Dawgs defeat Georgia Tech in Athens for the first time since 2012
Jake Fromm threw four touchdown passes, D'Andre Swift ran for 105 yards and No. 5 Georgia romped into the Southeastern Conference championship game with a 45-21 rout of Georgia Tech on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (11-1, No. 5 CFP) couldn't afford a slip-up, not with top-ranked Alabama looming next week in Atlanta.
This game was over by halftime.
Georgia went to the locker room with a 38-7 lead - which, in an interesting twist, was the score of last year's dominating victory over the Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs held a 343-66 edge in total yards, piling up 18 first downs to only four by Georgia Tech (7-5).
Fromm threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Riley Ridley, a 12-yarder to Jeremiah Holloman and a 44-yarder to Mercole Hardman. Swift chipped in with a 1-yard scoring run, Elijah Holyfield had an 8-yard TD and Rodrigo Blankenship completed the onslaught with a 25-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
Fromm wasn't done yet. On Georgia's first series of the second half, he hooked up with Ridley again on a 4-yard scoring pass that prompted many in the crowd of more than 92,000 to head for the exits on a cold, damp day between the hedges.
Georgia came into the game determined to avoid a repeat of Georgia Tech's last two visits to Sanford Stadium. The Yellow Jackets pulled off a pair of upsets, winning 30-24 in overtime back in 2014 and 28-27 two years ago on a touchdown in the final minute, each time shredding the famed hedges surrounding the field during the celebration.
The hedges looked just fine after Saturday's rout.
Georgia Tech came into the game with a four-game winning streak, having rebounded from a 1-3 start to clinch a winning season and a bowl trip. But the Bulldogs simply had too much talent and too much on the line to stumble once again against their state rival.
Georgia will face Alabama next weekend for the SEC title and an expected spot in the College Football Playoff.
Juanyeh Thomas provided Georgia Tech's only points of the first half on a 100-yard kickoff return. The triple-option offense, which came into the game leading the nation in rushing yards, finally reached the end zone on Qua Searcy's 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
Georgia Tech finished with 128 yards rushing - not even close to its 354-yard season average.
Georgia Tech: The growing talent gap between the schools was on display for the second year in a row. The Yellow Jackets have lost those games by a combined margin of 83-28, which is simply unacceptable for coach Paul Johnson and athletic director Todd Stansbury.
Georgia: While the Bulldogs have held the upper hand in this rivalry for decades, it's clear coach Kirby Smart has turned this series into a particularly one-sided affair. His recruiting edge has grown to mammoth proportions, which makes it hard to see how Georgia Tech can turn things around in the immediate future.
Georgia Tech: A bowl game, likely either the Independence or the Military.
Georgia: A rematch against the Crimson Tide, which has been on the radar since the teams met in last year's national championship game. Alabama pulled out a memorable 26-23 victory in overtime, winning the game on a 41-yard touchdown pass when facing second-and-26.