Two drives, two penalties make one big difference

ATHENS, Ga. - Two drives.

For all the football played Saturday afternoon in Sanford Stadium, Tennessee's 26-14 loss to No. 10 Georgia came down to two key stretches.

Trailing by six points, the Vols watched as Georgia marched 97 yards for a touchdown in a two-minute drill just before halftime.

Needing to get its offense back on the field for any chance to rally from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter, the Vols gave up a 17-play drive that took nearly 11 minutes off the clock.

Those were the backbreakers for Georgia.

And they were head-bangers for Tennessee's defense.

"We've been saying for the last two weeks, we've got to get off the field," senior linebacker Ellix Wilson said. "We didn't do it, and it kind of bit us in the behind. There's going to be 100 things we can correct after we watch this film. We've just got to go to work and correct those things that we made mistakes on."

Tennessee's most costly mistakes seemed to come on third down. For the day, Georgia was 9-for-17 on third conversions. On those two big drives, though, the Bulldogs were much better than that.

Tennessee (2-4, 0-3 SEC) was even a willing accomplice.

On Georgia's final scoring drive of the first half, it converted on a pair of third-downs.

On third-and-8 from his own 5-yard line, Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford found Knowshon Moreno for a 14-yard gain. On third-and-3 from the UT 9-yard line, Stafford hit Mohamed Massaquoi for a touchdown. In between, Tennessee's defense gift-wrapped two huge gains for Georgia by virtue of penalties.

Safety Demetrice Morley was flagged for hitting Massaquoi in the helmet, a call Chavis didn't seem to agree with following the game.

"More than suspect," Chavis said when a reporter offered his take on the flag. "I ain't going to question anything. You saw it, what did you think?"

Two plays later, cornerback DeAngelo Willingham slung Demiko Goodman to the turf several yards out of bounds.

In the case of Goodman's play, the penalty and reception moved the line of scrimmage from the Tennessee 49-yard line to the 16. And it only took 11 seconds off the game clock.

By moving swiftly to answer UT's only first-half touchdown, Georgia (5-1, 2-1 SEC) wrestled momentum away from the Vols heading into halftime.

"If we didn't let them score there, we probably have a little more momentum and Georgia has a little less momentum coming into the second half," said defensive tackle Dan Williams, who finished with six tackles. "But at the same time, we just had those two big penalties. That helped them, kept them on the field."

It was only a prelude to a monster drive that ended any chance for a Tennessee comeback.

After UT's offense turned an Eric Berry interception into points and pulled to 20-14, Georgia wouldn't give up the football. And Tennessee - which had another interception by defensive end Robert Ayers - couldn't take it away this time, either.

The Bulldogs only got a field goal out of the drive. But more important, they chewed up 10:55 by moving 76 yards in 17 plays.

After having been on the field for more than 30 minutes already, Tennessee's defense was simply gassed, Wilson said.

"Anytime you're on the field that long, it's going to catch up to you," Wilson said. "I don't care who you are. You've just got to get off the field when it's time for you to get off the field."

The Vols allowed their first 100-yard rusher (Moreno, 101 yards) since the Outback Bowl. Stafford's career-high 310 yards were the most since Kentucky's Andre' Woodson topped 400 yards in six overtimes last November.

The solution, Chavis says, can only be found on the practice field.

"We're going to respond the way we need to, I can assure you that," he said. "I can tell you one thing, I'm not going to lay down, and this football team's not going to lay down. We'll go to work tomorrow and we're going to work to get it better."

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 30

stormblast writes:

Makes absolutely no difference. We can't move the ball. Half of this falls on the players. The other times, we can't go forward is due to horrific play calling. I'm ashamed of this coaching staff. I'm fed up with all of this.

It's one thing to lose. I can take a loss. I'm sometimes as proud if not more of our teams if they play with everything left on the field with a well coached game and lose the game than I am with some of the wins we get. But what I can't stand is irrelevance. We are on the way to becoming an annual 3-4 win per season team which has a football stadium capacity of 107,000. We're a lame-duck program, coached by a lame-duck coaching staff, directed by a lame-duck athletic director. LAME.

leedsvol2007 writes:

Replays clearly showed the interference call and the blow to the head call were poor.

