Rapid Reaction: Georgia outlasts Tennessee 51-44

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Here’s a couple of quick thoughts on the Bulldogs’ win over the Vols.

What it means: Georgia moves to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC, and Tennessee moves to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. Most, including me, thought Georgia would win this football game rather convincingly. Guilty as charged. Tennessee fought hard to the end, but three late fourth quarter turnovers by Tyler Bray cost the Vols a chance to pull out the win. The same talking heads who are quick to criticize the SEC for low-scoring games were criticizing the defenses because neither could make a stop. What gives?

What I liked: Georgia’s freshmen running back duo was dominant. Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley combined for 294 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Both guys could start for several SEC teams, and we could be looking at the best running back duo in the SEC. It’s debatable, of course, against Alabama and LSU’s duos. But Gurley and Marshall are as exciting as any two running backs to watch in the SEC.  The Bulldogs present a very balanced offense each and every week.

This was a little different Tennessee football team than we saw against Florida. They did not quit in the second half, especially when Georgia went up 43-30 midway through the third quarter. The Vols could have tucked their tail between their legs and run, but they fought hard to the end and left everything on the field, especially a couple of plays Bray would like back. But that’s football.

What I didn’t like: Both defenses and special teams did not show up. It was literally a track meet in Athens. The offenses combined for 1,038 yards and 95 points. But it was sure fun to watch until the end, wasn’t it? Georgia blew a 17-point first-half lead, but give credit to Tennessee for fighting.  And where were the special teams?  Tennessee gets a punt blocked and missed a huge field goal late in the third.  Likewise, Georgia had an extra point blocked and missed another one.

Who’s the man: How about two men? I have to go with Gurley and Marshall as players of the game. Marshall didn’t even get his uniform dirty all night, and Gurley is a man-beast playing out there. Marshall ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns, while Gurley rushed for 130 and three touchdowns.  They both combined for 8.65 yards per carry.

Key play: Jordan Jenkins’s strip fumble on Tyler Bray in the fourth quarter with the Vols driving looking to tie the game has to be the play of the game. Georgia recovered to eventually secure the win. All three of Tyler Bray’s turnovers in the fourth quarter were costly, but the fumble was definitely the key play late in the game.

What’s next: Tennessee gets a much-needed bye week before traveling to Starkville to take on Mississippi State, and Georgia travels to South Carolina for a pivotal SEC East road game. This is the first of two very big games for the Bulldogs in the East this season, with Florida being the other obvious monster game.  Every team has to survive one or two games like this over the course of a season, and Georgia definitely survived this one.

COMMENTS

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  • I’m actually not surprised at that EARNED win against Tennesee. Georgia has played low tier teams, Yes,I’m a diehard Georgia fan, that didn’t count out rocky top. Our defense was not at all in this game. Vanderbilt was a blow out because they don’t have the strength. Buffalo Bulls, low tier. Missouri, has no business being in the SEC. Florida Atlantic low tier, Vanderbilt no strength, Tennesee the only decent team so far we played. Next week going from this hard fought battle means tired players going into Gamecock terroritory. Team: Red & Black better practice hard, but also regroup and recover from this evenings game. It’s going to be another battle that should not be overlooked. Our dawgs get a break when they play Kentucky, Missippi State, and Auburn, but there’s also that dreaded Cocktail party in Jacksonville. The battle for the East is not over, not by a long shot. Again, I’m ectatic Georgia is still undefeated and rightfully so after that 2010 flop of a season and then to start off 2011 0 for 2 to go on to win 10 straight victories only to be tainted by a loss to LSU at the Dome then again in Tampa when they took on the mighty spartans of Michigan State in the Outback bowl. While there is a loss Georgia would like to get retribution for next saturday against South Carolina, it’s not going to be easy. They have to earn it, they have to want it, more importantly they NEED TO WIN IT!

  • Certainly didn’t go as planned but a SEC win is always good. This might be the wake up call this team needs. Survive and advance…

    UF/LSU game next week will be very important. I think UF wins at home but a loss will put them behind the 8 ball early.

    USCe gets a weak Arky team and UGA gets Ole Miss from the West. Assume both USCe and UGA win those so if UF loses to LSU they probably need to win out to take the East.

    • Correct me if Im wrong, but if we beat both Scar and UF, it isnt going to matter what the other teams do because we will be #1 in the east. (Assuming we win out the rest of the games. Kentucky & Auburn should be fairly easy wins. Ole Miss is trying to play ball this year) Georgia just needs to get their asses in gear and play ball each weekend.

  • No one seems to be pointing out the fact that the defense actually only gave up 37 points (interception returned against the offense) and that another 2 touchdowns by Tennessee were scored in short field situations due to fumbles. Everyone is praising the offense and hating on the defense, but with better ball security by the offense the game would have looked hugely different. If the same thing happens with USC the game will end similarly to last year’s. Even Spurrier said we gave them the game.