Shortly after disposing rival Georgia Tech, Georgia turned its attention to next week's SEC title game showdown with LSU.
"We've got an unbelievable challenge," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "Anybody who has watched LSU understands that they are one of the most physical teams that there is in college football, if not the most physical.
"In all the years I've watched football I don't know that I've seen a team that big and strong and physical."
Georgia (10-2) will be coming into the game with some confidence, having won 10 straight after an 0-2 start. It's the longest win streak for Georgia in the regular season since the Bulldogs went 11-0 in 1982.
"We're very happy with that," Georgia sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray said. "But we've still got two more games to go. We love what we've done, and we're feeling great with the momentum we've built."
Murray threw four touchdown passes to lead the Bulldogs to a 31-17 victory over Georgia Tech and claim the Governor's Cup. Richt improved to 10-1 against Georgia's in-state rival.
"We circled this game on our schedule since January so we definitely weren't going to overlook it," Murray said.
But now, Georgia could look ahead to spoiling No. 1 LSU's chance to play in the BCS title game. With a victory, Georgia would claim its first SEC title since 2005.
"We've taken these steps all year long in order to be in this position," Murray said. "And we know we still have work to do."
Tigers have one more test before title shot
No. 1 LSU has built such a strong resume that the Tigers might go to the BCS Championship even if they don't win the SEC Championship game against Georgia on Saturday in the Georgia Dome.
But the Tigers (12-0 and 8-0) aren't taking anything for granted as they try to add the conference championship to their list of accomplishments this season.
"There will be a time when I'll look back and relish in these victories and all the fun we've had," LSU guard Will Blackwell said, "but we've got to stay on track and focus on Georgia. Our No. 1 goal has been to win the SEC and hang that banner. We've got a great opportunity to do that now."
"There would be no way that this team could come to Atlanta and not play their best," Miles said. "They are focused on one game and it is the conference championship in the SEC in Atlanta, Georgia and we're looking forward to attending."
Fifth-year senior cornerback Ron Brooks remembers going to Atlanta as a true freshman when LSU beat Tennessee, 21-14, to win the SEC title and advance to the BCS Championship, where the Tigers beat Ohio State, 38-24.
"It just feels like my freshman year all over again -- going to Atlanta and maybe even getting a chance to play for the national championship," Brooks said, "but right now we're going to focus on this game coming up in the SEC Championship.
"We've accomplished a lot to this point, but we don't want to stop and relax and rely on our accomplishments to get us through the next game. We want to continue to be hungry and go out there and work and fight and play a good game."
GEORGIA NOTES, QUOTES
--Against Georgia Tech, Georgia's normally balanced offense relied more heavily on the pass, with starting RB Isaiah Crowell out because of an ankle injury. "That wasn't the total plan coming in," Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "We were going to try to be balanced. But I just felt like after the first series, even though we gave up a couple of pressures, I felt like we could get open in their secondary. We just kind of opened it up from there." Georgia finished with 252 yards passing and 128 yards rushing.
--CB Brandon Boykin's 60-yard kickoff return in the second half against Georgia Tech moved him into second in the SEC for career kickoff return yards.
--Georgia will meet LSU for the third time in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs beat LSU, 34-14, to win the 2005 SEC title, but lost to the eventual national-champion Tigers, 34-13, in 2003.
LSU NOTES, QUOTES
--Going into its regular-season finale, LSU had trailed just twice all season, both times by just three points, to Oregon and to Alabama. But Arkansas jumped to a 14-0 second-quarter lead last Friday in Tiger Stadium.
"We never worried about it," LSU guard Will Blackwell said of the deficit. "It wasn't a big obstacle for us. Fourteen points isn't a lot for us."
The Tigers put together a 21-0 blitz in a span of less than five minutes and wound up outscoring the Razorbacks, 41-3, after the 14-0 deficit.
"This football team, down 14 points, did not flinch," Tigers coach Les Miles said. "There was never a question in anybody's mind on that sideline that they were going to respond. It was really just a matter of time."
--LSU is 12-0 for the first time in school history as it prepares for the SEC Championship game against Georgia on Saturday in the Georgia Dome, and whatever comes after that.
--The Tigers' 13-game winning streak overall and 17-game home winning streak are both the longest in the country.
--LSU has tied a school record with seven victories against Top 25 teams this season. Those wins have come by an average of three touchdowns. Then-No. 3 Arkansas was the third team in the top three to lose to LSU, joining No. 2 Alabama and preseason No. 3 Oregon.
--Sophomore CB Tyrann Mathieu moved to free safety against Arkansas while Eric Reid was sidelined by a thigh injury. Mathieu caused two fumbles, recovered one, led the team with eight tackles (all solo), and returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown.
"He's very bright," Miles said of Mathieu. "He's a guy that knows all of the coverages and all the safeties' responsibilities and so it was a nice, easy move and without Eric Reid -- and we miss him sorely -- we needed to make that adjustment."
