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November 24, 2012
Big win; huge opportunity
With another state title safety tucked away, third-ranked Georgia can finally shift all its focus on college football's ultimate prize, the BCS championship.
No, the Bulldogs aren't there yet.
There's still the not-so-small matter of next week's SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome, but after Saturday's 42-10 thrashing of Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs (11-1) will have an opportunity to punch their ticket to Miami with a victory.
"It's an opportunity and we have to take advantage," senior linebacker Christian Robinson said. "We have to see next week as just another game. Sure, where we're ranked might mean certain things, but bottom line it's just another week. We're still in it and this is everything that we've worked for this year."
Bulldog coach Mark Richt could not agree more, noting that one of the biggest key's to Saturday's victory was that his Bulldogs did not look past the Yellow Jackets and ahead to next week's SEC title game in Atlanta. "You don't do that when you're playing Georgia Tech," Richt said. "Our coaches worked hard; they were diligent and the players took to the coaching. I thought we played a superb game."
Georgia Tech (6-6) still has title hopes of its own, a conference crown the Yellow Jackets (6-6) will have a chance to win when they take on Florida State for in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C. next Saturday.
The Bulldogs, obviously, will be playing for a lot more.
Georgia, by winning the SEC title game, would earn a spot in the BCS title game for the first time since the championship format was established.
No doubt the Bulldogs would love a performance similar to one they offered Saturday against the Yellow Jackets, who had all sorts of issues trying to slow Georgia's offense.
Quarterback Aaron Murray was once against efficient, completing 14-of-17 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns - 11 yards to Rhett McGowan and 24 yards to Jay Rome - in becoming the first quarterback in SEC history to go over the 3,000 yard mark for three consecutive years.
Gurley rushed 12 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 14 for the season and moving to within one of Herschel Walker's Georgia record of 15 for a freshman set in 1980.
Marshall picked up 66 yards on seven carries and adding touchdown runs of 15 and 17 yards for Georgia, which set a new school single-season record for points scored with 456.
"If you watched the same game I did, 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've been doing all season."
David Sims rushed 14 times for 71 yards and scored Georgia Tech's only touchdown on a four-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"Today was very frustrating," Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington said. "We just went out there and laid an egg. We didn't play as a team today. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot, but we've still got a shot at an ACC Championship and a BCS bowl game, so we've still got a lot to play for."
Georgia put its stamp on the game very early on en route to a 28-3 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs scored the first three times they touched the ball, getting two short touchdown runs by Gurley before Marshall scored from 16 yards early in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, all Georgia Tech could muster the first half was a 38-yard field goal by Chris Tanner, although the Yellow Jackets did miss out on an early opportunity when Bulldog safety Bacarri Rambo stripped Robert Godhigh of the ball at the Bulldog one-yard-line and returned it 49 yards.
"We moved the ball on them pretty much the whole game, but we lacked the focus on finish off our drives," Godhigh said. "Georgia's fast, and they play with a lot of effort. They're always flying to the ball."