More importantly though we rushed for a net of 1 yard and we could not stop them in the fourth quarter on their long drive.

The defense was exhausted at that point.

Its obvious we don't match up well against the better teams in the conference this year on the lines of scrimmage.

I applaud the team's effort I thought we were not outhit overall.

Its' obvious although Stephens still has a lot to learn he has more potential than Crompton. He should get better.

If we can get better offensive line play we still have a chance to get to a bowl.

GoVols!

imjustafan writes:

Three calls that were called didn't happen...it's pretty sad when even the commentators say something about the calls.

olozbal#646632 writes:

Anybody else already doing the "man, I bet we'll be pretty good next year" game? With Stephens, Hardesty, Jones, Berry, etc. we should be better. I know it's lame already writing off this season but I'm used to it.

I love to watch Eric Berry play. The guy is a bullet, one of those guys who come along every now and then you know is a sure NFL player. Now I just watch him play instead of our lame team.

olozbal#646632 writes:

Also - anybody else notice whenever Fulmer is yelling at his players the look on their face is utter disrespect?

Colliervol writes:

No question there were several bad calls that went against UT. But, in the end, that doesn't matter. What does matter is a woeful offensive line and ONE YARD RUSHING and NINE FIRST DOWNS. You can't beat Slippery Rock with ONE YARD RUSHING and NINE FIRST DOWNS.

If you think the officials did us in, you are simply a hopeless homer and need not comment any longer.

kiddtigger#228291 writes:

A Florida defender just lead with his head in a helmet to helmet hit on an LSU receiver and there was no call. It was late as well. The personal foul for the shot to the head called on Tennessee killed what little momentum we had from our TD. Yeah, we had other problems throughout the game, but the way Stephens was throwing the ball, we might have been able to score some points before the half had we gotten the ball back.

rusty_shackleford writes:

One yard rushing?! WTH? If folks are looking for coaches to hustle out of town, Adkins should be at the top of the list.

GREEKDAWG writes:

Please Mister Ref. don't penalize us for acting like thugs we can't help it we were brought up that way,,,,it our parent's fault,,yeah that's right its our parents fault

graphpro#231211 writes:

Time to hire the Ole Ball Coach... Spurrier! Pay him 1.8 million and you have both a head coach and an offensive coordinator.

Much better deal than a $2.5 million coach that doesn't seem to really participate.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

two things:
when you are a loser, the calls go against you. 3 bogus calls, absolutely, but we are UT.

second, Phil chickened out on 4th and short. the game was in reach, but phil would not go for it. instead, he punts and puts his tired defense back on the field.

phil is a chicken.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

At least the Sooners lost.

Volomatic writes:

But berry's hit on moreno was nice

xvolx writes:

in response to graphpro#231211:

Time to hire the Ole Ball Coach... Spurrier! Pay him 1.8 million and you have both a head coach and an offensive coordinator.

Much better deal than a $2.5 million coach that doesn't seem to really participate.

yes

orangebloodgmc writes:

Volomatic writes:
"But berry's hit on moreno was nice."

Ha ha, yeah, Moreno didn't bounce up to strike a superman pose after that one, I think he literally crawled over to the sideline.

Berry, you rock!

orangebloodgmc writes:

Spurrier is not welcome here.

Go4Two writes:

Graph

Spurriers QB was 9-23 for 70 yards No Thanks

johnlg00 writes:

in response to orangebloodgmc:

Volomatic writes:
"But berry's hit on moreno was nice."

Ha ha, yeah, Moreno didn't bounce up to strike a superman pose after that one, I think he literally crawled over to the sideline.

Berry, you rock!

