Georgia Tech Falls to In-State Rival Georgia
Nov. 26, 2011
ATLANTA (AP) - Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes and No. 13 Georgia extended its domination over No. 25 Georgia Tech, pulling away for a 31-17 victory Saturday.
The Bulldogs (10-2) did not get caught looking past their state rival to next week's return trip to Atlanta, when they will take a 10-game winning streak into the Southeastern Conference championship game against top-ranked LSU.
Murray extended his school record for touchdown passes in a season to 32, hooking up with Michael Bennett and Chris Conley in the first half, and Tavarres King and Aron White in the third quarter as Georgia cruised to its 10th win over the Yellow Jackets (8-4) in 11 years.
Georgia Tech's rushed for 243 yards, but just 79 after halftime. Tevin Washington threw a pair of interceptions.
Georgia cruised to another win over the Yellow Jackets even without freshman star Isaiah Crowell, who was in uniform but didn't play because of an ankle injury.
With its top two tailbacks hurt, the Bulldogs improvised. Defensive backs Branden Smith and Brandon Boykin both lined up in the backfield, with Smith getting five carries. Alexander Ogletree broke off a key 21-yard gain on the first carry by a Georgia fullback this season. Receiver Malcolm Mitchell had a 20-yard run.
The Bulldogs didn't need much of a ground game, not the way Murray carved up the Georgia Tech secondary. The third-year sophomore overcame an early interception - when he was hit on the elbow as he threw - to complete 19 of 29 passes for 252 yards. He's thrown 14 touchdown passes in the last four games, breezing past the old school record of 25 TD passes in a season set by Matthew Stafford, who went on to be the top pick in the NFL draft.
Now, it's on to the SEC title game. Unbeaten LSU will be a heavy favorite, trying to lock up a spot in the national championship game. But the Bulldogs might prove to be pesky, riding their longest winning streak within a season since 1982.
Murray got off to an ominous start. On Georgia's first possession, he was hammered as he threw by linebacker Steve Sylvester, the ball fluttering into the arms of Louis Young for the interception.
That was about the only miscue.
Murray connected with Bennett on a 15-yard touchdown that gave Georgia an early lead. After Georgia Tech responded by driving nearly the length of the field to set up a short field goal than made it 7-3, the Bulldogs took it right back the other way. Murray completed five of six attempts to account for all but 3 yards on an eight-play, 80-yard drive, the last of his completions a 14-yarder to Conley in the corner of the end zone.
Georgia Tech's last gasp was an 80-yard drive of its own. David Sims finished it off with a 5-yard run, breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage and diving into the end zone.
Georgia tacked on a field goal with just 3 seconds left in the half, getting a second chance when Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson called a timeout just before the snap trying to mess up the Bulldogs. If only he had known they would make a bad snap, leading to an ugly miss by a Blair Walsh. On the do-over, Walsh knocked through a 41-yarder.
The Yellow Jackets had done some of their best work in the third quarter, but that period belonged to the Bulldogs on this day. Boykin got it started with a 60-yard kickoff return, and three plays later Murray went to King for a 3-yard touchdown for a 24-10 lead.
The Georgia Tech defense finally stiffened, forcing a couple of punts even after Washington threw the first of his interceptions. But the Yellow Jackets couldn't overcome a second pick, this one snatched away by Shawn Williams at the Georgia Tech 23. Even though Williams was penalized 15 yards for spiking the ball, the Bulldogs punched it in.
Ogletree had the biggest play, a third-and-2 carry all the way to Georgia Tech 9. Then it was Murray to White for the TD that put it away.
Georgia Tech yanked Washington and scored a meaningless touchdown on Orwin Smith's 16-yard run with 6 1-2 minutes to go.