UPDATED: Georgia Bulldogs steamroll FAU 56-20 on record-setting offensive night

Georgia tailback Todd Gurley breaks free on a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter against Florida Atlantic on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia tailback Todd Gurley breaks free on a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter against Florida Atlantic on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — Georgia and its fans got what they paid for and Florida Atlantic got its $1 million check as the Bulldogs rolled over the Owls 56-20 on Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.

The win gets No. 7 Georgia off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2008, when it began the season ranked No. 1. The Bulldogs (1-0 SEC) play host to Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1) on Saturday.

Georgia simply overwhelmed their Sun Belt Conference visitors with offense. The Bulldogs rolled up a school-record 713 yards — breaking the 1993 record of 667 yards versus Southern Miss — and did it with strong running and passing.

Tailbacks Todd Gurley (111) and Keith Marshall (104) each went over 100 yards rushing — the first freshman pair to do that in a game since Thomas Brown and Danny Ware in 2004 — and quarterback Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 342 yards on 14-of-19 passing. He accounted for four touchdowns — two passing and two rushing — and he moved up to tie Eric Zeier for second on Georgia’s career passing TDs list with 67. David Greene is the all-time leader with 72.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Murray, who left the game late in the third quarter. “You’ve got to give credit to the way we worked this week in practice and the way we’ve been working. Guys have been determined to work their tails off to understand the game plan and what teams do defensively so we can come out and execute. And that’s what we did tonight.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s vaunted defense didn’t look as dominant. Playing without All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who sat out with a slight groin pull, the Bulldogs gave up 318 yards and 15 first downs. The Owls, who managed only one touchdown in their 7-3 win over Wagner to open the season, tied the score at 14-14 early in the second quarter and converted eight of 12 first downs in the first quarter.

“I was concerned,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “They were legitimately taking that ball and moving it down the field. Their quarterback was very confident, they were throwing and catching the ball and their running backs were good.”

But Georgia shut out the Owls’ offense in the second half and managed to rest most of its starters in the fourth quarter. And not having Jones made an impact.

“Yeah, I think it affected us.,” Richt said. “Guys like Jarvis tend to get you off the field. Knowing Jarvis, he probably would’ve been good for a sack or two.”

Everything wasn’t rosy for Georgia’s offense either. Murray threw an interception in the end zone, backup quarterback Christian LeMay threw a “pick-six” interception and the Bulldogs fumbled three times for the second week in a row, losing two this time. Also, the Bulldogs were penalized eight times after being flagged 12 times a week earlier.

“I didn’t like the turnovers,” Richt said. “There were too many balls on the ground. We’re still not fielding punts and kicks like we should. We have a lot to fix.”

Georgia’s victory came on a night when the school inaugurated — or “collared,” as they like to call it — a new mascot. Russ, the 8-year-old half-brother of Uga VII, was sworn in as Uga IX in a ceremony right before kickoff. Russ had served as interim Uga for 25 games over four seasons after the deaths of Ugas VII and VIII.

Gurley passed the century mark with a 38-yard touchdown run at the 10:18 mark of the third quarter. That gave him 106 yards on nine carries and Georgia a 42-14 lead. At that point Marshall had 104 yards on 10 carries. Gurley has scored a touchdown in all three of his games as a Bulldog and has five touchdowns on the season.

“That’s good right there, both of us getting 100 yards,” said Gurley, who is averaging 92 per game. “If we can do that every game the outcome should always be a win.”

The game featured several career highs for several players. Junior tight end Arthur Lynch scored the first touchdown of his career. He hauled in a Murray pass and went 36 yards, diving and reaching the ball over the pylon. It required an official review to reward him the score. Lynch had a career-best three catches for 73 yards.

A week after catching a career-best eight catches against Missouri, Michael Bennett had a career-high 110 yards receiving on four catches. He had a 67-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter.

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown that made the score 49-14 late in the third quarter. LeMay scored his first career touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter.

Whatever passion Georgia may have lacked in Saturday’s game should return 10-fold against the Commodores. You’ll recall that last year’s game between those teams in Nashville — the Bulldogs won 33-28 — ended with a shouting match between Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vandy head coach James Franklin.

“I know we’ll be motivated for that game,” Richt said. “We’ll be ready.”

MORE GAME COVERAGE

198 comments Add your comment

vampire bill

September 16th, 2012
12:07 am

D was scary in the 1st half

SatillaDawg

September 16th, 2012
12:15 am

t2go

September 16th, 2012
12:18 am

Go DAWGS!!!! Bring on Vandy and Tenn!!! The SCarolina game is gonna be fun. Everyone contributing….love these guys!!

drbasic1

September 16th, 2012
12:22 am

I am going to question the defense…until they prove me wrong….Good win however

Russell Hall

September 16th, 2012
12:24 am

One game at a time. Go Dawgs!

