ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Bulldogs collected a trophy at midfield for another win over their state rival, then got some encouragement from the governor in their quest for a bigger reward.
Aaron Murray threw two touchdown passes, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each ran for a pair of TDs, and third-ranked Georgia stayed right in the thick of the national championship race with a 42-10 rout of Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Gov. Nathan Deal presented the “Governor’s Cup” to the Bulldogs (11-1) after they beat the Yellow Jackets for the 11th time in 12 years. He congratulated both teams on a “great game” (a bit of a stretch, to say the least) before turning toward the jubilant Georgia players.
“Keep up the good work,” Deal said. “We’re looking for a national championship.”
Georgia is two wins away.
The Bulldogs will face No. 2 Alabama for the Southeastern Conference championship in Atlanta next Saturday. The winner of that contest will likely advance to play in the BCS title game on Jan. 7.
“All that matters is this game,” Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson said, looking ahead to facing the defending national champion Crimson Tide.
“This is everything. This is what you play for.”
Georgia Tech (6-6) didn’t put up much of a fight. This one was a laugher right from the start as the home team scored just over a minute into the game, built a 28-3 halftime lead and was up 42-3 before the Yellow Jackets scored a meaningless TD in the fourth quarter.
“It was a pretty good thumping,” Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson said.
“We could not slow them down at all, which has been a recurring theme the last few times we’ve played them, and we couldn’t finish drives offensively.”
Murray completed 14 of 17 for 215 yards, becoming the first quarterback in SEC history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in three straight seasons.
Gurley finished with 97 yards on 12 carries and now has 14 touchdowns on the season, one shy of Herschel Walker’s school freshman record set in 1980.
Marshall, also a freshman, piled up 66 yards on just seven carries.
The Bulldogs certainly didn’t look like a team that was looking ahead to Alabama.
“You don’t do that when you’re playing Georgia Tech,” Coach Mark Richt said.
“This game means a lot for us. Our coaches prepared hard, they were diligent, and the players took to the coaching.
“I thought we played a superb game. I’m so proud of everybody. I could not have asked for a better today.”
For good measure, the Bulldogs ran their season total to 456 points, breaking the school scoring mark set by the 2002 SEC championship team.
Georgia Tech, amazingly enough, still has a chance to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title next weekend and earn a BCS bowl bid.
The Yellow Jackets clinched a spot in the championship game against No. 10 Florida State after Miami pulled out from postseason consideration, hoping to lessen the blow from a pending NCAA investigation.