KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It’s Saturday in Knoxville and it’s time to tee it up on Rocky Top for the matchup between the Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers.
Now, I know that it doesn’t have the same flavor as a Saturday in Athens when games are played between the hedges, but every other year Georgia has to make this trip up to Neyland Stadium.
Georgia hasn’t won in Knoxville since 2005 and the last two meetings have been ugly for the Bulldogs. In 2007, Tennessee won 35-14 and in 2009 the Volunteers won 45-19. However, Georgia beat Tennessee 41-14 last year in Athens.
This is a game where the home team has won the last four matchups, and one where the winner will be one of the favorites in the SEC East.
It is going to be loud, the color Orange is an eyesore, and Rocky Top will be played about 100 times.
For live updates and analysis of the game, follow me on Twitter @Mike_Reiter.
1st Quarter News, Stats and Notes: Georgia 3, Tennessee 0
Tennessee won the toss and chose to defer.
Obvious stat of the first quarter other than the score. Georgia is 3-for-3 on fourth downs. 2 of the 3 fourth down conversions came on Georgia’s end of the field. While I don’t agree with either call, the offense converted and the drive continued.
Tennessee has fumbled the ball a couple of times, but has managed to get it back. Isaiah Crowell also fumbled the ball, but the ball squirted out of bounds.
Murray is 5-8 for 35 yards with a long of 11. The quarterback also rushed four times for six yards. Isaiah Crowell has rushed the ball for 13 yards on five carries, an average of 2.6 per carry.
Georgia out-gained Tennessee 76-48 and held the ball on offense for 8:57. The Volunteers one drive lasted 6 minutes and 3 seconds
SCORING PLAYS: 35 yard field goal by Blair Walsh, 15 plays, 62 yards, 6:13
2nd Quarter News, Stats and Notes: Georgia 6, Tennessee 6
Story of the first half: The offense has moved the ball well, but the opposing teams defense has stepped up when it matters most.
The statement can be applied to both teams and this is about as even of a game as you could have.
Junior ILB Mike Gilliard has been the leading tackler for the Bulldogs the past three games. He had a career-high nine against Miss. State last week. At the half tonight, he has a team-high seven tackles with one forced fumble, one pass breakup and one tackle for a loss.
Georgia’s defense continues to impress, and the unit lead by Todd Grantham has allowed just one touchdown in the last 14 quarters.
Coming in tonight, Georgia was 3-for-9 on fourth down conversions. In the first quarter, Georgia was 3-for-3 on fourth downs.
Cornerback Branden Smith recorded his first rushing attempts of the season tonight (2 for 19 yards). The junior leads all teams in rushing through one half of play.
Isaiah Crowell has 14 yards on 7 carries. Murray is 8-for-16 for 95 yards.
On the Tennessee side of the ball, Tyler Bray is 10-for-19 for 160 yards with a long of 27 yards. Da”rick Rodgers has two receptions for 25 yards, and has been hit hard on both of them (Branden Smith and Bacarri Rambo).
3rd Quarter News, Stats and Notes: Georgia 20, Tennessee 6
Without question, that was the most important and best quarter of football the Georgia Bulldogs have played all season.
Freshman Isaiah Crowell and Malcolm Mitchell were the story of the third quarter. Crowell scored his first touchdown since Coastal Carolina, and added another one after a 73-yard reception by Mitchell.
Tennessee received the opening kickoff of the second half, and after a bad snap, the Volunteers punted from their own five yard line. The Bulldogs capitalized and scored the first touchdown of the game to lead 13-6.
After the Bulldogs went up 20-6, the Volunteers returned the kickoff to midfield, but the defense stepped up and forced a three and out.
Georgia outgained Tennessee 177-11 in the third quarter. That’s just dominant football. Nothing else needs to be said about that stat, unless you want to add the 14 points Georgia scored in the third frame.
Murray is 13-for-22 for 206 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Crowell has now rushed for 52 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Mitchell has three catches for 126 yards including a long of 71.
Now we are heading to the fourth quarter in Neyland Stadium.