Bulldogs end skid with a bang

ATHENS, Ga. --- Not long after coach Mark Richt ran through a Georgia "G" banner onto the Sanford Stadium field Saturday, the players who followed him showed little resemblance to the bunch that had gone five weeks since their last win.

Instead of being a punchline, they came out packing a punch.

Georgia routed Tennessee 41-14 to snap a four-game losing streak, its longest in 20 years.

"It's big in terms of the energy level and just getting a taste of an SEC victory in our body and getting our blood flowing," inside linebacker Akeem Dent. "Hopefully it carries over to the next game and we start to get this train moving."

Georgia (2-4, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) flushed away the bad feelings it had been lugging around in recent weeks for 60 minutes of football.

"I never lost hope, I never lost faith," said coach Mark Richt, whose job security became a growing question during the four-game losing streak. "I didn't feel like we've got a tremendous amount of problems. I knew we weren't finishing."

Behind two touchdown runs and two touchdown passes from quarterback Aaron Murray, Georgia posted its largest margin of victory at home against Tennessee (2-4, 0-3) since 1981 when Vince Dooley's team beat Tennessee, 44-0.

"They were hungry and ready to play," Derek Dooley said. "That's what we expected Georgia to be like at the beginning of the season."

Georgia had lost seven of its last nine SEC games, but notched its first conference win since Nov. 14, 2009, against Auburn.

"They played extremely hard from the very first kickoff to the very end," Richt said. "I can't ask for much more than what they gave."

The teams met for the first time since 1906 with losing records.

Tennessee, not Georgia, was left stuck in last place in the SEC East.

Georgia mustered just 16 first-half points in its first three SEC games this season, but put up 17 first-quarter points after scoring the first three times it had the ball.

The Bulldogs' defense did its part, too. For the first time since its opener, the opposing offense failed to score a touchdown on the opening drive.

"We felt like we've been knocking on the door for four games," said Murray, who had touchdown runs of 35 and 5 yards on a day he completed 17 of 25 passes for 266 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

"I think today we finally kicked it in. Hopefully it's open now and we'll roll right through the next six games. We've just got to keep playing like this."

Georgia racked up four sacks and held Tennessee to 9 yards rushing and 269 total yards.

Bulldogs capitalize on turnover chances
Georgia Bulldogs' Report Card

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-MINUS

The numbers look average with 36 carries for 136 yards (3.8-yard average) but the Bulldogs had three rushing touchdowns. Caleb King (above) had a team-high 58 yards; Aaron Murray had 41 yards and two TDs and Washaun Ealey ran with more authority but his 33 yards and 2.8-yard average is substandard.

Passing defense: B-plus

Vance Cuff's tip and Bacarri Rambo's pick combined for a first-quarter interception that got Georgia started. Brandon Boykin had two pass breakups. The pass rush had four sacks, led by Justin Houston's two. Brandon Wood, Marcus Dowtin (second from right) and Akeem Dent combined to split up the other two sacks.

Coaching: B-plus

You knew change was in the air when Mark Richt (right) altered his practice schedule on Monday. Although Tennessee looked overmatched and outmanned, Georgia played with more vigor and it maintained momentum through four quarters.

-- Morris News Service

More