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AP photo by John Bazemore / Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) scores a touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Stetson Bennett as Georgia Tech defensive back Juanyeh Thomas, right, is unable to stop him during the second quarter of Saturday's matchup of nonconference rivals in Atlanta. McConkey, a former North Murray High School standout, had two catches for 19 yards as the Bulldogs won 45-0.

ATLANTA — Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett helped the top-ranked Bulldogs finish their regular season perfect, then shifted his attention to Alabama.

Bennett passed for 255 yards and four touchdowns, including two to tight end Brock Bowers, as Georgia overwhelmed nonconference rival Georgia Tech 45-0 on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

"It's a big accomplishment," Bennett said of the team's 12-0 record. "Now the real fun starts."

Georgia gained momentum for next weekend's much-anticipated Southeastern Conference championship game against No. 3 Alabama, which will bring the Bulldogs back to Atlanta for the matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

In the rivalry known as Clean Old-Fashioned Hate, the Bulldogs played a clean game with no turnovers or penalties against the Atlantic Coast Conference's Yellow Jackets (3-9). It is the first undefeated regular season for the Bulldogs since 1982, when they capped a streak of three consecutive SEC championships with tailback Herschel Walker.

Georgia, No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings, now can focus on its drive for SEC and national championships.

"What we have done in the regular season is all good, but if we don't finish it the right way, none of this matters," said linebacker Nakobe Dean, who led the defense with six tackles and two quarterback hurries.

Tech finished with three wins for the third consecutive season under coach Geoff Collins, who acknowledged this past week he will need to show improvement next year. The Jackets closed the season with six consecutive defeats after a 3-3 start, and the skid included losses to No. 6 Notre Dame and Georgia by a combined margin of 100-0 the past two weeks, putting more heat on Collins.

"The last two games were a step back," Collins said. "Let's get that out of the way. Against two of the top six teams in college football. But every other game, the way we've matured and closed the gap, that's real."

Tech has not closed the gap on Georgia. The battle for Peach State bragging rights was a mismatch.

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Georgia at Georgia Tech football on Nov. 27, 2021

Georgia, which began the day leading the nation with its averages of 7.5 points and 236 yards allowed, posted its third shutout of the season and gave up only 171 yards.

"I've coached a lot of seasons in the SEC," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "Three shutouts is hard to come by."

Bowers had a 77-yard touchdown catch, and Kenny McIntosh added a 59-yard scoring run. Bowers, a freshman, also scored on a 9-yard catch and has 10 touchdown receptions, a single-season program record for tight ends.

Relying on its top-ranked defense and Bennett's accurate passing, Georgia was dominant in its fourth consecutive win in the state rivalry. The Bulldogs gave up only 67 yards in the first half.

Jordan Yates made his third consecutive start, and sixth overall, at quarterback for Tech. Yates passed for only 73 yards, including a 40-yard completion to tight end Dylan Leonard in the third quarter. That drive ended with a fourth-down incompletion from the Georgia 33.

Georgia's defense delivered another fourth-down stop early in the fourth quarter. Yates fielded a low shotgun snap and was sacked by Robert Beal for a loss of 10 yards near midfield.

Bennett was 14-of-20 passing, including touchdowns of 25 yards to Jermaine Burton and 11 yards to former North Murray High School standout Ladd McConkey. Daijun Edwards had a 3-yard scoring run in the fourth with quarterback JT Daniels and other backups on the field.

After taking a 24-0 lead on Bowers' long touchdown catch, Georgia held a dominant 261-22 advantage in total yards. The Bulldogs finished with 463 yards, and their advantage in depth also was imposing as Bennett's first nine completions were to as many receivers.

The Jackets' offense was one-dimensional most of the game. Quarterback Jeff Sims, who opened the season as the starter but was in a walking boot two weeks ago against Boston College, participated in pregame warmups but did not play as Collins said Sims was available only in an emergency. Despite flashes of potential by Jordan Mason and Dontae Smith, who each ran for 59 yards, Yates couldn't establish a passing game.

Georgia senior left tackle Jamaree Salyer missed his third consecutive start with a foot injury but served as a game captain even though he was not in uniform. The Bulldogs lost wide receiver and punt returner Kearis Jackson to a rib injury in the first quarter. Wide receiver George Pickens, returning from a knee injury, had a 5-yard catch for his first reception of the season.

Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who led the nation in all-purpose yards, was limited to 1 yard on two carries before an undisclosed injury prevented the former Dalton High School standout from returning in the second half.

Georgia has won 10 of the past 12 series meetings. For the first time since 1924, the teams did not play last season as SEC schools played an all-league schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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