Tennessee falls short against No. 1 Georgia after fast start

Sports

Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (1) and Georgia defensive back Derion Kendrick (11) try recover a fumble during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Georgia’s defense came in only giving up an average of 6.6 points per game, good for the nation’s best scoring defense. The Tennessee Volunteers scored 10 points in the first quarter to get off to a fast start, but came up short in a 41-17 loss at Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee started with the ball and made the most out of their opening drive, working their way up the field with 10 plays for 77 yards in a span of 3:11 minutes.

After a slightly overthrown deep ball from Hendon Hooker to Velus Jones Jr on the second play of the game, the wideout got his touchdown. Jones Jr. caught a nine-yard pass from Hooker for the touchdown. Chase McGrath cleared the extra point attempt to put the Vols up, 7-0 over the Bulldogs in the first quarter.

Georgia responds. James Cook carries the ball into the end zone 39 yards to help even the score, 7-7.

The Bulldogs swallow up Hooker on third and one, forcing Tennessee to punt it away after four plays on their second drive.

Tennessee returns the favor.

Matthew Butler sacked Stetson Bennett on the first play of Georgia’s second drive. The Vols defense forces Georgia a three-and-out.

With 5:26 left in the first quarter, Tennessee moves the chains 13 plays on 76 yards but fall short of another touchdown after an incomplete pass from Hooker to Ramel Keyton who tagged in after JaVonta Payton went down with an injury. The Vols settle for a 24-yard field goal to take the lead, 10-7.

The Bulldogs have only trailed twice this season heading into the game to find themselves trailing for only the third time this season to Tennessee after the first, 10-7.

The Bulldogs made up for it in the second quarter.

Georgia forces the Vols to a three-and-out. With the ball back in their possession, the Bulldogs work their way up the field on 9 plays for 44 yards to settle for a 40-yard field goal, tying the game 10 all.

The field goal was the start of 17 unanswered points for Georgia.

With 8:56 left in the second quarter, Hooker overthrows the ball on first down is picked off by Georgia’s Derion Kendrick. Hooker had only thrown two interceptions on 186 pass attempts this season coming into the game, but his third interception, however, proved to be costly. The Bulldogs cashed in after Bennett ran the ball nine yards up the middle, untouched, to take the lead for the first time of the game, 17-10.

Tennessee’s offense stalled only mustering up 10 plays for 12 yards and an interception through three possessions, while Georgia kept the foot on the gas.

With 30 seconds left in the first half, Georgia scored again after Bennett completed a 23-yard pass to James Cook for the touchdown to give the Bulldogs the lead before the break, 24-10.

The Vols get the opportunity to re-ignite their offense in the second half after forcing Georgia to punt. Tennessee works their way up the field 11 plays on 42 yards to the UGA 17 before Hooker was pressured by Nolan Smith, forcing an incomplete pass intended for Princeton Fant.

Tennessee struggled to break through Georgia’s top-tanked defense only accumulating 92 yards of total offense since the end of the first quarter.

Georgia scores on the next drive to keep the Vols at arm’s length with a 26-yard field goal to extend its lead, 27-10 in the third quarter.

Georgia continues to Cook in the fourth.

James Cook scored his third touchdown, second touchdown run of the game, to put Georgia up, 34-10.

Hooker pumped a little life back into the offense with a deep ball to Cedric Tillman for a 51 yard gain, only to be spoiled after Hooker was sacked for a 20-yard loss and fumbled the ball only to be recovered by Georgia’s defense.

The Bulldogs churned out a 5-yard touchdown run courtesy of Kenny McIntosh. The extra point attempt was good to put the Bulldogs up, 41-10.

Hooker was sacked five times and turned the ball over twice. The final line for Hooker 24/37 244 yards TD, INT.

Joe Milton entered the game in the 4th quarter and led the Vols on a nine play 75 yard drive capped by a 12 yard touchdown pass to Cedric Tillman.

Tillman had a career game finishing with 10 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown.

The Vols fall short of accomplishing a feat no other team has been able to this season, beating Georgia. The Bulldogs leave Neyland undefeated in the league for the first time in program history.

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