-25 with three seconds left in the second quarter.
As a result, Georgia (8-1, 6-1 SEC) held a 14-10 halftime lead and then was able to get some distance on Ole Miss (5-4, 2-3) early in the third quarter. The Bulldogs reached the end zone on their first two possessions of the third quarter, scoring on a 42-yard pass from Murray to Malcolm Mitchell and an 8-yard run by fullback Zander Ogletree.
The Rebels gained 103 of their 234 offensive yards in the first quarter and finished with only 46 rushing yards on 29 attempts.
"They have some real ballers on defense," Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace said. "They have two guys that are going to be top five draft picks, and they were just really tough to deal with. Going into halftime, I really thought we were still in the game, but they came to play in the second half, and we just couldn't get back in it."
With this win in the books, Richt immediately mentioned next week's Auburn game to his team afterward.
"It's never easy going to Auburn," Richt said. "They'll be playing out of their minds. We've got to be prepared for that."
"It's been our goal all year to get back to Atlanta, and we are one game away," King said. "We are going to stay focused and come out this week and get ready for Auburn."