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Bulldogs defense posts a goose egg vs. Vandy

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATHENS -- It was sloppy at times, especially early, but Georgia easily managed to maintain momentum gained with last week's rout of Tennessee on Saturday.

This time, the victim was Tennessee's in-state rival Vanderbilt, and once again, Aaron Murray and the Georgia passing game, plus an aggressive defensive effort, were the main weapons that helped the Bulldogs torpedo the Commodores, 43-0, before an announced Homecoming crowd of 92,746 at Sanford Stadium.

"I want to say, first of all, that a shutout in any level of football is not easy to do," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "I'm proud not only of the defensive coaches and players, but the entire team."

Richt then added: "It looks like we're getting better. It looks like we're playing with a little more passion and it looks like we're building some on the momentum that's been created, which is good."

So was Georgia on Saturday.

Murray finished 15 of 24 for 287 yards and two touchdowns, with Kris Durham (4 receptions 112 yards, TD) as his chief target, and was complemented by a running game led by 129 yards from Washaun Ealey as the Bulldogs (3-4 overall, 2-3 SEC) rolled up 547 yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, the Bulldog defense stifled Vandy (2-4, 1-2) for just 140 total yards in the shutout, and have given up just 14 points in the last two games.

Former Seminole County star Bacarri Rambo had five tackles, while Early County native Shawn Williams contributed two.

"We wanted to get that zero," said Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson, who had three combined tackles and assists on the day. "As a defense, no matter who it was, everybody do their job to win. ... It's just great for morale knowing everybody's doing their job."

Still, it took a while for Georgia to get going despite a 55-yard completion from Murray to Durham on the Bulldogs' first offensive snap.

Confusion on the ensuing nine-play, 66-yard drive forced the Bulldogs to use all three of their first-half timeouts in the first 5:16 after the opening kickoff, and they wound up with just a 32-yard field goal from Blair Walsh to show for it to take a 3-0 lead with 7:41 left in the opening frame.

Georgia then had to maintain its composure after one apparent touchdown was nullified by replay and another diminished to just a safety as their lead was 12-0 by the end of the quarter, though it could have been more.

"It's so early in the game, you've just got to keep playing," Richt said of the two replay reversals. "We were excited about playing the game."

The Bulldogs maintained their poise and gave themselves more reasons to be excited as the first half wound down.

After taking a Vandy punt at the Commodores' 37, it took the Bulldogs six plays to get in the end zone with Murray hitting Durham for a 4-yard scoring strike to push the lead to 19-0 with 8:43 left in the first half.

Georgia then added a 25-yard field goal by Walsh to cap a 16-play, 86-yard drive with 18 seconds left in the half to take a 22-0 lead into intermission.

And it didn't take long -- just 2:36, to be exact -- for the Bulldogs to add to the lead in the second half.

An acrobatic completion from Murray to Durham was followed by a 48-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Greene to stretch the Georgia lead to 29-0 with 12:14 left in the third quarter, and the rout was officially on.

"I feel a little more comfortable every game," said Murray, who added 36 rushing yards on four carries. "I feel more comfortable with the offense. The biggest thing is I'm more comfortable reading defenses. ... The more I see, the better I'm going to read.

"I think the chemistry (on offense) is great, especially with the offensive line. It starts with those guys. ... And our receivers have been making plays all year."

Murray has 12 TD passes and only three interceptions this season.

Murray and other starters were pulled late in the third quarter. Hutson Mason took over at quarterback.

Georgia introduced its new mascot, Uga VIII, a 13-month-old white English bulldog, before the game, which ended up being a feast for Uga and Dog fans as Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-2) suffered its 15th loss in the last 16 games in the series.

"We got whipped in every phase of the game -- offense, defense, special teams," Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell said.

Commodores quarterback Larry Smith said "It can't get any worse than (it did Saturday)."

Smith completed 5 of 14 passes for 70 yards with an interception for Vanderbilt, which was held to eight first downs and 140 total yards in its worst defeat since a 48-0 loss to Tennessee on Nov. 22, 2003.

Georgia, meanwhile, was still trying to recover from four straight losses to South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Colorado.

"It's a long season," Murray said. "You can't lose four games and think the season is over. There's still plenty of time to have what most teams would consider a good season."

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Information from The Associated Press was used in this report