STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- D.J. Shockley allowed himself just a
few hours to enjoy best game of his career.
Shockley passed for a career-high 312 yards and set two other
personal bests in his first career road start on Saturday night,
leading No. 7 Georgia past Mississippi State 23-10.
It didn't take long for his focus to shift to a game two weeks
away against No. 10 Tennessee.
"You celebrate the win until we touch down in Atlanta. We get
back, and it's over with," Shockley said. "Even though we've got
an off week, our minds are going to be on Tennessee. The winner of
that game goes toward (the SEC championship), so we've got to make
sure we focus on them."
Georgia (2-0 Southeastern Conference) is 4-0 for the third time
in coach Mark Richt's five seasons, and the fifth-year senior
quarterback is a big reason why.
Shockley, who's finally enjoying a chance to start after
spending four years as David Greene's backup, also set career highs
with 20 completions and 33 attempts despite gusty,
hurricane-related winds and occasional showers.
The soggy conditions didn't seem to bother Shockley, who
surpassed his previous bests of 289 yards passing and 16
completions he set four weeks earlier in a win against Boise State.
"If you will look it at as a first-year starter, the guy's
doing great," Richt said. "This is his first start in a hostile
environment, and he played pretty darned good."
After winning his first three starts Between the Hedges, the
SEC's most efficient passer was sharp in his first start on the
road: The league's most productive offense outgained Mississippi
"He's always ready to play," receiver Mohamed Massaquoi said.
"He's our leader. We follow him. We're fortunate to have a guy
like that doing things."
Shockley's first touchdown pass was his prettiest, and it came
on the Bulldogs' opening series. He slipped from the grasp of
Mississippi State's Deljuan Robinson, rolled right and hit a
wide-open Danny Ware from 28 yards out to give Georgia the lead for
Shockley added a 10-yard TD in the second quarter to Leonard
Pope, who caught it at about the 4 and dragged Mississippi State's
DeMario Bobo across the goal line.
"He threw the ball better than I thought he would,"
Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom said. "Their tight ends
and receivers didn't miss balls."
Shockley's 33-yard pass to Pope on fourth-and-5 set up a 23-yard
field goal by Brandon Coutu, the SEC's leading scorer who entered
with 31 points.
Coutu finished with three field goals, adding kicks of 27 and 23
yards for Georgia, which is already thinking about the matchup with
"That one's still a big game," Massaquoi said.
This one could have been much more lopsided: Coutu missed field
goals of 41 and 53 yards and Georgia lost a fumble inside the
Mississippi State 10.
Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2) was looking for its second huge
upset of a ranked SEC East team in two seasons under Croom.
The Bulldogs -- who also play No. 3 LSU and at No. 5 Florida in
the next two weeks -- shocked then-No. 20 Florida last year, and
hoped they could catch Georgia looking ahead its game against the
"That was one of the biggest things that coach Richt really
emphasized to us over the whole week -- this is a good team that can
win games and upset people," Shockley said.
Keith Andrews had Mississippi State believing when he capped the
opening drive with a 34-yard field goal. But after that, Georgia
made all the plays when they counted.
A tough, focused Georgia defense held Mississippi State to 77
total yards in the first half and never allowed the Bulldogs to get
anything going until the outcome was all but decided.
Omarr Conner had a late 4-yard touchdown pass to Eric Butler and
finished 19-of-32 for 205 yards for Mississippi State, while
leading rusher Jerious Norwood finished with 43 yards and had
minus-6 yards in the second half.
"We need to get in a rhythm," Croom said. "It's hard to throw
all the time."