ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- A trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game is back within Georgia's grasp.
A healthy Musa Smith rushed for 148 yards on a career-high 37 carries and David Greene passed for two touchdowns as the eighth-ranked Bulldogs rebounded from their first loss of the season with a 31-17 victory over fading Mississippi.
"I was a little tired at the end," Smith said. "I didn't even know I got 37 carries. I never thought I would get that many. I never even carried 37 times in high school."
Georgia (9-1, 6-1) can wrap up the SEC East title with a victory at Auburn in its final conference game of the season. The Bulldogs could have clinched last week, but lost to Florida, 20-13.
"It was huge," Georgia coach Mark Richt said of the victory. "It puts us a position to get a second chance, which you don't get often."
Smith, who sat out the Kentucky game following thumb surgery on October 22, appears close to 100 percent. He returned last week and rushed for 100 yards on 22 carries against the Gators.
"I liked how we protected the ball in the second half," Richt said. "I like how Musa wrapped up the ball and his yards after contact. I think this was his best game with the yards after contact."
Greene gave Georgia some breathing room with a 33-yard TD strike to Terrence Edwards that made it 31-17 with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Georgia closed out the game with a 19-yard play drive that took nearly 11 minutes and ended inside the Rebels' 10-yard line when time expired.
"We've got to build on this win this week," Georgia defensive end David Pollack said. "We've got to get stronger against the run. Auburn's got a great running game and they've got all the tools."
Ole Miss (5-5, 2-4 SEC West) suffered its fourth straight loss following a 5-1 start.
"Georgia is an outstanding and very balanced team with very skilled athletes on both sides of the ball," Mississippi coach David Cutliffe said.
The Rebels missed a golden opportunity to snap a 7-7 tie late in the first quarter as Boss Bailey blocked a 19-yard field goal attempt by Jonathan Nichols.
Georgia grabbed a 14-7 lead when true freshman cornerback Tim Jennings returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown with 13:09 left in the first half.
Mississippi tied it on Tremaine Turner's one-yard TD run with five minutes left in the second quarter, but Georgia took the lead for good on Greene's 17-yard TD toss to Fred Gibson 1:49 before intermission.
The Bulldogs are getting healthier across the board as Gibson returned after missing a pair of games with a thumb injury. Gibson finished with four catches for 97 yards and also returned three kickoffs for 95 yards.
Turner rushed for 89 yards and two TDs on 19 carries but got little help as the Rebels were held to 107 yards on the ground.
Eli Manning completed just 12-of-25 passes for 176 yards for Ole Miss and was intercepted twice.
"Georgia played better in the second half," Manning said. "They made several stops and came up with big plays. They played more bump-and-run coverage."
The Rebels' deepest penetration in the second half was the Georgia 49. Ole Miss punted with 10:46 remaining and never again saw the ball.
"They had a good game plan," Manning said. "They had a very good pass rush and their defensive ends are very active. Their quarterback was better than I expected."
Georgia reached nine wins for the first time since 1998, when it finished 9-3.