After close losses, Vandy routed by Georgia 48-3

Associated Press Published: September 22, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Vanderbilt won't have to lament another gut-wrenching loss in the Southeastern Conference.

This one was over by halftime.

Led by quarterback Aaron Murray and a stifling defense, No. 5 Georgia raced to a 27-0 lead in the first half and went on to a 48-3 rout Saturday night, handing the Commodores their worst loss in almost nine years.

"We're a much better team than how we played tonight," receiver Chris Boyd said. "We're just going to go back to the drawing board."

Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2 SEC) had made a habit of losing close games in the SEC, its past five conference defeats were by a total of 23 points. That included a 17-13 setback to No. 7 South Carolina in the season opener.

If the Commodores thought they were making progress, well, this was a major step backward.

Georgia (4-0, 2-0) doled out its most lopsided defeat since a 48-0 blowout by Tennessee on Nov. 22, 2003.

"The difference in the game was played up front, especially with their offensive line," Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said. "They did a really good job of running the ball with power and forced us to load the box, which opened up the passing game on the outside. I didn't feel like we played with the confidence that we normally play with on the outside."

Inside and out, this was total domination.

Murray completed his first 12 passes and got plenty of help from the rest of the offense.

Georgia's freshmen backs had another outstanding game. Todd Gurley rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns, including a 29-yard score in which he broke at least four tackles, while Keith Marshall had a 52-yard TD among his two scoring runs.

Marlon Brown hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, finishing with five catches for 114 yards. Eight other players had at least one reception.

The defense wasn't too shabby, either. Star linebacker Jarvis Jones returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous week with a groin injury. He didn't feel 100 percent, but he still managed three tackles behind the line, including a sack.

Murray also hooked up with Tavarres King for a touchdown pass, breaking a tie with Eric Zeier for second place in school history. The fourth-year junior has 69 career TDs, just three behind David Greene. For good measure, Murray scored one of his own on a 1-yard sneak.

"He's playing terrific," Brown said of his quarterback, who finished 18 of 24 for 250 yards. "He's like a field general, just sitting up there making all the reads."

The Bulldogs had struggled a bit in the opening half of their first three games, trailing Missouri at the break and allowing a total of 30 points to Buffalo and Florida Atlantic.

No such concerns this time.

Georgia has scored more than 40 points in its first four games for the first time in school history. Murray and most of the other starters went to the bench by the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs even giving walk-on Parker Welch some time at quarterback. The home team rushed for 302 yards.