ATHENS, Ga. -- Louisiana-Monroe got Georgia's attention with some trickery to open the second half -- an onside kick that led to a touchdown and made the game close.
But led by a bunch of backups, the Bulldogs recovered quickly while showing they have the depth to survive future challenges from more talented opponents.
The second-teamers delivered front-line performances and No. 7 Georgia rolled past Louisiana-Monroe 44-7 on Saturday.
Filling in for injured tailback Thomas Brown, Danny Ware rushed for 109 yards. Martrez Milner caught three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown while starting at tight end for Leonard Pope, who was held out for disciplinary reasons.
Also, Danny Verdun Wheeler moved into the starting lineup for injured linebacker Jarvis Jackson and led the team with 11 tackles. The Bulldogs were also without starting receiver Sean Bailey, but Georgia still rolled to 543 total yards with their most balanced attack of the year.
Still, the first reaction from Georgia coach Mark Richt was one of relief.
"I'm glad that's over with," Richt said after his team made 11 penalties for 99 yards and lost two fumbles in an otherwise strong showing.
Bailey suffered a shoulder injury late in the practice week.
Richt said Pope "had broken a rule I wasn't too pleased about." The coach gave no other details.
Richt said Brown, Pope, Jackson and Bailey are expected back for next Saturday's game at Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs led 17-0 at the half but had a scare when Louisiana-Monroe recovered an onside kick and went on a 53-yard touchdown drive.
"It was kind of shocking at the time," Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley said. "We had just talked at halftime about making sure we put points on the board and then the game was one play away from being close."
As Shockley led the way, Georgia (3-0) answered with 17 third-quarter points and coasted to 10 points in the final quarter with third- and fourth-stringers in the game.
Ware averaged 8.4 yards per carry.
"I was feeling everything I touched," Ware said. "We still had a good rotation [at tailback]."
Shockley completed 13-of-20 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown and added a 28-yard touchdown run in his three quarters.
Brandon Coutu kicked three field goals, including a 58-yarder -- tied for the third-longest in school history -- for Georgia.
After Joel Stelly recovered the onside kick for Louisiana-Monroe, quarterback Steven Jyles scored the only touchdown for the Indians (0-3) on a 2-yard run, ending the team's six-quarter scoring drought.
"I think we played pretty good in the first five minutes of the second half," said Louisiana-Monroe coach Charlie Weatherbie. "It was great to get the onside kick and take it in for a score to cut the lead to 10 points. Then toward the end of the game the wheels came off and we turned it over a couple of times in the fourth quarter."
Shockley capped Georgia's opening drive with his 28-yard scoring run, and he added a 25-yard scoring pass to Milner in the first quarter. The Bulldogs were held to a 40-yard field goal by Coutu in the second quarter. Coutu missed from 31 yards later in the
Georgia answered the Indians' touchdown with another 40-yard field goal from Coutu and Kregg Lumpkin's first touchdown since the 2003 season. Lumpkin, who missed the 2004 season with a knee injury, scored on an 18-yard run on Georgia's first play after an instant replay ruling kept the drive alive.
During the drive, Kenneth Harris lost the ball after a 31-yard reception, and Louisiana-Monroe's Eddie Webb came up with the apparent fumble. A video review upheld the officials' ruling that Harris was down before he lost possession.
Minutes later, the officials were back in front of the TV monitor for another review. On a third-and-19 play from the Louisiana-Monroe 9, Jyles fumbled when hit by Georgia's Quentin Moses. Calvin Johnson recovered in the end zone for a touchdown, and the video review confirmed Jyles fumbled before his arm was in a passing motion.
With 5:05 left to play, Tyson Browning scored from the 16 following a Louisiana-Monroe turnover to cap the scoring.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... When Louisiana-Monroe woke the Dawgs up after pulling within 10 in the third quarter. Georgia hunkered down and scored 27 unanswered points to cruise to the win.
Gameball goes to... In a game like this, it's tough to pick, so we'll just go with the entire Georgia offense, which posted 543 yards of total offense.
Stat of the game... 58 yards: The length of Georgia's Brandon Coutu's fourth-quarter field goal, which tied for the third-longest in school history.