Bulldogs clobber New Mexico State, 37-0

ATHENS, GA---Using their considerable superiority on both sides of the ball, the 24th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs cruised to a 37-0 victory over winless New Mexico State before 85,202 fans in Sanford Stadium September 23.

The verdict helped Bulldog coaches, players and fans ease bad memories from Georgia's upset loss at Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina two weeks ago.

"It's obvious we outmanned New Mexico State," Georgia coach Jim Donnan said.

The Bulldogs (2-1 overall, 0-1 SEC) started slowly, but pulled away from the Aggies in the second quarter to take a 20-0 lead at halftime. Georgia cruised the rest of the way using nearly every player off the bench. The Bulldogs built their cushion to 30-0 after three quarters, and piled up 428 yards of total offense for the game.

Georgia's defense also had a spectacular day, tossing its first shutout since 1997 when the Bulldogs downed SEC foe Mississippi State 47-0 in Athens. New Mexico State (0-3, 0-0 Big West Conference) managed just 184 yards against the Bulldog defense, with K.C. Enzminger completing 8-of-19 passes for 60 yards and Chris Barnes rushing eight times for 36 yards. The Aggies managed just 82 yards through the air. Georgia allowed New Mexico State possession of the ball for over thirty minutes and gave up 14 first downs, but only let the Aggies within 40 yards of the end zone once.

"Our defense has played well all year," said Donnan. "Our players on that side of the ball did a great job against New Mexico State. We held the Aggies under 200 yards [total offense] and that's good against anybody."

Two Bulldogs scored their first-ever collegiate touchdowns. Running back Bruce Thornton made a 16-yard scoring sprint off right tackle for the first of his two touchdowns of the game, while redshirt freshman running back Kenny Bailey added his initial Georgia touchdown late with a four-yard run.

Thornton, also a redshirt freshman, was filling in for Jasper Sanks, who sat out the game with an ankle injury. Thornton finished with 69 yards and scored two touchdowns. 

Senior running back Brett Millican led the Bulldogs ground attack, rushing for 99 yards. He scored a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Terrence Edwards caught five passes for 73 yards and a touchdown.

The Bulldogs ran the ball more than than they did in their first two games, and finished with 248 yards rushing on 40 attempts. Donnan indicated he would like to see a return to "Tailback U" at Georgia.

"Hopefully, we're going to be more of a running team than a passing team. But you've got to take what the defense gives you. When they've got nine guys on the line and we've got (receivers) running out there with blinkers on, you've got to try to take advantage of them. Teams have dared us to throw it until we hurt them," Donnan said. 

Freshman kicker Billy Bennett notched the first points of his Bulldog career, kicking two extra points and booting a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Junior quarterback Quincy Carter completed 12-of-23 passes for 182 yards. He had one touchdown pass, but also suffered an interception.

Carter's overall performance was not spectacular, but his receivers struggled at times to catch his passes. Starters Edwards and LaBrone Mitchell and freshman Reggie Brown had key drops. Mitchell dropped a touchdown pass that turned into an interception, and Brown let a perfectly thrown ball fall to the ground on what would have likely been another score.

The Bulldogs, who didn't score on their opening drive for the first time this season, got their first points with 2:06 remaining in the first quarter on a 16-yard run by Thornton to cap a four play; 59-yard drive. Brett Kirouac kicked the extra point to put Georgia up 7-0.

Millican added an 8-yard touchdown run with 6:51 left in the first half to cap an eight-play; 72-yard drive. Kirouac tacked on the point-after to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 advantage.

Thornton then scored from a yard-out with 30 seconds left in the half to boost Georgia's cushion to 20-0 and culminate a 66-yard drive that took just 1:18. Kirouac missed the extra point.

Georgia added a 7-yard touchdown pass from Carter to Edwards with 10:08 left in the third period. Billy Bennett followed with the PAT to provide a 27-0 Georgia lead.

The scoring drive covered 83 yards in eleven plays.

Bennett's field goal came less than five minutes after Edwards' score and pushed the Bulldogs lead to 30-0.

Georgia marched 60 yards in six plays for its last touchdown. Bailey scored on a four-yard plunge off left guard with 6:10 remaining. Kirouac added the point-after for a 37-0 margin to compete the scoring.

New Mexico State is 0-6 against the SEC and 0-9 against teams currently in the league. The Aggies are 1-16 against ranked teams, with their only win coming last year in an upset win against Arizona State.

Georgia will return to action on Saturday, September 30, at 12:30 p.m. when it travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in a pivotal SEC clash. The game will be televised regionally on the Jefferson Pilot Sports Network.

After the Arkansas game, Tennessee comes to Athens on October 7. Two straight victories by the Bulldogs will put Georgia back in the hunt for the SEC Eastern Division Championship.

"They are huge," Carter said of the two games. '"We simply can not have another loss in the SEC. Everyone on the team knows that."

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