ATLANTA — So much for looking ahead.
Thirteenth-ranked Georgia claimed the state championship on Saturday, beating No. 25 Georgia Tech 31-17 to send the Bulldogs into their showdown with top-ranked Louisiana State University in the Southeastern Conference championship game with some added momentum.
The Bulldogs (10-2) already booked their ticket to the title game last week, but stayed focused on the task at hand at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“We circled this game on our calendar since January, so we definitely weren’t going to overlook it at all,” quarterback Aaron Murray said.
Murray threw four touchdown passes, Georgia’s defense clamped down on Georgia Tech’s spread-option offense, and a team that began the regular season 0-2 finished it with its 10th consecutive win.
“I was shaking hands instead of hugging everybody,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.
Part of the reason was the daunting task of going up against LSU (12-0) next Saturday.
While center Ben Jones said “we were all Tech all week,” Georgia players made some time to watch LSU beat Arkansas 41-17 Friday at their team hotel.
Richt expects freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell will likely be ready to play next week after he sat out Saturday’s game with a left ankle sprain he sustained against Kentucky.
Murray completed 19 of 29 passes for 252 yards, including 13 of 18 for 193 yards in the first half. Charles had a game-high five catches for 95 yards.
Georgia’s defense held Georgia Tech to 243 rushing yards – tied for its second-lowest total of the year – after the Bulldogs gave up 411 to the Yellow Jackets last year.
Georgia Tech was held to its second-lowest scoring output of the season and to 355 total yards.
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington threw two interceptions, both in the third quarter.