ATHENS — Mark Richt was stunned.
During a break only minutes after Georgia scored its first touchdown early in Saturday night's game, Auburn fans suddenly cheered.
Richt said at first he didn't know what led to the roar from the home fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Then he realized the Auburn fans were cheering top-ranked Alabama's loss to Texas A&M.
"After a little bit of thinking, I thought that might have been it," Richt said with a smile.
The Alabama loss also could be big for No. 5 Georgia, though Richt said he didn't take time to consider the ramifications for his team.
"I didn't get too caught up in it," Richt said of the Alabama loss. "I really was most concerned about this one."
Richt's players followed his lead and kept their focus on Auburn. The result was the Bulldogs' most complete effort of the season in a 38-0 win that clinched Georgia's spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game, likely against Alabama, on Dec. 1.
With a little help, Georgia could have more on the line than its third SEC championship under Richt.
Georgia could move into the national championship picture if the Bulldogs keep winning, including in the SEC championship game, and more undefeated teams lose.
Richt said Sunday he hasn't talked with his players about possible national championship hopes.
"Quite frankly we're not doing that right now," Richt said. "We know we're playing in Atlanta. We know that's settled right now. We know there's a lot of work to do in the meantime."
Georgia (9-1, 7-1 SEC), which plays Georgia Southern on Saturday, is rolling with four straight wins.
Aaron Murray has returned to form after throwing three interceptions in Georgia's key 17-9 win over Florida. Since that game, Murray has passed for seven touchdowns with no interceptions in back-to-back wins over Mississippi and Auburn.