- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia piled up the yards in a much easier second half to pull away for a 45-14 victory against Georgia Southern.
It was over when: Georgia scored a touchdown on its first two possessions of the second half -- on touchdown passes from Aaron Murray to Chris Conley and Tavarres King -- to push a 17-7 halftime deficit to a comfortable 31-7 advantage.
Game ball goes to: Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham. Georgia’s coordinators helped turn Saturday’s game into a rout after an ugly first half. Bobo recognized that Georgia Southern’s defense had no chance of stopping Murray and the Bulldogs’ passing game, and he turned them loose in a 21-point third quarter. Grantham’s defense adjusted to Georgia Southern’s running game admirably, allowing just 31 rushing yards in the third quarter as the Bulldogs took control.
Stat of the game: 302. Georgia Southern’s flexbone offense gave Georgia’s defense all kinds of early problems, racking up 149 rushing yards on 29 carries in the first half. The Bulldogs tightened up afterward, although the Eagles finished with 302 total rushing yards. Of their 153 second-half rushing yards, 122 came in the fourth quarter after Georgia had already put away the win.
Turning point: Georgia led 10-7 with 1:12 left in the first half when Georgia Southern left guard Trevor McBurnett was flagged for a chop block that canceled out Dominique Swope’srun to the Georgia 5. Alex Hanks was instead forced to attempt a 39-yard field goal -- which he missed -- and Georgia drove 78 yards, scoring on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Malcolm Mitchell with 4 seconds left, to go up 17-7 at halftime.
What it means: No. 5 Georgia (10-1) bounced back from a slow start and got valuable practice for defending Georgia Tech’s highly similar flexbone rushing attack next Saturday.