Dawgs Dominate to Clinch SEC Title Game Berth

Georgia took control early on the way to a 38-0 SEC football victory over the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Georgia took care of business early, earning a spot in the SEC Championship Game as the Bulldogs' oldest rival, the Auburn Tigers, were powerless to do anything about it on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and cruised to a 38-0 victory over Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

It was the first time the Tigers had been shut out since a loss to Alabama to close the regular season. The embarrassing performance for the Tigers was the first time they had been shutout at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2003 when the Tigers opened the season with Southern Cal.

Auburn remains winless in the SEC with seven losses and the Tigers have just two victories in 10 outings. Georgia finished its SEC regular season schedule with a 7-1 league mark and the Bulldogs improved to 9-1 overall.

"I just very thankful to have the opportunity to go back to Atlanta," said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team lost 42-10 LSU in last year's championship game.

Just like he did last year, UGA quarterback Aaron Murray had his way with the Auburn defense. He completed his first 10 passes before throwing an incompletion.

"Aaron Murray was very sharp and we had some red zone plays that were run to perfection," Richt said. "This was a day we ran it well, we threw it well and our defense was outstanding."

Georgia's junior quarterback finished the first half with 186 passing yards and three touchdowns as he hit 16-20 passes. He hooked up on TD throws of six yards to Chris Conley, five to Malcolm Mitchell and 17 yards to Tavarres King on drives of 76, 80 and 64 yards.

Murray's 55-yard pass play to King set up a six-yard run by Todd Gurley as the Bulldogs moved 90 yards on five plays to make the score 28-0 at halftime.

Auburn struggled to run the ball in the first half, netting just 11 yards on 15 carries. For the game the Tigers ran the ball 27 times for just 57 yards.

Jonathan Wallace hit 8-10 passes for 113 yards in the first two quarters, but the Tigers weren't consistent enough to put together a scoring drive.

For the game Murray, who was pulled after three quarters, hit 18-24 passes for 208 yards while directing an offense that had no turnovers. Wallace threw an interception in the second half and Emory Blake lost a fumble at the UGA 11 to end Auburn's best scoring threat.

Auburn was out-gained 497 to 238. The Bulldogs were equally effective on the ground as they were in the air. Gurley rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. Keith Marshall scored on a 62-yard run in the third quarter to end the scoring and finished the night with 105 yards on eight carries.

"Georgia is a good football team," Wallace said. "We had some opportunities and we didn't take advantage of and that got us beat. We just have to continue to work. That is the biggest thing. We have to keep pushing until the end of season.

"I did some good things, I did some bad things," Wallace said when asked to evaluate how he performed in his first SEC start. "I just have to make plays. That is the big thing."

Asked how painful it is to lose 38-0 to one of its rivals, Coach Gene Chizik said, "It is very painful. It is painful for the coaches and players and certainly the fans and alumni. It is very painful for everybody." He added as the head coach it is his responsibility for what happens and admitted the entire season has been frustrating.

Auburn's coach complimented Georgia, but said, "We didn't play very well tonight in any phase of the game, I didn't feel like, and the score pretty much indicated that."

"We are going to keep swinging away,"?said Chizik, who added he wants his seniors to have a good experience next week for their final home contest. "We have two more games left. It is going to be important for us to come back and work tomorrow."

Top Tackler for Tigers: Freshman Cassanova McKinzy, making his second start, made four solo tackles with three assists. Regular middle linebacker starter Jake Holland was held out with a high ankle sprain.

Cassanova McKinzy makes a tackle for the Tigers.

Demetruce McNeal made five solo tackles with one assist, but missed several tackling opportunities that turned short-gainers into big plays for the visitors. He was pulled in the second half in favor of walk-on Trent Fisher.

Second Start: Wallace finished the night hitting 15-22 passes for 181 yards.

C.J. Returns: Sophomore tight end C.J. Uzomah played after missing the previous game with a broken bone in a finger.

Third Down Problems: The Tigers have not been good on third downs either offensive or defensively this season. The trend continued on Saturday night as the Bulldogs converted 8-14 opportunities while the Tigers converted just 3-11.

Up Next: The Tigers will play their final home game of the season next Saturday at 1 p.m. as Alabama A&M makes its first-ever appearance at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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