The punt return was the first scoring play for Mathieu since a 23-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Kentucky on Oct 1 that capped a string of early-season big plays that made Mathieu one of the most-talked about players in the country before his season took a downward turn that included a one-game suspension for violating team rules.
"He had a lot of big plays today," safety Brandon Taylor said of Mathieu. "He hasn't had a lot of turnovers the last couple of games so I guess he just made up for it today."
SERIES HISTORY: LSU leads, 14-12, one tie (Last meeting, 2008, Georgia 52-38)
SCOUTING THE GEORGIA OFFENSE: Georgia comes into its game against LSU averaging 243.1 yards per game passing and 180.6 yards per game rushing. The Bulldogs are a strong 45 percent (80-179) on third-down conversions. Georgia QB Aaron Murray has spread the ball to different playmakers throughout the season, throwing 32 touchdown passes to 12 players.
SCOUTING THE LSU DEFENSE: LSU has not allowed more than one offensive touchdown to any of its eight SEC opponents. The Tigers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher, consistently pressure the passer, and average more than two takeaways per game.
SCOUTING THE GEORGIA DEFENSE: Georgia has been strong against the run for most of the season, limiting teams to 94.8 yards per game on three yards per carry. The Bulldogs have made big plays on defense, forcing 29 turnovers and recording 32 sacks. Georgia is holding opponents 17.8 points per game.
SCOUTING THE LSU OFFENSE: The running game continues to pound teams with three and four different halfbacks. Jordan Jefferson has entrenched as the No. 1 QB after three consecutive starts, and he adds another effective runner to the mix.
GEORGIA QUOTE TO NOTE: "Going 10 in a row is nice. You can't go 10 in a row unless you go one in a row. That kind of became our war cry. 'Let's win one in a row once a week,'" -- Georgia coach Mark Richt, on his team's 10-game winning streak heading into the SEC title game against LSU.
LSU QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got to stay humble because it's not over yet. We still haven't got what we want. We can be 13-0 and still lose our last game." -- LSU S Brandon Taylor on the Tigers' 12-0 regular season.
GEORGIA'S KEYS TO THE GAME: Georgia will need to protect the football against an LSU defense that has forced 24 turnovers this season. On defense, Georgia will need to prepare to contain two quarterbacks, drop-back passer Jarrett Lee and more mobile Jordan Jefferson. The Bulldogs are capable of making big plays on offense with QB Aaron Murray under center, but Murray must avoid the momentum-changing mistakes that have plagued other opponents against LSU this season. On special teams, Georgia must provide good coverage on kickoffs against speedy LSU return man Morris Claiborne.
LSU KEYS TO THE GAME: Pound the ball at the defense in the running game, use play action to get the ball to Rueben Randle, and win the turnover and special teams battles.
GEORGIA PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Aaron Murray -- Murray has thrown 32 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions this season. His 32 touchdown passes, a Georgia single-season record, are tied for eighth all-time in the SEC with Florida's Tim Tebow (2007) and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett (2010).
WR Malcolm Mitchell -- Mitchell leads Georgia in yards receiving and is Georgia's big-play threat in the downfield passing game. Mitchell has 34 catches for 582 yards and four touchdowns this season.
OLB Jarvis Jones -- Jones is the top pass-rusher in the SEC with a league-high 13.5 sacks. Georgia will need Jones to get pressure on LSU quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.
TE Orson Charles -- Charles is coming off a five catch, 95-yard performance against Georgia Tech. Charles has 40 catches for 530 yards and five touchdowns.
S Bacarri Rambo -- Rambo has a team-high seven interceptions and is a big play threat in Georgia's secondary.
LSU PLAYERS TO WATCH:
RB Kenny Hilliard -- The freshman is taking on a more prominent role late in the season. He had season-highs of 19 carries and 102 rushing yards in the 41-17 victory against Arkansas last week. Hilliard has six rushing touchdowns in just 49 carries this season.
WR Rueben Randle -- The junior is coming off a game in which he had career-highs of nine catches and 134 yards. He's averaging 18.5 yards per catch and has scored eight touchdowns.
CB Morris Claiborne -- The junior has a team-leading five interceptions and also five pass breakups.
DE Barkevious Mingo -- The sophomore is tied for the team lead with eight sacks, which have resulted in losses of 60 yards.
GEORGIA ROSTER REPORT
--RB Isaiah Crowell sat out the Georgia Tech game because of an ankle injury, but coach Mark Richt said he thinks Georgia's leading rusher will be available for the LSU game. "He has made progress," Richt said. "We're hoping that he'll be ready to practice maybe as early as Monday. I don't know. I've got a feeling he'll be ready by the time the game rolls around."
--RB Ken Malcome made his first career start for Georgia against Georgia Tech and finished with 39 yards on 12 carries.
--CB Branden Smith also saw time at running back against Georgia Tech and finished with 20 yards on five carries.
--RB Carlton Thomas returned from a one-game suspension to play against Georgia Tech but had only six yards on five carries.
LSU ROSTER REPORT
--S Eric Reid (thigh) is questionable.
--G Josh Dworaczyk (knee) is out for the season.