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November 7, 2009OK, so nobody will mistake Tennessee Tech for Florida, Alabama, or for that matter, any school that calls the SEC home.
Nevertheless, when you have struggled as much as Georgia, an opportunity to go out and exorcise some of your season-long demons is certainly a welcomed change.
Saturday's 38-0 trouncing of the outmanned Golden Eagles definitely qualified.
Watson Brown's squad never had a chance.
Georgia (5-4) gobbled up 469 yards of total offense, including 304 on the ground while holding the Golden Eagles (5-4) to 55 yards to pick up a victory that puts Georgia (5-4) one away from becoming bowl eligible with three games to play.
"We just wanted to come out here today and have some fun," freshman Branden Smith said. "It's been a tough go for us this year, but at least this was a day where we were able to go out and have a good time."
Head coach Mark Richt was not complaining.
Saturday's shutout was Georgia's first since a 34-0 blanking of Alabama-Birmingham in 2006, as the Golden Eagles were limited to 55 yards on just 47 plays for the second-lowest output by a Bulldog opponent in school history.
The record is 39 total yards by The Citadel in 1953.
"We're just excited about a victory," Richt said. "It was a good victory and a good shutout. Shutouts don't come around very often and it's a tribute to our defensive coaches and players. A lot has to go right, and today it did."
It was good day for individuals to pad their stats.
Running back Washaun Ealey enjoyed his finest game to date, rushing for a career-high 89 yards and scoring his first two career touchdowns on runs of 7 and 44 yards.
He wasn't the only Bulldog to enjoy a big day on the ground.
Caleb King started and picked up 71 yards on 12 attempts while Smith took three snaps and rushed for 72 yards and a score on a 52- yard scamper down the right side.
Quarterback Joe Cox wasn't asked to throw much but was effective completing 10 of 13 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, one a 23-yarder to Orson Charles and another on a 6-yard toss to Mike Moore. Backup Logan Gray played a handful of series, completing 4 of 5 passes for 25 yards and one interception. He also scrambled for 32 yards.
Kicker Blair Walsh added a 24-yard field goal for good measure, making him 13-for-14 on the year.
"A lot of things we needed to correct, we did," Cox said. "We got better at a lot of things, but we still have a lot to work on."
It was also a day for the defense to make some positive plays.
Although Georgia did not create a turnover, the Bulldogs did collect six sacks, including two by true freshman Montez Robinson.
"We were totally dominated by Georgia today," Brown said of the Bulldogs. "You play this game sometimes and are dominated like we were. We could not throw the ball. Our kids played hard, but not with the swagger, we usually have. Their defensive line killed us all day long."
Georgia led 31-0 at the half.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring on Ealey's 7-yard run, followed four minutes later by Cox's 23-yard pass to Charles to give Georgia a quick 14-0 lead.
On Georgia's ensuing possession, Smith lined up in the backfield, took the direct snap, cut right and found nothing but wide-open spaces as he zoomed his way down the sideline to complete the 52-yard score.
Ealey's 44-yard run on first play of the second quarter pushed the margin to 28-0 before Walsh's 24-yard field goal capped the scoring with 2:53 left in the half to send Georgia into the lockerroom up 31-0.
"You can certainly start a game like this, flounder around a little bit and still find a way to win, maybe even by the same score," Richt said. "The way we started showed me that the boys were very serious about playing this ball game and I was happy about that, too."
Georgia's only score of the second half came on Cox's 6-yard pass to Moore with 4:18 left in the third quarter.