ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw five second-quarter touchdown passes, former walk-on receiver Brandon Harton ran for 98 yards and No. 18 Georgia won its seventh straight game by cruising past New Mexico State 63-16 on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (7-2) turned to Harton this week after Isaiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas were suspended one game for failing a drug test. Georgia was also without top reserve tailback Richard Samuel, who will miss the next month after undergoing ankle surgery.
But with Murray running the offense, Georgia had little reason for concern against New Mexico State (3-6).
Murray, who played only the first half, completed 18 of 23 passes for 238 yards, five TDs and no interceptions.
Coming off a 24-20 win over Florida, the Bulldogs used the game as a tuneup for next week’s home matchup with Southeastern Conference rival Auburn. After facing the Tigers next Saturday, Georgia will close the regular season by hosting Kentucky on Nov. 19 and visiting Georgia Tech on Nov. 26.
With wins against Auburn and Kentucky and one conference loss by South Carolina, Georgia would win the SEC East.
Harton had not taken a snap since the Bulldogs’ blowout win over Coastal Carolina on Sept. 17. He lost a fumble on his first carry, a 9-yard run to the Aggies’ 3, before redeeming himself with a 4-yard TD run to make it 14-3 early in the second.
Cornerback Branden Smith, who occasionally plays offense, started at tailback and made it 7-0 with a 56-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
Kenny Turner scored New Mexico State’s first touchdown on a 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter to make it 56-10. The Aggies (3-6) from the Western Athletic Conference have lost three straight.
New Mexico State quarterback Matt Christian was knocked out of the game with an undisclosed injury. Christian seemed to be injured as he was trying to tackle Baccari Rambo on the Georgia safety’s 51-yard interception return.