TDawg

September 16th, 2012
12:25 am

Go Dawgs. Congrats to Russ

KBP

September 16th, 2012
12:26 am

Good win! Not concerned about defense. Hard to focus while playing lesser competition. With Rambo and Ogletree back for Tennessee, D will be fine. Still want to see us line up in the I and run the ball more.

SatillaDawg

September 16th, 2012
12:26 am

Russ rules the Dawg Nation!

Bring on Vandy!

Tdawg

September 16th, 2012
12:31 am

What I’d like to know, is why wasn’t Mason in the game? I thought that he was the back up QB. If I were him, I would transfer first thing Monday morning. I don’t know what lies Richt’s been telling him, because it’s obvious as the nose on your face, Richt ain’t gonna give the kid a fair shake.

Lance

September 16th, 2012
12:34 am

Mason is redshirting

BigDawg

September 16th, 2012
12:35 am

I sure hope Murray doesn’t get hurt!! Or anyone else of course.

BigDawg

September 16th, 2012
12:36 am

Watch our for dirty plays by Vandy, and for CTG to have his troops ready for crybaby Jane Franklin!

KBP

September 16th, 2012
12:36 am

One major concern: Gurley returning kicks. The risk of injury is too great. Let Branden Smith return kicks. We need Gurley on 1st and 10 more than returning kicks, just sayin’.

KBP

September 16th, 2012
12:41 am

Tdawg, in the spring it was being discussed to redshirt Mason to put a year between he and Murray because Mason was considering transferring.

kingdaddy

September 16th, 2012
12:41 am

Tdawg
Mason is going to be given a red-shirt. He is not leaving UGA. Aaron looked great tonight. The red-shirt puts a little seperation between Murray and himself. If Murray gets hurt, Mason will probably jump over LeMay. Mason knows Aaron is the man right now….

11BPSGDawg

September 16th, 2012
12:42 am

Tdawg——Unless Murray goes down with an injury, Mason has been told (and he requested) he will redshirt this year in order to get him a years separation between him and Murray.

Pj

September 16th, 2012
12:42 am

We are gonna kick the snot out of Vandy. They just need to post a photo of Franklin yelling at our guys. Ogletree will be back. October 6th is gonna be an enormous game

Cuz

September 16th, 2012
12:43 am

The play of the d without Jarvis shows just what am impact player he is for this team. Sanders looked out of position on many plays. I expect the same from Rambo when he returns.

Best part was not even on TV. Russ got his just reward. We now have an Uga.

GB's Hamburgers

September 16th, 2012
12:52 am

Murray actually hit those recievers running loose downfield. He was very sharp though the interception was a bonehead play. I’m hoping he’s as accurate against the SEC opponents. All three backs looked pretty awesome too.

Dawg in Napa

September 16th, 2012
12:52 am

D has scared me a bit in each game so far…I hate being the nervous dawg fan, but when 2 of the 3 are creme puffs, we shouldn’t be giving up this many yards

BigDawg

September 16th, 2012
12:53 am

They should have given Richard Samuel some carries in the fourth quarter!! Why didn’t they?! He is the true team player who has sacrificed his college career for UGA!!!

kingdaddy

September 16th, 2012
12:59 am

People we ran a very basic defense tonight with hardly any blitzing. Richt is not tipping his hand. He isn’t showing Franklin much to plan for. We will be fine when Vandy and Tenn come to town. All our starters will be back and you will see our full scheme at the SC game. We were never in any danger…

kingdaddy

September 16th, 2012
1:08 am

Big Dawg,
I agree on Richard. Wonder if he got hurt???

The Bear

September 16th, 2012
1:24 am

I hate to say this but UGA is over-rated! But so are a bunch of other teams!

Big Crimson 75

September 16th, 2012
1:28 am

Fla looks like the team to beat in the East.
Uga & SC are the challengers.

Under The Bleachers

September 16th, 2012
1:49 am

Big Crimson 75

September 16th, 2012
1:28 am
Fla looks like the team to beat in the East.
Uga & SC are the challengers

I agree 100%. UGA is not as impressive on defense as they should be and if a good team can stop their running game they will be in trouble, but to be fair I will wait for their Brownie/ Dopers back before we make a complete assessment. They have given up big plays every game so far.

Florida looks pretty darn good, they make too many dumb penalties and it will catch up with them soon if Muschamp does not get them to play smarter.

Tennessee is not going to be a cake walk for anyone that plays them, they have some big talented wideouts and if Bray could have hit some wide open recievers they would have been ahead in the third quarter. The Vol defense needs a good deal of help.

