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Dogs take care of Idaho State, 55-7

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

ATHENS -- Aaron Murray had time to recover from a slow start against overmatched Idaho State.

He knows he won't have that luxury in next week's game at No. 3 Auburn.

Murray threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter, including two to A.J. Green, and Georgia overwhelmed Idaho State 55-7 on Saturday.

Georgia (5-5) led only 6-0 before scoring 35 points in the second quarter against the FCS Bengals. Murray completed only 5 of 11 passes for 39 yards in the sluggish opening quarter.

"I definitely wasn't as accurate as I would like to be in the first quarter," said Murray, who threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in last week's 34-31 overtime loss to Florida.

"Next week at Auburn, you never know what play is going to win the game. I have to make sure next week I really focus on every play."

Murray said his passing improved after quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told him to concentrate on using his legs and for a complete throwing motion.

Murray passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns in the second period and finished 19 of 27 passing for 228 yards and three touchdowns.

"For whatever reason, Aaron was a little off early," said coach Mark Richt. "Every quarterback has a moment or two where he's not as sharp as he ought to be. Once we got some touchdowns on the board, Murray started putting it on the money. He settled in and played well after that."

Murray threw touchdown passes of 3 and 46 yards to Green, who had six catches for 103 yards and then turned his attention to Auburn.

"Auburn is a great team, and we are looking forward to the game," Green said. "It's going to be a great challenge but also a great opportunity."

Murray's third touchdown pass was to tight end Bruce Figgins. Caleb King and Nick Chapas ran for touchdowns.

Georgia needs a win over Auburn or Georgia Tech to become bowl eligible. The Bulldogs will take unprecedented offensive momentum into the Auburn game after scoring more than 30 points in five straight games for the first time in school history.

This time, however, it was the defense which sparked the scoring.

Bacarri Rambo and Vance Cuff scored on interception returns of 39 and 30 yards, respectively. Brandon Boykin returned an interception 18 yards to the Idaho State 3 to set up another score.

The plays by Rambo and Boykin came in the second quarter.

"It took the defense to show the way a little bit and kind of spark the team," Richt said.

Idaho State (1-8), suffered its eighth straight loss this season and 26th consecutive road loss, a streak that began in 2006. The school received $525,000 from Georgia to play the game.

"It is what it is; we played this game for revenue," said Idaho State coach John Zamberlin. "We built this up with our guys as the opportunity to play in a great stadium against a great team. We played hard and did a good job flying to the ball. We held them to no touchdowns in the first quarter, and I'm very proud of our guys."

Kyle Morris threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Tavoy Moore with 8:51 remaining to end Georgia's shutout bid.

Idaho State starting quarterback Russel Hill was 2 of 16 passing for 27 yards and two interceptions.

Morris replaced Hill in the third quarter and was 5 of 16 passing for 85 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Idaho State, a Big Sky team, played its second game against a Southeastern Conference school. The Bengals lost 41-29 at Kentucky in 2005.

Carlton Thomas led Georgia with 14 carries for 64 yards. King had nine carries for 43 yards.

The two touchdown catches brought Green's career total to 21 as he passed Fred Gibson for second place on the school records. Terrence Edwards set the school record with 30 from 1999-2002.

Georgia led 41-0 at halftime, and Richt left his starters in the game for one series in the third quarter. Murray's 21-yard pass to Green set up a 1-yard scoring run by Chapas.

Hutson Mason took over for Murray and completed 3 of 8 passes for 41 yards.

Blair Walsh kicked field goals of 38 and 53 yards in the first quarter. The 53-yarder matched Walsh's career longest and left the junior 8 for 12 in his career on attempts from 50 yards or longer.

Walsh's backup, Brandon Bogotay, missed a 35-yard attempt with 55 seconds remaining to end a long Georgia drive.

Freshman safety Alec Ogletree made his first start for Georgia and had a partial block of a punt late in the first quarter to help set up the Bulldogs' first touchdown drive in the second quarter.

The attendance was 92,746 for Georgia's 62nd consecutive sellout at Sanford Stadium, but there were several thousand empty seats.