Rapid Reaction: Dobbs caps wild comeback with TD throw on final play
Tennessee won it.
Then lost it.
Then won it again on the final play when Jauan Jennings outjumped four Georgia defenders in the end zone to catch a game-winning 43-yard pass from Joshua Dobbs.
Tennessee 34, Georgia 31 in the wildest SEC East game of the year.
The lead changed hands three times in the final minutes.
Tennessee erased a 17-0 deficit and took the lead when it sacked Jacob Eason in the end zone. Eason fumbled, and Corey Vereen recovered it to put the Vols ahead 28-24.
Eason, who led Georgia to a last-minute win at Missouri, nearly did it again. He hit Riley Ridley on a 47-yard TD pass with 10 seconds left to put Georgia ahead 31-28.
Evan Berry returned the kickoff 20 yards to Georgia’s 43. Four seconds remained. Time for one final play.
Dobbs made the most of it, throwing his third touchdown pass of the afternoon and biggest of his career.
What it means: Tennessee is now a heavy favorite in the division, having beaten its two biggest competitors. The Vols still have a tough two games ahead of them, though, and will likely need complete performances to continue winning.
Georgia looked much more competitive in the loss, but it could mean the Bulldogs are now just trying to improve for the future.
What I liked
Tennessee: The Vols trailed 17-0. The closing drive of the first half and the opening drive of the second half were exactly what Tennessee needed to get back into the game and put pressure on Georgia. As is usually the case, Joshua Dobbs was a major catalyst on each drive. He scored the Vols’ first touchdown on a third-down scramble and delivered a nice strike to Jalen Hurd in stride to cut Georgia’s lead to three.
It was truly the trio of Dobbs, Hurd and Alvin Kamara that led the way for Tennessee’s offense. Each scored one of the Vols’ first three touchdowns and combined for most of the team’s offensive output.
Georgia: Under a new head coach, there was a lot of uncertainty about how the Bulldogs would respond to last weekend’s loss to Ole Miss. In the first half, Kirby Smart showed that he is capable of getting a resurgent effort out of his team. Georgia out-hustled Tennessee and made several crucial plays before halftime. Effort wasn’t an issue for the Bulldogs. Along with the increased effort came an increase in the pass rush. A weak spot for Georgia this season, the team was able to sack Dobbs twice and force him out of the pocket throughout the game.
Offensively, the Bulldogs received a nice spark from several freshmen. Of course Jacob Eason is the notable name, and he made several smart plays, including a heads-up one by diving on a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Eason connected with another freshman, tight end Isaac Nauta, for a big 50-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Freshman running back Brian Herrien had a strong day running the football and helped Sony Michel carry much of the load in Nick Chubb’s absence.
What I didn’t like
Georgia: The Bulldogs’ offensive line did well in the run game for the second straight outing, but they failed to contain Tennessee’s pass rush for very long. Eason was sacked three times, including the crucial sack-fumble in the fourth quarter, and had to avoid pressure several other times. On the few occasions when he did hang in the pocket, he missed on a few deep passes. He isn’t afraid to take those shots, but he needs to start connecting to really make Georgia’s offense dangerous. He threw an interception on the ensuing drive after the fumble, too, before throwing the go-ahead TD strike to Ridley.
Tennessee: As with nearly every other game this season, Tennessee looked complacent in the first half and it cost them. The Vols won very little hustle plays against Georgia, and Hurd’s carelessness with the football near the end zone cost his team a touchdown. With five games in the books, Tennessee still hasn’t been able to put together a full four quarters.
The Vols’ run defense struggled against an improving Georgia ground game. After stifling Florida’s running backs in the second half of last week’s game, Tennessee never found an answer for a rushing attack that carried the Bulldogs’ offense. Despite a major height advantage on Georgia’s defensive backs, Tennessee connected on very few big passing plays. The Vols’ receivers didn’t help Dobbs out much with a few drops in the second half.
What’s next: Tennessee, now in control of the East with victories over its two primary pursuers, has a tough matchup at Texas A&M next weekend. Georgia will head on the road to face South Carolina next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.