It’s not often that you leave a 29-point loss with an optimistic view of the season and/or the program. I think most fans had about the same expectations for the game. The Tennessee Volunteers came out with much higher expectations of their own and it showed.
The Vols won the toss and decided that they would take the ball and try to strike the Georgia Bulldogs first. That drive stalled out but showed some things that we haven’t really seen this season.
Georgia took the ball on a long drive and finished with a 1-yard touchdown run from D’Andre Swift to give UGA the 7-0 lead. I’m not sure anybody really expected the Vols answer. On the second play of the drive, freshman Brian Maurer hit Marquez Callaway in stride for a beautiful 73-yard TD pass. That was the first of his career.
The Vols’ defense came back with a bend-don’t-break mentality giving up a field goal to give the Dawgs a 10-7 lead. After a 10-play, 75-yard drive, Maurer found Jauan Jennings across the middle for a 12-yard TD to give the Vols their first lead of the game at 14-10.
The Tennessee defense did what they had to again and only allowed another field goal, letting the Dawgs cut the deficit to 14-13. There seemed to be something off the last five minutes of the half and we were seeing glimpses of the old Vols.
Getting back to bad habits
Georgia took advantage of this. They scored twice before going into the half with a short three-yard TD to Lawrence Cager. The Bulldogs then scored on touchdown from Jake Fromm to George Pickens. That gave the Dawgs a 26-14 lead.
Georgia got the ball back first after the half but the defense stepped up to the plate and forced a punt. While the Vols also punted on our first offensive drive, it was huge to not allow the Dawgs to drive down and put another in the end zone.
After the 27-yard field goal halfway through the third quarter. The Dawgs led 29-14. Things seemed to be going downhill for the Vols. On the following drive, Maurer overthrew his receiver for an interception. It gave the Dawgs the ball back and you could just feel the life leave the stadium. Georgia didn’t do anything with this new possession but it was a huge momentum shift.
Going downhill fast
Tennessee answered with a punt. Georgia came back with another TD. This time, Georgia scored on a one-yard TD run from Brian Herrien that put the Dawgs up 36-14.
It was nice to see at this point in the game that they had young guys still fighting with one of the best teams in the country. Unfortunately, on the second to last drive for the Vols, Brian Maurer didn’t see the blitz from the outside. He took an absolute shot causing him to fumble. That allowed Georgia to scoop and score to give us our final of 43-14.
Am I disappointed in the outcome of the game? Absolutely, especially the way that the Vols started the game. But I’m optimistic.
Tennessee has a lot of young guys out there getting some valuable experience, and they are taking full advantage of that. I feel that the Vols are a good team despite their record and need a little more experience and a little more depth. I think both of those are being worked on right now. I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds for this team.
B. Maurer: 14/28, 259 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 44.8 QBR
T. Jordan: 9 rush, 47 yards
J. Jennings: 7 rec., 114 yards, 1 TD
M. Callaway: 3 rec., 105 yards, 1 TD
J. Fromm: 24/29, 288 yards, 2 TD, 90.7 QBR
B. Herrien: 11 rush, 88 yards, 1 TD
D. Swift: 4 rec., 72 yards
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