ATHENS, Ga. -- Although No. 6 Georgia struggled early against Ole Miss on Saturday, it was all Bulldogs once they took the lead just before halftime.
A 37-10 win against Ole Miss (5-4, 2-3 SEC) keeps Georgia (8-1, 6-1) in the SEC East lead entering its final conference game of the season next week at Auburn (2-7, 0-6). A win sends the Bulldogs back to the SEC championship game for the second consecutive season.
Let’s recap some of the highs and lows of Saturday’s victory:
1. Defense takes over: Todd Grantham’s defense took a few series to figure out the Ole Miss offense, but once they did, the Rebels were hardly able to muster any offensive production. After the Rebels took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, they totaled 76 yards, five three-and-outs, three turnovers and gave up a safety on the ensuing 11 possessions.
2. Offense gets cooking: Once Aaron Murray and Georgia’s offense found a rhythm after a poor start, Ole Miss didn’t have a chance. After Ole Miss recorded its fifth sack of the opening half -- on Georgia’s second-to-last play of the half -- Murray completed 14 of 16 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers the rest of the way. That helped the Bulldogs close the game on a 37-0 run.
3. Big day for Ogletree brothers: Nobody is surprised when Alec Ogletree has a big day on defense. And he did against Ole Miss, leading the team with 11 tackles, notching a sack and a tackle for a loss, skying to make an interception at midfield and throwing down Ole Miss’ Jeff Scott for a third-quarter safety. But Alec’s twin brother Zander got into the act on Saturday, catching two passes out of the backfield from his fullback position and scoring his first career touchdown on an 8-yard run in the third quarter.
1. Slow start on offense: That said, it took a while for Murray and the offense to find their footing. The Bulldogs scored just once -- a touchdown pass to Marlon Brown early in the second quarter -- in their first seven possessions while also losing two fumbles, turning the ball over on downs once, missing a field goal and punting twice.
2. First-half sacks: You can look at this two ways: 1.) Georgia’s offensive line started poorly or 2.) Georgia’s offensive line finished great. The Bulldogs did not allow a single sack in the second half as they pulled away for a comfortable victory. But their porous play in the first half helped Ole Miss register five sacks before intermission -- more than any of Georgia’s first eight opponents totaled in the entire game.
3. Kicking woes continue:For all of his issues converting PATs, freshman kicker Marshall Morgan had made all but one of his field goals before last week’s game against Florida. Now Morgan seems to have developed a problem in one area after solving the other. He made both PATs last week against the Gators and all five against Ole Miss, but he missed a 37-yard field goal against Florida and didn’t come anywhere near the goalposts on a 47-yard try against Ole Miss.