Georgia Bulldogs: Bulldogs-Jackets-112412


ATHENS, Ga. -- Judging by the combined 3 minutes, 54 seconds it took Georgia to score its first two touchdowns Saturday, the Bulldogs were more than ready to get the day over with.

The Bulldogs might have been taking on rival Georgia Tech, but this team was beyond ready to send its weaker counterpart back to Atlanta early, as it gets ready for its own trip to the state capital next week.

"They were just a speed bump on our road," said senior safety Bacarri Rambo, who forced two fumbles and grabbed two turnovers Saturday. "We’re trying to get to Miami."

Players insisted they thought only of Georgia Tech this week -- their 42-10 drubbing of the Yellow Jackets proved that -- but everyone knows how important next week is. Now, the Bulldogs can devote all their attention to Atlanta, as they play in what is essentially a semifinal for the Discover BCS National Championship Game.

"We’ll enjoy this win for a couple of hours, but we have to get our minds back on our goal, and that’s to get to Miami, and Alabama is in our way," Rambo said. "We just have to get better and work on them.

"We haven’t reached our highest peak, but we’re playing some pretty good ball, and we’re going to get better."

Georgia’s next opponent likely will be No. 2 Alabama. With the way the Bulldogs have played in the second half of the season, they have a real chance at making it to South Beach.

You can dog Georgia’s recent opponents, but that was the hand the Bulldogs were dealt, and they did everything they were supposed to do. In the three games prior to Saturday, Georgia had averaged 501 yards of offense and scored at least 37 points in all those games against overmatched opponents.

But to the Bulldogs, wins are wins in the SEC.

"We play against good people, man," said defensive tackle John Jenkins, who had a career-high 11 tackles Saturday. "You can never take anything for granted, no matter who you’re playing, because anybody can be beat."

So Georgia Tech entered the afternoon with the nation’s No. 62 defense? Georgia did exactly what was expected and did it quickly, scoring touchdowns on four of its five first-half possessions.

The Dawgs had 28 points by halftime and 13 plays of 10 or more yards through the first two quarters (three went for 20-plus, including a 57-yard pass from Aaron Murray to Malcolm Mitchell).

Starting fast has been this team’s modus operandi for the past four weeks, as the Bulldogs have outscored opponents 87-20 during that span.

The Bulldogs haven’t exactly played top-tier opponents this month, but they will walk into the Georgia Dome extremely happy about how they’ve played of late.

"We’re very confident,” linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “We play this game the same way they do. We put on our pads and shoes and everything just like they do."

The Bulldogs have the right to feel very sure of themselves. The offense is clicking, and the defense is grooving. The offensive explosion is back, and the defense finally resembles the defense that took the field last season in Athens. The overall numbers might be a little different, but the tough, aggressive play that made last season’s defense so deadly has returned.

People laughed at Georgia’s 35-7 loss to South Carolina in October, but it’s a mere blip on the radar now. Atlanta is in sight, and a win there means the Bulldogs will be playing for a national championship.

“Everything we came for, everything Georgia wants to do is next week,” linebacker Christian Robinson said.

The South Carolina loss certainly threw some off Georgia’s bandwagon, but that thing will be full during its short trip to Atlanta. However, the Bulldogs are hoping the Dome is just a pit stop this season.

"With the talent we got, I know we have the potential,” Rambo said. “It’s just going out there and showing it to everybody, and letting everybody know that we got what it takes to be the national champs."

Video: Georgia's John Jenkins

November, 24, 2012
11/24/12
5:23
PM ET

Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins discusses Georgia's 42-10 win against Georgia Tech.
ATHENS, Ga. -- It took Georgia only four plays and a little over a minute to get on the board Saturday. From there, things seemed to get easier as the Bulldogs blew out archrival Georgia Tech 42-10 inside Sanford Stadium on Saturday.

With the loss, Georgia Tech has now dropped four straight to the Bulldogs and 11 of the past 12 meetings in this series.

It was over when: Georgia's offense scored two early touchdowns in the first quarter, but the game really got out of hand when Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray found wide receiver Rhett McGowan for an 11-yard touchdown pass with just under three minutes left in the first half to make it 28-3 Bulldogs.

Game ball goes to: Senior safety Bacarri Rambo had quite the farewell outing in Athens. He was making plays all over the field for the Bulldogs and forced two fumbles on Georgia Tech's first drive of the game. He also sucked all of Georgia Tech's momentum out on his second strip when he took the ball away from running back Robert Godhigh at Georgia's 1-yard line and returned it 49 yards to help set up the Bulldogs' second touchdown. He also grabbed an interception on a deep pass toward the end zone by Yellow Jackets quarterback Vad Lee that helped set up the Bulldogs' fourth touchdown of the first half.

Game ball 2 goes to: Murray had another solid day chucking the football. He was taken out late in the game when the score was out of hand, but he completed 14 of 17 passes for 215 yards and had two touchdown passes. After just two passes in the first quarter, Murray eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark for the season, making him the first SEC player to pass for 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

Stat of the game: Georgia Tech's defense has really struggled this season, but it wasn't just the 42 points and the 379 yards given up on Saturday that made it painfully obvious. It was the fact that Georgia did all that relatively quickly, possessing the ball for just 20:03 minutes compared to Georgia Tech's 39:57 time of possession.

Stat of the game 2: While Georgia put up the points, the Yellow Jackets did pretty well in the yards category. Behind 306 rushing yards, Georgia Tech outgained the Bulldogs 426-379.

Stat of the game 3: Heading into the game, Georgia Tech had recorded an interception in 10 consecutive games, which was the longest streak in the FBS this season. The Yellow Jackets' streak ended Saturday.

What it means for Georgia: With the win, the Bulldogs are undefeated at home for the first time since 2003; next week in the SEC championship game, they will play for a spot in the Discover BCS National Championship Game. Next week is basically a semifinal for the big game. This will mark the Bulldogs' second straight trip to the SEC title game.

What it means for Georgia Tech: Despite Saturday's rout, the Yellow Jackets are still headed to the ACC championship game next week to play Florida State. The Yellow Jackets clinched the Coastal Division last week with a win over Duke. Miami self-imposed a postseason ban for the second straight year, making the Hurricanes ineligible for the ACC title game. North Carolina is also ineligible. The Yellow Jackets are also bowl-eligible for the 16th consecutive season, which is the fourth-longest streak in the country.

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SEC SCOREBOARD

Monday, 12/22
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Tuesday, 12/23
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Friday, 12/26
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Thursday, 1/1
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