Georgia Clubs Ole Miss 32-14 - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Georgia Clubs Ole Miss 32-14

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Georgia ditched the running back-by-committee and just gave the ball to Musa Smith. The freshman ran with his chance, becoming the first Georgia runner this season to gain more than 100 yards as the No. 22 Bulldogs rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Mississippi 32-14 on Saturday night. Smith carried 21 times for 144 yards, scoring Georgia's first touchdown and setting up the second before a sore shoulder sent him to bench in the third quarter. By then, he already had six more carries than any Bulldogs back this year and eclipsed the previous season high by 45 yards. ``I wasn't used to that,'' Smith said, who expects to be ready for the next week's finale against No. 20 Georgia Tech. ``All year long, we've been rotating. When I got it four or five times in a row, I was winded. But it feels good.'' The mistake-filled game included each team returning an interception for a touchdown, not to mention a blocked extra point and a bad snap on a punt that resulted in a safety. To make matters worse, it was a miserable night. The temperature was in the upper 30s, a steady rain fell throughout the evening and 86,000-seat Sanford Stadium was less than half-filled by the second half. But Smith made it a winning night for the Bulldogs (7-3, 5-3), who snapped a two-game losing streak and likely ensured a bowl bid no matter what happens against their state rival. Ole Miss (6-4, 3-4) has lost two in a row, its hopes for a fourth straight postseason invitation still up in the air. The Rebels finish the regular season Thursday against No. 13 Mississippi State. Smith, a freshman, scored Georgia's first touchdown on a 9-yard run with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, cutting Ole Miss' lead to 14-7 at the break. Then, on the Bulldogs' first offensive play of the second half, Smith broke loose on a 40-yard run to the Ole Miss 11. ``He ran extremely hard and physical,'' said coach Jim Donnan, who has rotated the carries among four backs most of the season. ``We wanted to get him lathered up if we could, and he definitely responded to it.'' After Smith's long run and a penalty, Cory Phillips connected with Damien Gary on a 16-yard touchdown pass. Georgia still trailed when Billy Bennett botched the extra point. But not for long. A thoroughly miserable series began for Ole Miss when kick returner Deuce McAllister collided with a teammate and went down at the 15. Three penalties later, with the Rebels facing fourth-and-16 at the 9, A.J. Kiamie snapped the ball over punter Reagan King's head, giving Georgia a go-ahead safety midway through the third quarter. From there, the Bulldogs quickly turned a close game into a rout. Verron Haynes scored on a 1-yard run with just over a minute left in the third quarter and Tim Wansley picked off a pass from Romaro Miller, returning it 35 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth period for a 29-14 lead. Bennett completed the scoring with a 49-yard field goal, a career-best for the freshman. Georgia, which ranked 74th nationally with 131.2 yards per game on the ground, finished with a season-high 244 yards on 45 carries. After Smith went out, Brett Millican ran for 60 yards and Jasper Sanks added 40. Phillips, starting his second straight game in place of injured Quincy Carter, was 9-of-17 for 107 yards as Donnan relied mostly on his ground game. ``Musa ran great,'' Phillips said. ``He's a great runner and a big guy.'' Georgia got off to a terrible start. Ole Miss seized the momentum right away by recovering an onside kick to begin the game. The Rebels didn't score on that possession, but Syniker Taylor put them ahead by bringing back an interception 65 yards for a score less than seven minutes into the opening quarter. Ole Miss made it 14-0 on Miller's 4-yard touchdown pass to Charles Stackhouse halfway through the second period. But the Rebels managed only 99 yards in the second half. ``We are kind of frustrated right now,'' running back Joe Gunn said. ``We just can't seem to win the ones that count.'' Miller was just 11-of-25 for 87 yards and redshirt freshman Eli Manning, son of Archie and younger brother of Peyton, finished up. ``It was tough to get into the game after being on the sidelines in these conditions,'' said Manning, who was 5-of-12 for 88 yards with one interception. ``But every time I get into the game, I get more confidence.'' McAllister, the Rebels' leading runner this season, carried only six times for 16 yards. He was away from the team most of the week after the death of his older brother. The Citrus, Peach, Music City and galleryfurniture.com bowls were represented at the game.
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