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Balanced offense pushes Georgia to rout of Vanderbilt

The SportsXchange

ATHENS, Ga. -- Leading up to Saturday night, Georgia players didn't have much to say about last year's end-of-game brouhaha involving defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.

However, if the fifth-ranked Bulldogs' 48-3 rout of the Commodores were any indication, they certainly didn't forget.

The game was never in doubt.

After rolling up a school-record 713 yards of offense last week against Florida Atlantic, the Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 SEC) sliced through the Commodores (1-3, 0-2) almost as easily for 567 yards.

Georgia was led by running back Todd Gurley, who continues to show that even as a freshman, he may be one of the best backs in the league. For the third time in four games, Gurley topped the 100-yard mark, gaining 130 and two touchdowns on 16 carries Saturday.

He had plenty of company.

Quarterback Aaron Murray completed 18 of 24 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, while Keith Marshall rushed 10 times for 82 and two scores. Bulldogs senior Marlon Brown led all receivers with five catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

"The numbers show that we are executing extremely well," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "You can't do what we're doing without good blocking and tackling. But it's early yet. We have to keep our focus. Our focus has been to get better daily. If we can keep this up while we win, hopefully we can finish and reach our full potential."

Zac Stacy led the Commodores with 12 carries for 83 yards, with quarterback Jordan Rodgers completing 13 of 23 passes for 218 yards.

"I have to give credit to Georgia. They are a very good football team and are ranked in the Top 5 for a reason," Franklin said. "I think the difference in the game was played up front, especially with their offensive line. They did a really good job of running the ball with power and forced us to load the box, which opened up the passing game on the outside. I didn't feel like we played with the confidence that we normally play with on the outside."

It didn't take Georgia long to put its stamp on the game, as the Bulldogs scored two touchdowns in both the first and second quarters to grab a 27-3 halftime lead.

After forcing a punt on Vanderbilt's opening possession, Georgia used a 22-yard punt return from Malcolm Mitchell to set up an efficient seven-play, 47-yard drive for a quick 7-0 lead.

Gurley did the scoring honors, running in from 4 yards out.

Marshall wasn't about to be upstaged.

On Georgia's next possession, the Commodores were called for roughing the punter, allowing the Bulldogs to keep the ball. After scampering for 8 yards on the next play, Marshall picked up a huge inside block, found a seam and raced untouched for a 52-yard touchdown. The extra point failed following a bad snap, keeping the game at 13-0.

The Bulldogs' next two possessions also resulted in scores, first on a 22-yard pass from Murray to Tavarres King and next on a 1-yard dive by Murray, who started the game by completing his first 12 passes before finally throwing an incompletion late in the second quarter.

Vanderbilt's only score of the game came late in the second quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Casey Spear.

Georgia capped its scoring with three touchdowns in the third quarter on a 6-yard pass from Murray to Brown, a 2-yard run by Marshall and a 29-yard run by Gurley, one which left King to recall those made by the greatest Bulldog of all time.

"That was 'Herschel-esque,'" King said, drawing a Herschel Walker comparison to Gurley, who broke four tackles before racing in to the end zone. "That was just amazing."

Richt had no complaints.

"We don't want to have an offense centered around just one guy. We want to spread it out so that defensively there's not one guy to shut down when it comes to throwing and catching," Richt said. "When Murray makes full-field reads, he can hit four or five guys. Rarely do we run a bad play. He's mature enough and capable enough, and he studies the game enough to make the decisions he makes."

NOTES: Georgia senior safety Bacarri Rambo and junior linebacker Alec Ogletree did not dress out for the fourth consecutive week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the two were serving a suspension. ... Murray's 12 straight completions to start the game were the third most for a Georgia quarterback in school history. He finished the first half having completed 12 of 14 passes for 137 yards and one touchdown. ... Georgia returns to action next Saturday with a home game against Tennessee (3-1, 0-1 SEC). Vanderbilt has a week off before playing at Missouri (2-2, 0-2).
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