Georgia Bulldogs: Dominique Swope

ATHENS, Ga. -- Let’s take a look at three key plays from Georgia’s 45-14 win against Georgia Southern on Saturday -- and what they mean moving forward for the Bulldogs.


Fourth-down stop



Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.com

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia piled up the yards in a much easier second half to pull away for a 45-14 victory against Georgia Southern.

It was over when: Georgia scored a touchdown on its first two possessions of the second half -- on touchdown passes from Aaron Murray to Chris Conley and Tavarres King -- to push a 17-7 halftime deficit to a comfortable 31-7 advantage.

Game ball goes to: Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham. Georgia’s coordinators helped turn Saturday’s game into a rout after an ugly first half. Bobo recognized that Georgia Southern’s defense had no chance of stopping Murray and the Bulldogs’ passing game, and he turned them loose in a 21-point third quarter. Grantham’s defense adjusted to Georgia Southern’s running game admirably, allowing just 31 rushing yards in the third quarter as the Bulldogs took control.

Stat of the game: 302. Georgia Southern’s flexbone offense gave Georgia’s defense all kinds of early problems, racking up 149 rushing yards on 29 carries in the first half. The Bulldogs tightened up afterward, although the Eagles finished with 302 total rushing yards. Of their 153 second-half rushing yards, 122 came in the fourth quarter after Georgia had already put away the win.

Turning point: Georgia led 10-7 with 1:12 left in the first half when Georgia Southern left guard Trevor McBurnett was flagged for a chop block that canceled out Dominique Swope’srun to the Georgia 5. Alex Hanks was instead forced to attempt a 39-yard field goal -- which he missed -- and Georgia drove 78 yards, scoring on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Malcolm Mitchell with 4 seconds left, to go up 17-7 at halftime.

What it means: No. 5 Georgia (10-1) bounced back from a slow start and got valuable practice for defending Georgia Tech’s highly similar flexbone rushing attack next Saturday.

Game breakdown: Ga. Southern vs. UGA

November, 16, 2012
11/16/12
12:20
PM ET
NO. 6 (FCS) GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT NO. 5 (FBS) GEORGIA
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
WSB-TV (Atlanta)/ESPN3

Records: Georgia 9-1 (7-1 SEC), Georgia Southern 8-2 (6-2 SoCon)

Last week: Georgia beat Auburn 38-0, Georgia Southern beat Howard 69-26

[+] EnlargeJenkins
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesJohn Jenkins will be key for UGA this weekend.
What’s the Story?: After clinching the SEC East title last week for the second straight season, Georgia has a pair of out-of-division games against untraditional offensive teams -- Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, both of which feature run-heavy option attacks -- to complete the regular season. Containing those offenses will be a headache for the Bulldogs, who only recently started to peak on defense after struggling for most of the first half of the season.

Five headlines: Check out our recap of this week’s biggest storylines from Thursday.

Players to watch:
Georgia
1. John Jenkins: The massive defensive lineman and his cohorts up front -- throw in Kwame Geathers, Garrison Smith, Cornelius Washington and Ray Drew -- handle their business against Eagles offensive linemen who are consistently diving at their knees, that will make it much easier for the defensive playmakers to tackle Georgia Southern’s ballcarriers. This will be a game built for a quick and powerful lineman like Jenkins.

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Scouting report: Georgia Southern 

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s every-four-years series with Georgia Southern continues Saturday, with the lower-division Eagles ready to serve as a thorn in the Bulldogs’ side yet again.

Georgia (9-1) is a perfect 4-0 against the FCS powerhouse Eagles (8-2), but Georgia Southern is known for making the Bulldogs work for the victory. In fact, they scored 28 and 21 points in two games (2004 and 2008) against Georgia since Mark Richt became the Bulldogs’ coach.

The Bulldogs are taking this game more seriously than their average matchup against an FCS opponent, practicing in full pads on a rainy Monday evening in order to begin preparing for the cut-blocking element to the Eagles’ flexbone rushing attack.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Todd Grantham didn’t even need to hear an entire question about Georgia Southern’s offensive capabilities before bluntly tossing out a statistic.

“They had 370 on Alabama last year,” Grantham said, shortly after his Georgia defense posted its first shutout of the season against Auburn, 38-0.

[+] EnlargeTodd Grantham
Kevin Liles/US PresswireTodd Grantham's defense is on a roll, but the Bulldogs must make a radical shift the next two games to defend against the flexbone rushing attacks of Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.
The Georgia defensive coordinator’s math was slightly off -- Georgia Southern finished with 341 yards of total offense last season at Alabama -- but that did not reduce his greater point. The Eagles hung big numbers on an Alabama defense that was not only the best in college football last season, but one of the sport’s best in at least the last decade, and his team can’t afford to look beyond this Saturday’s opponent, which is ranked sixth in the FCS polls.

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