For a team needing some positive vibes, Georgia could not have a picked a better opponent for Saturday's game at Sanford Stadium than FCS member Coastal Carolina.
The Bulldogs' 59-0 win was certainly evidence of that as Georgia posted its largest margin of victory under Richt and the most since 1994 when it crushed Northeast Louisiana 70-6.
"Any game, you come in just knowing that you've got to execute," wide receiver Tavarres King said. "That's what we did. We were working on all cylinders. That was pretty much the story."
Indeed it was.
The Bulldogs (1-2) accumulated 470 yards of total offense, including a four-touchdown effort by quarterback Aaron Murray, who threw for three scores and scored one on the ground before being pulled in favor of backup Hutson Mason after Georgia's first possession of the third quarter.
Mason made the most of his opportunity, scoring from 1-yard out before throwing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Orson Charles.
King (twice), Isaiah Crowell, Malcolm Mitchell and Carlton Thomas also scored touchdowns for the Bulldogs while kicker Blair Walsh established a career-best with a 56-yard field goal.
Crowell led the Bulldogs with 16 carries for 86 yards, followed by Thomas with 15 rushes for 71. Murray, meanwhile, was 18 of 26 for 188 yards, with Mason completing 6 of 9 for 68 yards.
Parker Welch even saw his first action and completed a 20-yard pass to Israel Troupe.
"I just felt good to win. We haven't won since last November (against Georgia Tech), so it's been a while," Murray said. "You've got to enjoy it and hopefully use this moment going forward in SEC play."
Defensively, the Bulldogs dominated play as well.
Georgia held the Chanticleers (2-1) to just 112 yards in posting the team's first shutout since Vanderbilt of last year.
"The goal today (for the defense) was to not let them get started,," head coach Mark Richt said. "We wanted to dominate the line of scrimmage and not give them much space. If we did that, we thought we could frustrate them and have this kind of day."
Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett was duly impressed.
"Georgia is the team we thought they were. After watching the film and studying, we had the ultimate respect for them," he said. "We had a lot of mistakes against a really good team. They are a might good team and we think the world of Coach Richt and we wish the team the best of luck."
The lopsided score also enabled the Bulldogs to empty their bench, with 50 backups seeing action, including freshmen Ray Drew, Watts Dantzler and David Andrews.
"We were able to sub freely and give a lot of guys an opportunity to play," Richt said. "Everybody covets scrimmage downs. That was a good opportunity for them. I think the young guys played well."
From an offensive perspective, the first half could not have gone any better as Georgia scored touchdowns on all five of its possessions to grab a 35-0 halftime lead.
It didn't take long to get started, either.
After plucking the Chanticleers on the game's first possession, it took the Bulldogs just 1:45 to find the end zone, courtesy of Crowell who scored from 27 yards on a handoff straight off left guard and left tackle for a 7-0 lead.
Murray was responsible for the rest.
One week after establishing a new career high for touchdown with four, the redshirt came within one of tying the mark in the first half against Coastal Carolina, sandwiching scoring tosses of 32 and 1 yards to King around a 7-yard throw to Mitchell.
For good measure, Murray scored on a 1-yard run to help account for the Bulldogs' 35-0 halftime lead.
Not that everything when Georgia's way.
In the second quarter, a 38-yard interception return by Bacarri Rambo was squandered when the Bulldog safety fumbled at the end of the run. Later, a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown by Branden Smith was called back due to an illegal block by Corey Moore, although Georgia was still able to convert the drive into points on Murray's 1-yard pass to King.
Defensively, Georgia held the Chanticleers to just 48 total yards the first half.
For Georgia, conference play resumes next week in Oxford, Miss. against Ole Miss which dropped a 30-7 decision to Vanderbilt afternoon.
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]