USC, the jury is still out, with their quarterback musical chairs due to injury it is hard to get a read on them and Lattimore has been very very quiet. The Gamecock defense is scary at times with all that speed and talent.

Kentucky is just awful in everything.

Missouri without Franklin is just above average, with little to no defense.

Vanderbilt is the unknown, they played USC very very well, then went on the road and blew up in the fourth quarter against NW. They have some real talent in Nashville, who is going to upset someone this season in SEC play.

Auburn is just awful and if they win a SEC game it will be against Ole Miss who does not play defense either.

LSU even without four more players missing the season are still loaded but they have not played anyone yet. They will beat up Auburn next week and the Crowd at Jordon Hare will be gone with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. LSU will have 300 yards of offense by halftime.

Alabama is so deep, many of those Atlanta Area kids who many on these blogs were saying would never see the field have played very very well, Geno Smith, Dillon Lee, K. Drake, D, Lake…all have played very very well this short season.

Miss. St, is an unknown after seeing Auburn squeak by ULM.

Ole Miss, great play calling on offense, not enough talent,and they have no defense.

Texas A&M is another unknown, but they have a ton of young kids who are playing very well.

The Big 1O Is AWFUL, JUST AWFUL, Up and down the entire league.

The PAC 10 consist of Oregon and Oregon alone, USC had no depth, no defense and no running game.

TY

September 16th, 2012
2:05 am

Was Samuel hurt duing the g ame?

Eric C.

September 16th, 2012
2:16 am

It is easy to think the worst for the defense after the big chunks of yardage given vs FAU, but I’d like to see them at full strength before drawing too many conclusions.

When a defense is missing 3 or 4 starters every game…it makes it tough to assess. No Rambo, Ogletree, or Jones tonight…keep it real. If FAU moved the ball like that with those guys in…then we should be really concerned.

The Vandy game will be tough, but the real test will be UT because it will be the first common opponent with UF, and hopefully it will be with all cylinders firing on defense.

I dropped my fried twinkie

September 16th, 2012
2:51 am

On 1 TD there was Blocking in the back, and Offensive face masking but the review from the booth could ONLY see if he scored. Got to LOVE the Refs missing 2 offensive penalties on one TD play in their FACE.

I dropped my fried twinkie

September 16th, 2012
2:53 am

Eric C what about BUFFALO?

There are 8 top 5 teams and 30 top 20 teams. UGa is in the 30 top 20 teams. UGa is not a top 10 team.

drbasic1

September 16th, 2012
3:08 am

Is everyone that lame to think we through a massive defensive effort at them???……….How blitzes did we use?……How much pressure on QB??…………Come on people, it was vanilla, we stopped them when we needed to

I dropped my fried twinkie

September 16th, 2012
4:21 am

drbasic1……….Yes UGa is keeping the WHOLE O & D basic and Vanilla until you play So Carolina? No No No UGa is going to keep it Vanilla until they play Bama in the SC Championship Game then UGA will Show what they really have.

tony

September 16th, 2012
4:25 am

Our boys aren’t physically strong in the trenches – I notice this last season. I’ve seen Big John Jenkins get push back by Mizzou center and the DL doesn’t deliver a blow in such a manner that they defeats the block or gains position on the blocker in order to quickly penetrate the line of scrimmage. ALA and LSU are very good at this. Mr Richt need to re-evaluate his strength and conditioning and DL coach as well as the OL coach.

As of now, it appear to me that this team is getting by with pure talent. I’m not sure if this will be enough to win a national championship.

RunninWithTheDawgs

September 16th, 2012
5:47 am

I hope we get Rambo, Ogletree, and Jarvis Jones back in there before we play Tenn. Coach Richt and Co. are doing a great job with the freshmen, but you can’t expect your D to play up to speed with these guys sitting out. GO DAWGS !

Strange Murphy

September 16th, 2012
6:00 am

Franklin is an arsehat! Vandy just beat up on some high school team and are now world beaters. Hope the Dawgs put 70 on them.

1969 Graduate

September 16th, 2012
6:19 am

Some excellent comments so far.

Strength and conditioning have been a problem. I don’t know yet if it has improved enough. Depth is an obvious problem. The benchmark team (Alabama) doesn’t seem to have weaknesses of these sorts, and we’ve got to consider what it takes to reach that level. It really is not yet possible to know how good this Georgia team is, nor can we yet know how good the team can be if it continues to grow and improve week to week throughout this year.

Remember the best team we’ve had in a long time? By the end of that year we were likely the best team in the nation. Georgia and USC should have played for the National Championship according to many, including me. However, we certainly weren’t that caliber of team at this point in that season. We grew. We improved. This year’s team has a chance of following a similar pattern. I hope our coaching staff keeps on learning and teaching and doing what we the fans have every right to expect they should do, but haven’t often done.

