UGA losing streak reaches to three games

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Bad turned to worse -- much worse -- for Georgia's football team here Saturday night.

The Bulldogs lost their third consecutive game in an already ugly season, failing to score a touchdown until it was too late to matter and falling to Mississippi State 24-12.

The loss was Georgia's first in Starkville since 1951 and first anywhere to Mississippi State since 1974, and it gave the Bulldogs (1-3, 0-3 SEC) their first three-game losing streak since 1990 and first 0-3 SEC record since 1993.

"We're definitely in a position that I've never been in as a player or a coach," Georgia coach Mark Richt said afterward. "It's certainly not a good place to be, but we are where we are."

Said wide receiver Kris Durham: "Our season could turn into a catastrophe if we don't stay together and work hard. ... We need to go back and look at ourselves and see what we can do to get better."

For the third consecutive game, Georgia never led, falling behind 7-0 on Mississippi State's first possession and failing to catch up.

Mississippi State clinched the victory with a 10-play, 93-yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive that stretched its lead from 10-6 to 17-6 with 4:22 to play. Both teams tacked on irrelevant touchdowns thereafter, with Georgia's only touchdown of the long night coming with only 1:27 to play.

Much earlier, Georgia squandered one scoring chance when tailback Washaun Ealey fumbled on the Mississippi State goal line and had another potential touchdown negated by a penalty.

"You can't turn the ball over, and you can't have penalties," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said afterward. "That's coaching. It's our fault."

Dating to last season, Georgia has lost four consecutive SEC games -- to Kentucky late last season and to South Carolina, Arkansas and now Mississippi State this season. Before Saturday night, Georgia had won nine consecutive games over Mississippi State since 1974 and four consecutive in Starkville since 1951.

So this was yet another history-defying loss for Georgia, which hadn't lost at South Carolina in 10 years before losing there two weeks ago and hadn't lost to Arkansas in 17 years before doing so one week ago and hadn't lost to Kentucky in Sanford Stadium in 32 years before doing so last season.

"We'll play hard at times and then sometimes we will let up, and they scored every time we let up tonight," Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston said after the latest loss. "We just have to learn to play hard the whole 60 minutes."

Mississippi State took the lead by making quick work of the UGA defense on its first possession, moving 53 yards in four plays for a touchdown. A 13-yard run by Vick Ballard on a pitch from quarterback Chris Relf completed the drive.

Down 7-0, Georgia immediately threatened to catch up. But a 13-play, 80-yard, seven-minute drive ended with no points because of Ealey's fumble.

On third-and-nine from the Mississippi State 21, Ealey caught a pass from Aaron Murray and set his sights on the end zone. But he fumbled at the 1-yard line upon being hit by Mississippi State defensive back Nickoe Whitley, who recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

Georgia had another shot at a touchdown early in the second quarter, reaching the Mississippi State 15 before settling for a 25-yard Blair Walsh field goal that cut the deficit to 7-3 with 12:52 to play in the half.

Late in the second quarter, Georgia got inside the Mississippi State 20-yard line for the third time -- and again failed to score a touchdown.

Murray hit Durham from the Mississippi State 40 with a short pass that Durham took to the end zone, only to have the score negated by a holding penalty against Marlon Brown at the 9. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said later that Durham would not have reached the end zone without the hold. In any case, the penalty backed Georgia up to the 19, and three plays later the Dogs settled for a 35-yard Walsh field goal to make the score 7-6 at the half.

Mississippi State stretched its lead to 10-6 on a 44-yard Sean Brauchle field goal early in the fourth quarter.

The game was pretty much resolved midway through the final quarter. After a Georgia punt backed Mississippi State up to its own 7-yard line, the home team forcefully drove down the field, making a key fourth-and-one conversion from its 39 and capping the drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Relf to an open Arceto Clark.

That put Mississippi State up 17-6 with less than five minutes to play.

Both teams added touchdowns thereafter, Mississippi State's coming after it took over on downs at the Georgia 21 and Georgia's coming on a 40-yard Murray-to-Tavarres King pass with 1:27 to play.