Dawgs' D Rebounds against Vandy

NASHVILLE – The Georgia defense was looking to hold Vanderbilt to a "goose egg," according to linebacker Rennie Curran, to prove the unit was viable after two straight SEC losses.

Although the Commodores managed to bust the shutout, the Bulldogs' defense came out with passion in the first half, helping to build an early advantage in the 34-10 victory.

"That was our mindeset, was to have a full game, a full 60 minutes," Curran said. "We really just wanted to execute at a whole other level."

Vanderbilt scored only three points in the opening half, with the Georgia defense getting off the field after third downs, holding eight times out of nine on the crucial conversation.

"We knew we had to come out with a chip on our shoulder," Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens said. "Everybody is saying Georgia's defense is this or that. We had to come out and prove to the world that we were a force to be reckoned with."

On the first drive of the second half, Vanderbilt answered aggressively, scoring a touchdown. The 11-play, 80-yard drive was "unsettling" according to head coach Mark Richt, but was the final lackluster moment of the game on defense. Vanderbilt didn't score again, and didn't advance past the 50 until their last drive of the game.

"We were communicating as good as we have the entire season," Curran said. "Everybody was on the same page and we were fighting hard. There were some times where they made some plays, but we kept on being consistent, and that's the main thing we've been trying to do. You're never going to have a perfect game where you feel like there's nothing you need to work on, but as far as execution and making plays, I thought we did a good job of that today."

Georgia's plan involved limiting the rushing attack, holding Vanderbilt to a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. Running back Warren Norman never got into the flow, with 54 yards on 14 carries and a long of 11.

"Our game plan never changes," Owens said. "Its get after them on both sides of the ball. Get after them to stop the run, stop the pass and do whatever it takes to win."

Play action passes have hurt the Bulldogs last week against Tennessee. But without a solid running effort, and stronger focus in the Bulldogs' secondary, Vanderbilt didn't get much going with the pass.

"We knew they were going to try to do things that have hurt us in the past and we were prepared for that and ready," said cornerback Brandon Boykin.

"After last week, allowing [Tennessee quarterback Jonathon] Crompton to have a career game, we said to ourselves, it's an early game, it's going to be cold. All the things are going to be against us just like Tennessee, and we have nothing to lose. We just wanted to go out and show everybody how good we could be."

The defensive improvement has added value heading into Georgia's off week. Curran indicated a win wasn't good enough, with the defense setting goals high, trying to change the perception of a defense ranked eleventh in the SEC coming into the weekend.

"It's a good start but we have to finish," Owens said. "We just have to build on this win and progress each week."

Added Boykin: "It means a great deal, as far as momentum and confidence, we know we got a win going into the bye week to get ready for Florida. There is no better feeling than to come out with a win on the road."

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