After watching Ole Miss score the first 10 points Saturday afternoon, a return trip Atlanta for the SEC Championship wasn't looking like such a sure thing.
Somewhere, a Florida Gator was smiling.
But not for long, as the sixth-ranked Bulldogs woke up from a sluggish first half to roll past the Rebels 38-10.
Georgia (8-1, 6-1) just needs to beat Auburn next Saturday in order to return to the Georgia Dome for the second consecutive year.
Saturday certainly wasn't the start the Bulldogs envisioned.
Ole Miss (5-4, 2-3) surprised Georgia and the sold-out crowd at Sanford Stadium by bolting to a 10-0 lead before Georgia responded, eventually taking a 14-10 advantage on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Tavarres King with three seconds left in the half.
For Murray, the game was a nice bounce-back from last week's sub-par effort against the Gators when he threw a trio of first-half picks.
This time, the junior completed 21 of 28 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers. Murray now has 80 touchdown passes for his career.
Running back Todd Gurley enjoyed another fine game, rushing 18 times for 118 yards while fullback Alexander Ogletree scored his first career touchdown on an 8-yard run.
Alec Ogletree also accounted for a pair of the Bulldogs' points when he tackled Jeff Scott in the end zone for a safety as Georgia scored the game's final 37 points.
Ole Miss got on the board first, getting a 34-yard field goal by Bryson Rose to cap its first possession of the game, a 58-yard drive highlighted by a 51-yard pass from Bo Wallace to tight end Ferbia Allen.
That was just the beginning of what was going to be a crazy first half.
After Marshall Morgan shanked a 47-yard field goal attempt, the Rebels turned the miss in to their first touchdown drive of the game when Wallace hit Jamal Mosley with a 13-yard pass, a drive that was helped by a 15-yard personal foul on [db]Shawn Williams.
This time Georgia had an answer.
A beautiful fake by Murray on a third-and-2 play from the Rebel 34 resulted in a wide open Marlon Brown, who hauled in the pass for a 66-yard scoring play to draw within 10-7 with just over 10 minutes to go. Brown finished with three catches for a team-high 113 yards before leaving in the third quarter with an undisclosed knee injury.
That's when the game took a nutty turn for both teams.
In matter of just one minute both the Rebels and Bulldogs combined for four turnovers, the final one coming when Wallace was intercepted by Alec Ogletree for his first pick of the year.
Still, neither team was able to convert the mistakes into points.
In fact, it appeared that the Rebels would go into the locker room with the lead after back-to-back sacks on Murray, two of five in the first half.
However, with 12 seconds left and facing a third-and-25, Murray stepped up and found King inside the 5-yard line before scooting into the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown and 14-10 lead.