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Georgia builds on strong first half, dominates Vanderbilt

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Aaron Murray. (Source: University of Georgia athletic department) Aaron Murray. (Source: University of Georgia athletic department)

The Associated Press

ATHENS, GA - Aaron Murray completed his first 12 passes and No. 5 Georgia finally got off to a good start, blowing out Vanderbilt before halftime on the way to a 48-3 victory Saturday night.

Murray hooked up with Tavarres King and Marlon Brown on touchdown throws, breaking a tie with Eric Zeier for second place in school history.

The junior quarterback has 69 TDs, just three behind David Greene.

Murray also scored on a 1-yard sneak as the Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) raced to a 27-0 lead. He finished 18 of 24 for 250 yards.

Todd Gurley rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Keith Marshall also had a pair of scoring runs.

Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2) took its worst defeat since a 48-0 loss to Tennessee in 2003.

The Bulldogs had struggled a bit in the opening half of their first three games, trailing Missouri at the break and allowing a total of 30 points to Buffalo and Florida Atlantic.

No such concerns this time.

This one was over by halftime.

Georgia has scored more than 40 points in its first four games for the first time in school history. Murray and most of the other starters went to the bench by the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs even giving walk-on Parker Welch some time at quarterback

Jordan Rodgers started at quarterback for Vanderbilt after watching from the bench the previous week while transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels guided the Commodores to a 58-0 blowout of lower-division Presbyterian.

Rodgers might be wishing he had stayed on the bench. He was sacked three times by Georgia, and even when it looked as if he had scored a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter, it didn't count.

The officials reviewed the play and ruled that Rodgers lost control of the ball just before he got to the pylon, giving Georgia the ball on a touchback.

A year ago, Georgia barely hung on against the Commodores in Nashville, surviving two shots at the end zone after Vanderbilt blocked a punt in the closing seconds.

Afterward, the bad blood from a chippy game spilled over to the coaches, with Commodores head coach James Franklin getting into a shouting match on the field with Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

The officials lined the 50-yard line during pregame warmups, making sure the two teams stayed apart. There was no chance for any carry-over once the game started. Georgia was in control all the way, ending a streak of close SEC losses for the Commodores. Their past five conference defeats were by a total of 23 points.

The Bulldogs scored on their opening possession, starting in Vanderbilt territory after Malcolm Mitchell's 22-yard punt return. Murray went to King on a 16-yard completion and Gurley finished the drive with a 4-yard TD.

Georgia had more work to do on its next possession, starting at its own 12, but the Bulldogs also caught a big break when Caleb Azubike was called for a personal foul after taking out the legs of punter Collin Barber. It appeared Azubike barely touched Barber after being blocked into the punter by a Georgia player, but the referee didn't see it that way.

Two plays later, Marshall found a huge hole right up the middle and was gone on a 52-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs botched the extra point, settling for a 13-0 lead.

It didn't matter. Georgia covered 57 yards in seven plays on its next possession for another TD, keeping the drive going with Murray's 7-yard pass to Michael Bennett on third-and-6. On the next play, Murray went to King for a 22-yard touchdown.

Vandy stalled again offensively, and Georgia went right down the field again. Murray completed a 22-yard pass to Brown and Ken Malcome broke off a 30-yard run down the sideline right in front of the Georgia bench. Murray finished it off by ducking his head and powering into the end zone on the sneak.

Finally, the Commodores put something together offensively. But even that was a bit of a letdown, the eight-play, 64-yard drive stalling out deep in Georgia territory. Vanderbilt settled for Carey Spears' 29-yard field goal.

Brown hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, finishing with five catches for 114 yards.

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