The Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers traded blows for much of Saturday’s contest in Athens. However, the Dawgs were able to deliver some deft and powerful blows to the Volunteers late and pulled away with a 44-21 victory.
The Dawgs trailed very early after a high snap sailed over Stetson Bennett’s head and landed in the end zone. A Tennessee defender fell on the ball and gave the Vols the early lead, putting the Dawgs behind the eight ball. No matter though, as Zamir White would plow ahead for a one-yard score eight minutes later to tie up the game. Bennett would then find the end zone early in the second quarter and propped them into the lead as a result.
Tennessee wouldn’t go away though. Josh Palmer caught a pass from Jarrett Guarantano to tie the game back up at 14 points apiece. Palmer would score again later in the second quarter, this after a Jack Podlesny gave Georgia a brief 17-14 lead. UT took a 21-17 lead into the break in Athens, putting UGA on alert like so many others on this Saturday afternoon.
Georgia would respond though. Podlesny drilled a 51-yard field goal to give Georgia the lead. They would not soon relinquish it, as the defense dug deep and held Tennessee scoreless throughout the second half. Kearis Jackson would eventually tack on more points with his 21-yard touchdown reception. Jalen Carter then added on to the lead with a one-yard score off the arm of Bennett, and finally, Monty Rice scooped up a fumble and ran it back for the final score of the game just under a minute after Carter’s touchdown.
Georgia’s offense did put up 37 points, but the defense was arguably the star of the game. They held Tennessee to -1 rushing yards — yes, -1 yards — on 27 attempts. They lost 48 total yards on the ground as they geared the hell up and locked the Vols down. They held them to just 3.4 yards per play, a staggeringly low number. They held them to a mark of just 4-for-17 on 3rd downs and never even let them into the red zone. They forced Tennessee to punt six times and forced four turnovers, including two fumbles, an interception and one TOD.
Georgia will look to keep the ball rolling when they face the big, bad Alabama Crimson Tide next week under the lights on CBS. Tennessee, on the other hand, will square up with the Kentucky Wildcats.