ATHENS, Ga. -- Looking every bit a top-five team, Georgia put together its best game of the season Saturday night, dealing Vanderbilt its worst defeat of the James Franklin era.
(Photo by Sonny Kennedy/Special to Dawgs247)
Georgia's 48-3 victory was all but assured early, as the fifth-ranked Bulldogs opened up a 27-point lead before halftime and piled on with three more third quarter touchdowns.
In the process, Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) dominated on both sides of the football, rolling to more than 500 yards. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2) struggled to get out of its way, reaching double digits in penalties as the rematch of last year's heated game got away quickly.
"I think our guys really wanted this one bad," UGA coach Mark Richt said. "They didn't feel very good about how things went a year ago."
As the final punctuation mark in the defeat, Vanderbilt's lone touchdown, a late scramble by quarterback Jordan Rodgers, was overruled on replay when officials judged he fumbled for a touchback.
Bulldogs tailback Todd Gurley rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, including a 29-yard touchdown with 46 seconds left in the third quarter. Quarterback Aaron Murray completed 18-of-24 passes for two touchdowns and 250 yards, 114 of them to receiver Marlon Brown.
Saturday's game marked the first time in school history that the Bulldogs have topped 40 points in four consecutive games.
"I have to give credit to Georgia," Franklin said. "They are a very good football team and are ranked in the top five in the nation for a reason."
Starters remained in on the offensive side of the ball through the third quarter and Todd Grantham kept some defensive starters in well into the fourth quarter of the blowout.
“They had their starters in there too," Grantham said. "Then we put our backups in there at the end there against some of their starters, and those guys did a good job. Anytime you can hold a team to no touchdowns in this league … that’s a big statement.”
Grantham shook hands after the game with Franklin, a postscript to last year's confrontation between the two in Nashville.
"We shook hands and moved on, and it's over with," Grantham said. "They're trying to do things right. We've trying to do things right. It's time to move on from it."
Linebacker Jarvis Jones (groin) and offensive lineman Dallas Lee (ankle) started and played through the injuries for the Bulldogs, who were still without suspended stars Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo.
There were a few new injury concerns, though. Kenarious Gates was limping at one point in the second half and did not return. Shawn Williams appeared to be banged-up during warm-ups and played through it, while Abry Jones hurt his left ankle in the second half.
Gates said after the game that he bruised his knee but he was fine. Williams is believed to have played through a hamstring injury.
Richt didn't disclose details of Abry Jones' injury except to say it wasn't "a super serious situation."