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September 24, 2005STARKVILLE, Miss. -- D.J. Shockley and No. 7 Georgia finally took their show on the road. They seemed to make themselves right at home.
Shockley passed for a career-high 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Bulldogs posted a 23-10 victory over Southeastern Conference rival Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 SEC East) outscored their opponents by a combined 109-35 on a season-opening three-game homestand. The visit to Starkville was the first of three consecutive road contests and Shockley and a stingy Georgia defense were too much for Mississippi State.
"I am glad we won. It is always good to win an SEC game," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We made it more interesting than we should have tonight but now we are 4-0 going into an open weekend."
Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2 West) took the opening kickoff and drove to the Georgia 17 before settling for a 34-yard field goal by Keith Andrews. That would be all the offense Mississippi State would be able to generate until midway through the fourth quarter.
Mississippi State managed 77 yards on 30 plays in the first half. The Bulldogs picked up 58 yards on the opening drive but were forced to punt on their next five possessions, including four three-and-outs.
"We did a good job of shutting down (their) offense almost completely," Richt said. "We did a good job of restricting their running game."
Shockley found Danny Ware for a 28-yard TD pass and a 7-3 lead with nine minutes left in the first quarter. A 10-yard scoring strike to tight end Leonard Pope just over five minutes before the half extended Georgia's lead to 14-3.
Brandon Coutu converted on field goals from 28 and 23 yards in the third quarter and added a 23-yarder in the fourth quarter to give Georgia a comfortable 23-3 advantage.
Shockley completed 21-of-36 passes without an interception and was sacked twice. Ware added 48 yards on 10 carries.
"He threw the ball better than I thought he would," Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom said. "He is a very talented quarterback."
Omarr Conner threw a four-yard TD pass to Eric Butler with 7:35 to play to cap the scoring.
Conner, who was sacked four times, was 19-of-32 for 205 yards with an interception for Mississippi State, which managed just 31 yards rushing on 26 carries.
"They are a talented team and one of the top teams in the country," Croom said. "I am proud of our effort but we have a long way to go."