Georgia 34, LSU 14
-- D.J. Shockley stood in the middle of his grateful Georgia teammates, holding aloft the MVP trophy and celebrating a night that was five years in the making.
Shockley threw a pair of touchdown passes to Sean Bailey and ran for another score, leading No. 13 Georgia to its second Southeastern Conference championship in four years with an easy 34-14 victory over third-ranked LSU on Saturday night.
Even though Shockley completed only 6 of 12 passes for 112 yards, no one had any complaints about giving the game's MVP award to a senior quarterback who waited so long for his chance.
"Guys like D.J. make this coaching profession worthwhile," Georgia's Mark Richt said.
Shockley spent four years behind David Greene, the winningest quarterback in major college history. While many players in that predicament would have transferred -- and the thought certainly crossed Shockley's mind after his redshirt freshman season -- he decided Georgia was where he wanted to be.
There were occasional chances to fill in for Greene, but Shockley mostly watched from the sideline, accepting that he would get one year -- and one year only -- to make his college career worthwhile. In the end, it all worked out.
"This whole year has been reassuring that I did the right thing by staying here," Shockley said. "I wouldn't change anything about what I went through."
The Bulldogs (10-2) were playing in Atlanta for the second week in a row, coming off a win over rival Georgia Tech. Now, they'll have to make the 75-mile trip from their Athens campus a third straight time -- for the Sugar Bowl.
Normally, that game is played in New Orleans, but this isn't a normal year. The Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl has been transplanted to the Georgia Dome, forced out of the Big Easy by the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
"The sugar is flowing now," Shockley said.
LSU came into the day clinging to the faint hope of playing for the national championship, but nothing went right for the Tigers (10-2).
Second-ranked Texas routed Colorado, 70-3, in the Big 12 championship, which ended about 11/2 hours before the SEC title game kicked off. By the time the Tigers took the field, No. 1 Southern Cal was well on its way to a 66-19 blowout of UCLA.
With the Rose Bowl settled, LSU couldn't even lock up a consolation bid to the Bowl Championship Series. The team that somehow kept its focus through all the distractions caused by Katrina -- one home game postponed, another moved to Arizona -- looked awful against the Bulldogs and will likely settle for a spot in either the Cotton or Peach bowl.
"We didn't play our best," first-year coach Les Miles said. "But this football team certainly did achieve to win the Western Division championship. We started this season in a very difficult situation and the scenario changed each week."
Georgia took control early, scoring two touchdowns before the game was nine minutes old. The Bulldogs didn't pile up big numbers offensively, but they stunned LSU with five big plays -- two on offense, two on defense and one on special teams -- to make up for a loss in the 2003 championship game.