ATHENS – Predictably, the final result was lopsided. Still, the Georgia football team managed to make its 56-20 rout of Florida Atlantic a bit more interesting – for reasons good and bad.
The Bulldogs offense set records on Saturday night, encountering little resistance from a team that was clearly overmatched.
The defense, however, had another uneven game, especially in the first half. The absence of its best player, linebacker Jarvis Jones, as well as two suspended starters, was a big part of that. But it was still surprising that Florida Atlantic – which managed just seven points last week against an FCS team – got 14 in the first half against Georgia.
The defense rebounded in the second half, just as it did the first two games of this season. That’s also when the offense put several exclamation points on its night.
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Georgia set a school record for total yards, going over the 700-yard mark for the first time in school history. The previous school record was 667 yards, set in a 1993 win over Southern Miss.
The Bulldogs also surpassed the 40-point mark for the third straight game to start the season.That’s the first time in program history that’s happened.
Quarterback Aaron Murray passed for a career-high 342 yards, and along the way rushed for two touchdowns and passed for two more.
Tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each rushed for more than 100 yards. It was the first time since 2004 that two Georgia freshmen did so in the same game. (Back then it was Danny Ware and Thomas Brown.)
The defense, having clamped down after the rough first half, even got in the act: Amarlo Herrera’s 32-yard interception return basically put a seal on the game, making it 49-14 late in the third quarter. It was all enough to overcome the unexpectedly tough start.
Florida Atlantic (1-2) converted eight times on third down in the first half. That helped the Owls keep it close, and it was tied up at 14 with 12:19 left in the first half. Two other times FAU drove into Georgia territory.
So the Bulldogs just kept riding their offense, which started strong – Rantavious Wooten went 24 yards on an end-around on the first offensive play – and didn’t have many hiccups.
Murray spread the passes around, with Michael Bennett (four catches, 110 yards, 1 TD) and tight end Arthur Lynch (three catches, 73 yards, 1 TD) getting the brunt of it.
Georgia is now off to its first 3-0 start since 2008. It will face Vanderbilt (1-2) next week in a rematch of last year’s game, which ended with the famous shouting match between Vandy head coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.