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Georgia close to clinchingEast title

ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw four touchdowns to surpass Matthew Stafford's school record and No. 14 Georgia, with a dominating first half, crushed No. 24 Auburn 45-7 on Saturday.

The Bulldogs can clinch the SEC East and a spot in the title game by beating Kentucky at home next week.

"We came out with an edge, with a chip on our shoulder," said safety Bacarri Rambo, who returned an interception for a touchdown. "Hopefully, we made a statement with this game."

They'll get no argument from the defending national champions. The Bulldogs won their eighth in a row with their biggest margin of victory in the series since 41-0 in 1946.

"We feel great," said Murray, the graduate of Tampa's Plant High. "We control our own destiny."

The Bulldogs also will look to snuff out any talk about Mark Richt's coaching future. He was under fire after Georgia went 6-7 a year ago, its first losing season since 1996. The criticism intensified when the Bulldogs opened this season with losses to Boise State and South Carolina.

"Even though we lost those first two games," Rambo said, "we knew we still had a chance."

Murray threw all of his touchdowns during the first half, giving him 27 for the season and nine over the past two weeks. He broke the school mark of 25 set by Stafford in 2008, before he was picked No. 1 overall in the draft.

Georgia scored on four of its first five possessions, the only glitch was the first of two fumbles by freshman Isaiah Crowell. Auburn fumbled right back on the next play.

The Tigers have gone through major rebuilding pains after winning the national title with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton at quarterback. They have lost four SEC road games by a combined 111 points, and this was the ugliest performance yet. Auburn turned it over three times and was outgained 528-195.

"This was a complete team loss," quarterback Clint Moseley said. "I can't pinpoint one thing or even two things. There's too many things. It was just bad."

Fortunately for Georgia, the Tigers did win one game away from Jordan-Hare Stadium, 16-13 over South Carolina on Oct. 1. That could turn out to be the difference in the East.

No. 8 Arkansas 49, Tenn. 7: Dennis Johnson had 97 yards rushing, including touchdowns of 71 and 15 yards, and 43 receiving for the host Razorbacks. Arkansas has won seven in a row against SEC East teams. Joe Adams' 60-yard punt return put Arkansas up 14-0 in the second quarter. He fielded the punt and initially made a move to his right. When the Vols collapsed on Adams, he backed up and turned to the left. When that closed down, Adams turned back to the right — with the Volunteers bouncing off and sliding over him — and streaked down the sideline.

Vandy 38, Kentucky 8: Zac Stacy ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns for the host Commodores. The margin of victory was their largest in an SEC game since 49-19 over Mississippi State in 1971. Vanderbilt outgained Kentucky 278-41 in taking a 24-0 halftime lead and 410-211 overall. "We played lights out with a lot of guys making plays," Commodores senior defensive end Tim Fugger said. "I'm proud of our guys."

14 Georgia 45

24 Auburn 7

Georgia close to clinchingEast title 11/12/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 18, 2011 9:27pm]
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