Talk about a buzz kill.
Hours after tallying four tackles and two sacks in Georgia's 24-10 whipping of Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon, Bulldogs junior outside linebacker Cornelius Washington was arrested Sunday morning in Commerce. The 6-foot-4, 269-pounder was charged with driving under the influence and for speeding -- he was traveling 92 miles per hour in a 55 zone.
Georgia coach Mark Richt announced Sunday afternoon that Washington would miss this week's game at Tennessee (7 p.m. on ESPN2) and next week's game at Vanderbilt.
"It's a setback, but I don't know if it will deter us from playing hard and playing well," Richt said. "He feels awful, and he knows that he let his team down, his coaches down, his family down and the Bulldog Nation in general. He's going to take his punishment like a man and then finish strong for us."
Until Robinson's arrest, the weekend had gone incredibly well for Georgia. The Bulldogs improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEC, pulling into a three-way tie with South Carolina and Florida in the East Division race. The Gamecocks and Gators entered Saturday undefeated, but South Carolina lost 13-9 to visiting Auburn and Florida lost 38-10 to visiting Alabama.
Vanderbilt and Tennessee also have one league loss, with the Commodores 1-1 and the Vols 0-1.
"As strong as LSU and Alabama look, it looks like whoever wins that game is likely the winner of the West over there," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. "On our side, it will probably be a two-loss winner, or maybe a three-loss like last year. Or maybe Georgia runs the table. Or Tennessee. Who knows?"
Said Richt: "There is a good chance everybody is going to get knocked around. We'll see who ends up on top in the end, but we're closer than we were a week ago."
South Carolina and Florida are the only East teams controlling their destinies, but Georgia has a scheduling advantage in that the Bulldogs don't have to face LSU, Alabama or Arkansas from the West. The Gamecocks play at Arkansas early next month, while the Gators are in between games against Alabama and LSU.
Tennessee has to play LSU, Alabama and Arkansas.
Georgia also has an edge over South Carolina and Florida in quarterback play, even after Aaron Murray was intercepted three times against Mississippi State. Florida quarterback John Brantley injured his right knee or ankle late in the first half against Alabama and may be out a while, while South Carolina's Stephen Garcia remains a nightmare, leading all Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks with nine interceptions.
South Carolina ran one play in Auburn territory -- Marcus Lattimore's 15-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter -- until the final 30 seconds of the game.
"We were winning until last night, and we were just actually living through a lot of errors that Stephen would make during games," Spurrier said. "We kept hoping and believing that those errors would go away, but they don't seem to go away. So we've got to figure out what we're going to do."
Richt will be busy this week trying to figure out how to slow the league's most effective quarterback. Tennessee's Tyler Bray leads the league and ranks seventh nationally in efficiency, having thrown for 1,328 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions through four games.
In Saturday's 41-10 bludgeoning of Buffalo, Bray threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns, with former Georgia commitment Da'Rick Rogers hauling in seven receptions for 180 yards and two scores.
"They are very good at what they do," Richt said. "Tyler is very accurate. It will definitely be a great challenge for us."