ATHENS, Ga. -- And now ... UGA's biggest game in three decades can commence.
(Photo by Wes Blankenship/UGA Sports Communications)
Third-ranked Georgia swatted aside rival Georgia Tech 42-10 on Saturday at Sanford Stadium, clearing with ease the final regular season stumbling block before an SEC championship game that will double as a BCS title play-in game for the Bulldogs.
Assuming second-ranked Alabama gets past Auburn later Saturday, it will advance to face Georgia at 4 p.m. next Saturday in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
The Bulldogs (11-1) figure to get a much tougher test from the Crimson Tide than they did from the Yellow Jackets (6-6).
UGA's offense scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions to build a 28-3 lead at halftime.
"We put out foot on the pedal from the start and didn't let up the entire game," UGA receiver Rhett McGowan said.
Georgia Tech actually outgained Georgia 426 to 379. The Yellow Jackets' option offense churned up 238 yards and more than 21 minutes of possession time in the first half but couldn't reach the end zone, committing two costly turnovers, a fumble and an interception, both of which wound up in the hands of UGA safety Bacarri Rambo.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs kept rolling after halftime, scoring on its first two possessions of the third quarter to extend the lead to 42-3.
"It was a pretty good thumping," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "We could not slow them down, and we could not finish drives offensively. ... We couldn't match Georgia score for score, which is what we have been doing all season."
Linebacker Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs with 15 tackles, a career-high and the most for any UGA player this season.
UGA quarterback Aaron Murray went 14-of-17 for 215 yards and two touchdown passes.
Georgia's coaches eventually cleared benches in the fourth quarter, and Georgia Tech was able to reach the end zone against the Bulldogs' defensive reserves.
The victory makes four in a row for UGA in the series against Georgia Tech and 11 of 12 for the Bulldogs under coach Mark Richt.
"This was a game that everybody was worried about us looking ahead," Richt said. "You don't do that when you're playing Georgia Tech. This game means a lot for us. Our coaches prepared hard. They were diligent, and the players took to the coaching. I thought we played a superb game."