Bulldogs impressive in tuneup for SEC title showdown

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia will play for the Southeastern

Conference championship next weekend. And who knows, the Bulldogs

might just get a shot at the biggest game of all.

Sean Jones
Sean Jones

The fifth-ranked Bulldogs sure played like champions Saturday,

building a 34-0 halftime lead against Georgia Tech and cruising to

a 51-7 victory -- Georgia's most lopsided win in the series, which

began in 1893. The Bulldogs won 47-8 in 1968.

While blowing out the Yellow Jackets, Georgia (11-1) learned

that No. 3 Oklahoma had lost to Oklahoma State 38-28, eliminating

another Tostitos Fiesta Bowl contender.

Now, the Bulldogs must hope No. 1 Miami loses to Virginia Tech

next Saturday.

"We'll be rooting for the Hokies, that's for sure,''

quarterback David Greene said. "But we've got to take care of our

business or it doesn't matter.''

For Georgia, the next order of business is the SEC championship

game against Arkansas. The Bulldogs will be trying to win their

first conference title since 1982.

"We all know we haven't won a championship in 20 years,'' said

coach Mark Richt, whose team ensured its first 11-win season since

1982. "That's enough motivation right there.''

Georgia can expect to move up to third place when the new BCS

standings are released Monday. No. 2 Ohio State already has

completed a perfect regular season, but the other spot will be wide

open if Virginia Tech upsets the Hurricanes at the Orange Bowl.

"We all hope to have a shot at playing for the national

championship,'' Richt said. "The only way we can have a shot is to

win next week. But it's certainly in the back of our mind. We know

there's a chance we can go to the Fiesta Bowl.''

Georgia Tech (7-5) doesn't have to worry about such lofty goals

after enduring its worst defeat since a 49-3 rout by Florida State

in 1996. The Yellow Jackets are eligible for their sixth straight

bowl appearance, but they'll probably have to settle for a return

trip to Seattle Bowl.

"It was a very poorly played game in all phases by our football

team,'' said Tech's first-year coach, Chan Gailey. "Obviously, I

didn't get these guys ready to play.''

Musa Smith ran for 121 yards and became the first Georgia back

since Garrison Hearst in 1992 to reach 1,000 yards in a season.

Greene completed 10 of 14 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown.

Senior fullback J.T. Wall, normally a blocker, added a couple of TD


"I wasn't expecting this,'' Greene said. "We jumped on them

early and kept them on their heels all day long. We never let them

get any rhythm.''

Even before the game started, the Bulldogs were inspired by the

return of David Jacobs for senior day.

Jacobs was a defensive lineman for the Bulldogs when a

near-fatal stroke ended his playing career late last season. He

still has weakness on his right side, but he donned his No. 99

uniform and trotted onto the field to a thunderous ovation after

all the other seniors had been introduced.

"It felt like a celebration,'' Jacobs said afterward, holding

his pads but still wearing his jersey. "This is just motivating me

to get better every day.''

Jacobs watched from the sideline as Georgia marched right down

the field on its first possession. Smith started the drive with a

22-yard run, then finished it off by sweeping in from the 1.

Billy Bennett kicked a 46-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a

10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Then things really got

ugly for Georgia Tech.

D.J. Shockley, Georgia's backup quarterback, scored on an 8-yard

run to make it 17-0. Greene returned on the next possession and

completed two straight long passes to push the lead to 24-0.

The first was a 31-yarder to Terrence Edwards, who snatched the

ball away from Jeremy Muyres as the Tech defensive back was poised

to make an interception. Greene followed with a 49-yard touchdown

pass to Fred Gibson, who made the catch when cornerback Marvious

Hester turned the wrong way on a slightly underthrown ball.

Edwards, who was supposed to be out until at least the SEC

championship because of a separated shoulder, returned a week early

and made two catches for 48 yards.

A 26-yard punt return by Sean Jones and another 22-yard run by

Smith set up Bennett's second field goal, a 30-yarder that made it


Georgia got the ball right back when P.J. Daniels fumbled a

short kickoff. Wall rumbled into the end zone on an 18-yard run,

dragging Muyres on his back the last few steps.

In the first half, the Yellow Jackets fumbled twice on kickoff

returns, and A.J. Suggs threw an interception. Georgia Tech's only

scoring threat was a 49-yard field-goal attempt by Luke Manget;

appropriately, it was blocked by Boss Bailey.

Georgia fans began singing "Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!'' with five

minutes left in the third quarter. By then, the small sections of

gold-clad Georgia Tech fans were mostly empty.

Tyson Browning added a 19-yard scoring run for Georgia with

about four minutes remaining, giving the Bulldogs their most points

ever against the Yellow Jackets. Twice before, Georgia had scored

48 points.

"In every facet of the game,'' Richt said, "that was about as

good as we can play.''