DULUTH - It seemed like everything that went wrong for the Georgia Force in last week's loss to the Arizona Rattlers went right for them Saturday night against New Orleans.
The offense welcomed back injured star Troy Bergeron, who earned Offensive Player of the Game honors with 156 total yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense created three key stops - including a pair of turnovers - as the Force routed the South Division-leading VooDoo 66-39 before an announced 10,071 fans at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
"This felt like a must-win game because we squandered the first half of the season," Force coach Doug Plank said after his team improved to 4-5 on the season. "We took a close look at the loss last week to Arizona and we looked at the energy of our team, and I think it was compelling to our players. I think they took it as a personal challenge to be better this week."
They certainly were better, and having Bergeron, who missed the previous four games with a thigh injury, helped.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver pulled in nine passes for 137 yards and four touchdowns, including two key scores in the first half after participating in just one practice this past week - the 30-minute run through on Friday.
"We figured we'd give it a shot," Bergeron said about taking most of the week to rest his thigh. "We didn't want to take a chance. I have to get healthy."
The Force got plenty healthy on their first possession of the game by going to the running game, driving 45 yards - 23 of which came on the ground - in eight plays, capped by Matt Huebner's 2-yard scoring rumble.
Carlos Martinez added the extra point, which gave Georgia a 7-0 lead 4:28 after the opening kickoff.
The Force then manufactured their first big break of the half when rookie Kal Truluck got to VooDoo quarterback Danny Wimprine behind the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble. Jermaine Smith pounced on it to give Georgia a first down on the New Orleans 4-yard line.
On the next snap, Chris Greisen pitched quickly to Bergeron, who sprinted the distance for a touchdown that stretched the Force's lead to 14-0 with 9:01 left in the first quarter.
With the Force leading 24-12 early in the second quarter, the defense came up with its next big stand by stopping New Orleans on downs. The offense turned the stop into the first of two touchdown catches by Tiger Jones, this one from 2 yards out, to extend the lead to 31-12 with 5:55 left in the first half.
After another big play by the defense - Hamin Milligan's interception in the end zone - on the next New Orleans possession, the Force struck five plays later. Greisen hit Bergeron for 32-yard scoring strike to make the score 38-12 with 35 seconds left in the half.
The VooDoo (7-3) tried to fight back with a pair of touchdown passes from Wimprine to DeAndrew Rubin with 11 seconds left in the first half and on the first snap of the second half to pull to within 38-26.
But Georgia answered again just 2:51 later, with Greisen hooking up with Jones from 16 yards out. It capped a four-play drive and pushed the lead back to 45-26 and the Force were pretty much able to cruise from there.