ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia won't get a chance to play for the Southeastern Conference championship. At least the Bulldogs still have their state title.
Matthew Stafford ran for one touchdown and threw for another, Thomas Brown rushed for 130 yards, and Number 6 Georgia seemed to catch every break in stretching its winning streak to seven in a row over Georgia Tech with a 31-17 victory today.
Late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs (10-2) learned their hopes of winning the SEC East ended when Tennessee defeated Kentucky 52-50 in a four-overtime thriller. Both Georgia and the Vols have 6-2 records in the conference, but Tennessee won the tiebreaker with its 35-14 victory over the Bulldogs in early October.
Georgia Tech (7-5) hasn't beaten Georgia since 2000, and there's plenty of speculation that this latest loss could cost coach Chan Gailey his job. He dropped to 0-6 against the Yellow Jackets' biggest rival, and athletic director Dan Radakovich has said he'll evaluate the program after the season.
Stafford caught Georgia Tech off guard by running for a 31-yard touchdown in the second quarter, one of four lead changes in the first half. The last of those came with 1:02 left in the second quarter, when Stafford hooked up with Mohamed Massaquoi on a 9-yard touchdown that sent the Bulldogs to the locker room up 16-14.
There would be no more lead changes.
Brannan Southerland powered over from the 3 after Stafford threw 55 yards to Sean Bailey. Brown finished off the Yellow Jackets with a 32-yard run down the right sideline with just over 11 minutes left. A 2-point conversion provided the final margin, the first time in four years the game wasn't decided in the closing minutes.
Tashard Choice led the Yellow Jackets with 134 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown.
Taylor Bennett threw a 17-yard TD pass to Colin Peek in an otherwise forgettable performance.