Georgia football: Bulldogs demolish Vanderbilt for their largest margin of SEC victory in eight years

semerson@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 22, 2012 

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia entered the day an unbeaten, but not unblemished, football team. It had passed its biggest test, but had still yet to put together a complete game worthy of its No. 5 national ranking.

That changed on Saturday. It changed in a big way.

Meanwhile, the Todd Grantham-James Franklin undercard was won by Grantham in a big way.

Georgia dominated Vanderbilt in almost comical fashion, running away with a 48-3 victory at Sanford Stadium. And it could have been worse if the Bulldogs had kept the pressure on in the fourth quarter.

It was the most points for Georgia in an SEC game since 2009 (a 52-41 win at Arkansas), and the largest margin of victory in an SEC game since 2004 (also 45 points, over Kentucky.)

Freshmen tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall continued being the story of Georgia’s season. They each ran for two touchdowns. Gurley rushed for 130 yards, including a 29-yard run in which he shed multiple tacklers. Marshall had a 52-yard run, taking advantage of a big hole provided by his line.

Quarterback Aaron Murray padded his stats and his Heisman Trophy campaign. The junior didn’t play a snap in the fourth quarter, but finished with 250 passing yards and two passing touchdowns, as well as a rushing touchdown.

Grantham’s Georgia defense returned to its “lights-out” status, minus a few lapses. Keeping starters in the game well into the fourth quarter, Grantham out-dueled Vanderbilt head coach and offensive coach James Franklin, with whom Grantham had his well-known postgame spat last year.

The Bulldog defense had struggled in the first half of their first three games, including against very inferior opponents, but held Vanderbilt to a field goal near halftime.

Georgia has now scored 40-plus points in its first four games for the first time in school history. This is the team’s best start since 2008. Gurley now has 406 yards, putting him on pace for a 1,200-yard regular season.

Next up, Georgia takes on Tennessee, which had trouble with Akron before pulling away on Saturday. The Vols (2-2) are coached by Derek Dooley, son of Vince Dooley, and Derek’s job status has become an open question in Knoxville.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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