NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Some of the Georgia Bulldogs think they
came out a little flat Saturday against the Southeastern
Conference's worst team. Coach Mark Richt has another theory.
"Personally, I just think Vanderbilt outplayed us," Richt
The Bulldogs (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) trailed 2-0 at halftime before
Michael Cooper, Tyson Browning and Ronnie Powell had second-half
touchdown runs in a 27-8 victory over Vanderbilt, which clinched
the Commodores' 21st consecutive losing season.
The defending Southeastern Conference champion Bulldogs (6-1,
4-1) were coming off an emotional rout of Tennessee in front of
more than 107,000 last week. On Saturday, only 27,823 fans were in
the stands, and thankfully, most of them wore Georgia red.
Georgia guard Bartley Miller said the Bulldogs know they
shouldn't pay attention to such stuff.
"We were lackadaisical," he said.
The Commodores (1-7, 0-4) sacked David Greene six times and
intercepted a pass in holding the SEC's third-best offense to 343
yards. Georgia had been averaging 408.5 yards and had just 64 yards
by halftime, including only 8 in the second quarter.
It was the first time the Bulldogs have been shut out through
halftime since 1999 against Auburn.
"It had to be the most embarrassing thing that we've had this
year," Browning said.
If Vandy had managed any offense, the Commodores might have had
their first victory over a Top 10 opponent since 1974. But the
nation's stingiest defense held Vandy to 218 yards to win its ninth
straight and 16th out of the last 18 in this series.
"I'm very grateful to have a victory," Richt said. "I'm very
impressed how Vanderbilt came out ready to play, especially
defensively. They did a great job on our offensive line. I felt
that was the difference in the first half. Their defensive line
just beat up our offensive line pretty good."
Georgia took its first lead at 3-2 midway through the third when
Billy Bennett's 40-yard field goal capped a 15-play drive. Cooper
added a 6-yard run for a 10-2 lead later in the third as Georgia
scored on three straight possessions.
Vanderbilt drove to the Georgia 23 in the opening minutes of the
fourth quarter, but backup quarterback Stephen Bright, with starter
Jay Cutler out for a series with a concussion, missed receiver
Brandon Smith with a pass on fourth-and-3.
Georgia answered with its longest drive of the game, a 77-yarder
that ended with Browning's 23-yard run with 9:48 left.
The Commodores pulled to 20-8 with a 25-yard TD toss from Cutler
to Matthew Tant with 1:06 left, and they tried an onside kick. But
Sean Jones picked it up on the hop and ran 39 yards to the 2,
setting up Powell's clinching TD.
Greene finished 19-of-30 for 208 yards.
Vandy coach Bobby Johnson said his Commodores played well, just
not good enough.
"When you play against the No. 4 team in the nation, you cannot
have dropped passes, fumbles or bad passes. We have to start taking
those chances and capitalizing when our opponents give them to
us," he said.
Georgia started slowly and was shut out in the first quarter for
the first time since Dec. 1, 2001, against Houston. The Bulldogs
held the ball for only four minutes, and it got worse in the
The Commodores downed two consecutive punts at the Bulldogs 4,
and Georgia went three-and-out on each possession. The Bulldogs
were sluggish on offense, even picking up a delay-of-game penalty
coming out of a time-out just before halftime.
If Vandy had managed any kind of offense, the Commodores' lead
could've been bigger. Their only points came on Ralph McKenzie's
sack of Greene in the end zone with 5:12 left in the second
Greene said it could have been worse.
"I was about to throw a slant, but that probably would have
been picked for seven points instead of two," he said.