Running game remains issue for Bulldogs

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --- Georgia's ground game remains grounded.

The offense hasn't scored a touchdown in 10 of the past 11 quarters.

Quarterback Joe Cox threw his seventh and eighth interceptions of the season, and the Bulldogs had three turnovers for the fifth time in six games.

No wonder offensive coordinator Mike Bobo plans to look for any way to turn around his unit after Georgia's 45-19 loss at Tennessee on Saturday.

"You've got to evaluate everything," Bobo said after Georgia was held to a season-low 241 yards of total offense. "You lost two games in a row, you struggled two games in a row offensively. We've got to evaluate what we're doing, how we're doing it, who we're getting the ball to and try to figure out ways to get first downs."

Georgia's offense was held to one field goal. The closest it got to the end zone was Tennessee's 34 when, with one second left in the first half, Georgia spiked the ball as time expired.

"It was a pretty embarrassing day for us as an offense and as a team," Cox said.

Georgia had three consecutive three-and-outs in the third quarter for minus-1 yard when the game still hung in the balance.

"We were able to make plays here and there, but nothing that was consistent enough to get us into the end zone," coach Mark Richt said. "Their strategy was to try not to give up anything big, and they did not."

Cox completed 19 of 34 passes for a season-low 146 yards. After throwing a touchdown pass in each of the Bulldogs' first five games, Cox did not have any.

He threw two interceptions that led to 10 points. Georgia has 16 turnovers this year leading to 71 points.

Cox's first interception was tipped at the line. His second came after a dropped snap. With end Ben Martin bearing down on him, Cox threw it up towards the sideline to cornerback Dennis Rogen. Tennessee turned that into a 30-yard field goal.

"I was trying to throw it out of bounds, which was probably the dumbest decision of the game," Cox said. "Coach Richt always says don't turn a bad play into a catastrophe and I did. ... That was stupid."

Richt wasn't ready to say that Cox is regressing.

"I've got to look at the film before I make comments like that," Richt said.

Backup Logan Gray completed one of 4 attempts for six yards in the fourth quarter. Bobo didn't rule out freshman Aaron Murray, who has returned from triceps tendonitis, getting a shot.

"With Aaron missing three weeks, it's a little difficult to factor him in right now," Bobo said. "I wouldn't rule out anything right now with where we are as a football team offensively, trying to find something to give us a spark."

Georgia entered the game 105th in the nation in rushing. It ran for 89 yards on 22 carries and had just 41 after three quarters.

"It starts with the running game," said receiver A.J. Green. "If you can't run the ball, nobody's going to respect it. Everybody is just going to try to play the passing game."

Said Richt: "It's difficult to mount any sort of sustainable drive if you don't run the ball well. You can throw and catch your way down the field. That's possible, too. For our offensive system to be successful. We've got to have good balance."

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smartie 10/11/09 - 06:51 am
aaron murray sounds good to

aaron murray sounds good to me. anybody, that won't turn the ball over 3 times a game. i got to say, though, in fairness to joe cox, a running game might have given him a chance to be successful. at this point, i'm ready to see the future of uga football, let murray get some experience. i'm getting a little sick of hearing "young, depth, injuries". what i'm seeing is more "turnovers, penalties, pathetic soft zone defense".

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