Under The Bleachers gives us an interesting analysis of the SEC teams. I agree to a degree, but I’m not sure we can tell yet who the best teams are. The competition is still shaking out. Florida, however, is always a team we have to beat. Florida is always a team which causes us fits. How many times have we beat them in recent years? What’s our string of great, impressive victories against them? I really don’t think anyone who knows would be taking Florida or any other SEC team for granted. We are seeing which teams are lining up for the competition for worst teams in the SEC, but even some of them can have a very good day. It’s too easy for a team like Kentucky to decide they have had a horrible season, but it can be salvaged by beating a top ten team towards season’s end.

What I like best about our team and coaches right now is the fact that they are showing signs of understanding how much they have to improve, rather than celebrating how cool they are.

Go, University of Georgia Bulldogs!

ATinSAV

September 16th, 2012
7:49 am

Defense is really shaky. I understand about breakdowns in the secondary with the suspensions, but not getting gashed rushing up the middle by the likes of Buffalo (199yds) and FAU (135 yds). i don’t see LSU, Bama, SC, or Fl giving up these kinds of numbers. D-Line needs to check iteself before the real competition starts, or they are going to get pushed around up and down the field.

Cornelius Washington's Neck Brace

September 16th, 2012
7:55 am

Last night showed why Malcolm Mitchell needs to move back to offense full time.

Joey

September 16th, 2012
8:03 am

So much about what has been written on here by fellow Dawg fans regarding UF being “down.”

They looked fast on offense, and nasty on defense.

Lots of football between now and then, but maybe we both roll into Jax in fine form.

Congrats, Tampa Gator.

Go Dawgs!

Fred

September 16th, 2012
8:14 am

looks like UGA will again assume the role as the Gators’ Beeeeotch in November…

Buzz 2011

September 16th, 2012
8:17 am

@Under The Bleachers….Are you a pro EC scout,,, You like runiing?
Check out our team in Atlanta on North Avenue. You will also like
our defense………

Paddy

September 16th, 2012
8:24 am

Joey…….you are correct. UF looked like a team that shold be respected. It is the SEC and even a below avg team like UT put up a stout game today.

Congrats to UK. That scrappy bunch stayed on the field w/ a good effort against a superior WKY team. With that kind of effort UK should win a few games by years end.

graphite

September 16th, 2012
8:37 am

@Kingdaddy…..We have a mess of Razorback cured ham and smoked sausage.If you need some for breakfast,if you get up in time,give me a shout!!……RollOn…

Motocross Survivor

September 16th, 2012
8:38 am

I’m not up as much as I could be on college football, but how is it that GA gets to play so many puffball teams now? Sounds like they pay for sure and guaranteed wins now. So, they are 3-0 after playing NOBODY so far.

John W Holmes

September 16th, 2012
8:40 am

This team will lose 4 games. Sloppy team that is poorly coached. They are inches from being better.

Joey

September 16th, 2012
8:46 am

I’m hapy with the win, and I know the polls take care of themselves as long as you win. That being said, as long as we keep allowing 20+ points to cupcakes, we will not gain. I know 7 belong to Lemay’s pick-6, but it doesn’t look good.

Hopefully the lackluster halfs by the D will end next Saturday – if not, surely when Rombo and ‘Tree get back vs UT.

Murray proved what he can do when he has the time – now the O-line has to give him time vs SEC opponents. I hope they can.

Tampa Gator

September 16th, 2012
8:47 am

@Joey……

I guess you read my post of your summer comment about the Gators……you made a classy post response. The Gators are still a work in progress, but they obviously have a lot of talent and will progressively get better as the year moves forward. It could get ugly for Kentucky in THE SWAMP, and LSU better come to Gainesville firing on all four very talented cylinders or a big upset is possible. This is not your “John Brantley” Florida Gators, but not your Tim Tebow Gators either….not yet.

Hair E Dawg

September 16th, 2012
8:50 am

I’m not impressed. Our Defense looked soft and like they were playing vanilla – but I’m not so sure it was “vanilla”. These kids may be believing everything they’ve read. Sometimes I think Nick Saban and Alabama are lucky their boys can’t read.

This was a pay for play team. Next week we have someone who really, REALLY, wants to beat us.

Wake up!

TY

September 16th, 2012
8:51 am

Where was Richard Samuel? Was he injured?

Tampa Gator

September 16th, 2012
8:53 am

……..and all of you that have been ripping Aaron Murray………..question: still want Lemay to replace him as the starting QB? Yeah boy! Murray is good…..very good.