It wasn’t smooth and anything but pretty but in the end Saturday night at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, third-ranked Georgia had dismantled the 1-3, upset-minded Tennessee Volunteers by a 43-14 tally.
Falling behind Jeremy Pruitt’s Vols by 14-10 early in the second quarter after the Bulldog secondary allowed UT freshman quarterback Brian Maurer to complete touchdown passes of 73 and 12 yards, Georgia would bolt back into a 26-14 halftime lead en route to outscoring Tennessee 33-0 the remainder of the contest.
The Bulldogs hammered the Big Orange defense for 526 yards … Jake Fromm drilling 24-of-29 passing attempts for 288 yards and two touchdowns in one of his finest performances and Georgia also ran the football for 238 yards with Brian Herrien bulling for 88 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown and D’Andre Swift running for 72 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
But the Georgia win — which enabled UGA to take the lead in this series by 24-23-2 — could have come much easier, had not the Bulldogs been slapped for 11 penalties for a total of 107 yards.
Bottom line, however, Georgia takes an unblemished 5-0 (2-0 SEC) mark into Saturday’s home date against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
PLAYS OF 20 PLUS YARDS, OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
In that wild and wooly first half, the Bulldogs hit five plays for more than 20 yards: a 28-yard pass from Fromm to Demetris Robertson, a Fromm-D’Andre Swift hookup for 44 yards, a 40-yard run by Brian Herrien, a 23-yard run by Swift and Fromm’s 21-yard strike to Lawrence Cager. In the second half, Fromm found D-Rob open again on a 33-yard pass, and the Bulldogs would get their final score of the night when cornerback Eric Stokes separated Maurer from the football and senior linebacker Tae Crowder scooped it up and sped 60 yards into the Tennessee end zone. For the Vols, all their long gainers came on Maurer passes, 73 yards to Marquez Callaway for the first-quarter touchdown and then subsequent completions of 29, 21, 21 and 31 yards against the Georgia secondary.
Three first-half penalties proved costly. There was a holding call by center Trey Hill, an offensive interference call in the end zone on Cager that erased his 25-yard touchdown catch, and a roughing-the-passer infraction against David Marshall … all of which contributed to the Vols moving into the 14-10 second-quarter lead on the Bulldogs. And the parade of penalties continued in the second half as D.J. Daniel was cited for holding and pass interference, Matt Landers was slapped with a hands-to-the-face call, Nate McBride was assessed with a face-mask penalty and Divaad Wilson was whistled for pass interference. The Bulldogs also had several false start infractions which all led to the 107 yards total penalties for the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS WINS VS. MISCUES
Rodrigo Blankenship drilled field goals from 50 and 34 yards in the opening half and then stayed perfect for the season with another 27-yarder in the third quarter. On his first punt of the night, Jake Carmada again shanked a kick for just 18 yards but then responded with a 53-yard boot in the third quarter, to the Tennessee 17.
The Bulldogs, as they’ve done in all five games, stoned the Volunteer running backs to the tune of just 70 yards net rushing but on a number of occasions, the Tennessee receivers pulled away from Georgia defensive backs’ first hits for long gainers.
Flawless night for the Dawgs in this area as they didn’t turn the ball over a single time … no fumbles and Fromm didn’t throw any picks in his splendid passing performance. The Vols lost the fumble that Crowder did his scoop-and-score on and Richard LeCounte picked off Maurer once.
RED ZONE (OFFENSE, DEFENSE)
Georgia was a perfect 6-of-6 scoring inside the red zone with four of those excursions producing touchdowns. The Vols drove inside the Bulldog 20 only twice the night long, getting a touchdown on the 12-yard Maurer-to-Jauan Jennings pass.
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Pretty identical here as the Bulldogs converted 5-of-11 third-down opportunities and the Vols were 5-of-12. Both teams were 0-for-1 on fourth down tries.
RUN, PASS ATTEMPTS (TOTAL PLAYS)
Georgia ran the ball 41 times for 238 yards and passed it those 29 times, completing 24 for 288 yards. That’s 526 yards of total offense on 70 plays. The Volunteers ran a total of 62 plays for 343 yards of offense … 273 through the air and only those 70 yards on the ground against the Bulldog defense.