Georgia’s extended tune-up before the Notre Dame game continued Saturday as the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs played host to nowhere-close-to-being-ranked Murray State in what shall always be remembered as Dooley Day at Sanford Stadium.

It certainly won’t be remembered for the lopsided football contest that was waged on this date. The Bulldogs defeated their FCS-division visitors 63-17. But few came to see that. Most of sellout crowd of 92,746 showed up to see the field named for Vince Dooley, the school’s longtime head coach and athletic director.

Georgia’s $550,000 date with the Racers – that was the guarantee to play the game – came a week after the Bulldogs’ season opener at Vanderbilt and a week before next Saturday’s game against Arkansas State. Fans will have to wait until the No. 8-ranked Fighting Irish come to town Sept. 21 to see the Bulldogs truly tested.

“I think we played every guy that we had,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said afterward. “I don't think we had a freshman that didn't play. All of them played. George (Pickens) made some plays, but we've seen that. ... Nobody really blew me away.”

Georgia did find itself briefly in a contest. Murray State did in the first nine minutes something Vanderbilt couldn’t do the whole game last week in Nashville – score a touchdown.

After the Racers notched their third first down of the first quarter, quarterback Preston Rice faded back and hit wide receiver DaQuan Green perfectly in stride on a deep post route. Nickel back Mark Webb not only was beaten on the play, but failed to make the tackle as well. After he fell to the ground, Green rambled the rest of the way untouched for a 60-yard touchdown with 6:36 remaining in the first quarter.

Coupled with Jake Fromm getting sacked and the Bulldogs having to punt on the previous possession, it was a bad look for Georgia to be tied at 7-7 heading to the second quarter.

“Joy,” Murray State coach Mitch Stewart said of his team's feeling heading into the second quarter. If you don’t have joy playing this game, you’re not going to be very successful. ... It wasn’t like there was a shock factor or anything like that.”

But things would turn around quickly for the Bulldogs. Thirty-six seconds into the second stanza, Brian Herrien plunged into the end zone from two yards out to cap a 78-yard drive. Thirty-three seconds after that, J.R. Reed scooped up a fumble by Murray’s State’s Jared McCray and returned it 14 yards for a score.

Most notably, it was Webb who made the hit that caused the fumble.

And with that, normalcy was restored. It wasn’t another five minutes before the Bulldogs scored again. This one was D’Andre Swift’s second of the day, a 10-yarder to make the score 28-7. That would end up being the second of five touchdowns that Georgia would score in a 13-minute span. The 35-point second quarter was the most points in a quarter since the Bulldogs scored 42 points against New Mexico State in 2011.

By halftime, Georgia led 42-7 and Fromm and Swift were done for the day. Fromm was 10-of-11 passing for 166 yards and a touchdown, and Swift averaged 11.2 yards on the way to 67 yards rushing.

“It was really just settling into the game,” Fromm said of the slow start. “We had the third-down sack and we had the turnover. I believe we would've scored there if not for the turnover. But that's just part of the game. Guys needed to settle in and add the attention to detail that we need for the offense to go out and execute.”

The Bulldogs finished with 561 yards and averaged 8.6 yards per play. The defense gave up just 284 yards and recorded six sacks, a fumble and an interception. But there were too many big plays allowed amid that. In addition to the 60-yard scored, Georgia gave up a 50-yard pass and a 35-yard run.

The Bulldogs did create some memorable moments within all that, most of them recorded by freshmen:

  • George Pickens, the ballyhooed 5-star receiver out of Hoover, Ala., showed what the fuss was all about with three highlight catches, each of them grander than the last. His first was an off-body snatch for a 10-yard gain early in the second quarter. His second was a diving leap on a deep ball down the Georgia sideline for a 43-yard gain. Two plays later, Pickens scored his first collegiate touchdown by hauling in Fromm's fade pass for an 15-yard TD in the southwest corner of the end zone. Pickens' catch made the score 35-7.
  • On Georgia's next possession, the Bulldogs were able to get Zamir White in on the act. The beloved redshirt freshman affectionately known as "Zeus" scored his first career touchdown. It came on a six-yard, tackling breaking run. He finished as Georgia's leading rusher with 72 yards on 8 carries.
  • And Dominick Blaylock, another 5-star signee, caught three passes, including his first career TD, a 25-yarder from Stetson Bennett.

There was a lot of going-through-motions after that. In all, 86 players got into the game for Georgia, according to official participation chart.

The Bulldogs had a few new looks. Sophomore Jamaree Salyer got his first career start at right tackle, starting for the injured Isaiah Wilson (ankle), whose streak of 14 straight starts was broken. Also getting their first starts were sophomore running back sophomore James Cook (TB), redshirt sophomore receiver Matt Landers and junior  outside linebackerJermaine Johnson.

Georgia continues to lag in the area of turnover ratio. Drawing even with the opponent for a second straight week, the Bulldogs head into Week 3 with a margin of zero. There were some lulls on offense as well.

“We had couple of slow series on offense, got beat on a twist and gave up a sack,” Smart said. “You come into these games wanting to score every play and you think you should score every drive and you should give up zero yards. But they've got good players, too.”

Just not as many as Georgia, and it's not even close. But there remains another full week of tune-up to work out the kinks.

Then Notre Dame.