Berry should have been called for a personal foul on that play--helmet-to-helmet, as the replays clearly showed. I agree that the refs made a couple of bogus calls against us, but that was one they missed that favored us.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to Colliervol:

No question there were several bad calls that went against UT. But, in the end, that doesn't matter. What does matter is a woeful offensive line and ONE YARD RUSHING and NINE FIRST DOWNS. You can't beat Slippery Rock with ONE YARD RUSHING and NINE FIRST DOWNS.

If you think the officials did us in, you are simply a hopeless homer and need not comment any longer.

that's not the point. the refs are horrible and will cost someone a game soon. the one calling the interference in the second qtr needs to lose his job.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Berry should have been called for a personal foul on that play--helmet-to-helmet, as the replays clearly showed. I agree that the refs made a couple of bogus calls against us, but that was one they missed that favored us.

NO HE SHOULDN'T HAVE. that was pads first helmet second. helmets collide on a lot of tackles that are legal. if that was the only criteria Moreno should of been flagged when he ran the ball in the pile helmet down (which is stupid)

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

Replays clearly showed the interference call and the blow to the head call were poor.

More importantly though we rushed for a net of 1 yard and we could not stop them in the fourth quarter on their long drive.

The defense was exhausted at that point.

Its obvious we don't match up well against the better teams in the conference this year on the lines of scrimmage.

I applaud the team's effort I thought we were not outhit overall.

Its' obvious although Stephens still has a lot to learn he has more potential than Crompton. He should get better.

If we can get better offensive line play we still have a chance to get to a bowl.

GoVols!

with all due respect who besides you cares about a 6-6 bottom of the barrell bowl game matching the bad teams ---we dont need anymore losses on national TV that could be further embarrassing

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to volfan73120#211815:

At least the Sooners lost.

now who besides you could care less what the sooners did--just why is that of any concern around here?

BobbyGraham writes:

just think. Assuming we get beat by Bama, if we were to somehow win the rest of them and then win the liberty bowl, that would be 8 wins and fulmer would get a raise and an extension.

wkjq#213863 writes:

in response to olozbal#646632:

Anybody else already doing the "man, I bet we'll be pretty good next year" game? With Stephens, Hardesty, Jones, Berry, etc. we should be better. I know it's lame already writing off this season but I'm used to it.

I love to watch Eric Berry play. The guy is a bullet, one of those guys who come along every now and then you know is a sure NFL player. Now I just watch him play instead of our lame team.

Why are you used to writing off a season so early? You a Vandy fan?

volball7222 writes:

The helmet to helmet was not even close. The head jerked backwards because the receiver went in reverse...........
Just a good hit...

Knoxobserver writes:

The refs didn't cause us to lose this game. Were there bad calls, sure. Goes with the territory. Did anyone see the OU/UT(exas) game? Some majorly blown calls on both sides. So what. As is being reported in some papers, the UGA defensive line says they knew what UT was going to run based on how UT lined up. This is called preparation. This is called breaking down the film, coming up with a game plan and then getting out on the practice field and working your tail off to make it happen on the playing field. That, my friends, is good, solid coaching. The UT players can say all they want about how good their practices are, but the simple truth is you play the way you practice. Period. Execution is not about talent, it's about practicing until you can't get it wrong. It's about focus and concentration. If practice is so good, please explain to me why we still have the O-line jumping the count in the 6th freaking game of the season. If practice is so good, please tell me why Gerald Williams didn't know he was supposed to be on the field for a punt. If practice is so good, please explain to me how we were called for 4 (FOUR) personal fouls particularly at crucial points in UGA scoring drives. Plain and simple, you play the way you practice. The practices are not what the players think they are. The coaching staff is not providing the direction and discipline needed to reach the level of play required in this league. The mistakes we make are simple fundamental mistakes that high school players make. We expect a higher level of discipline, concentration and intensity. Those things must be coached into a team, not everyone has an innate ability for them. The job [coaching] is not getting done. We know where the responsibility lies. We know what needs to be done. Thank you Coach for the many wonderful things you have done for your teams, the university and TN, but it is time to go. No, you didn't get stupid, you have just been left behind.

AlpharettaVol writes:

It's sad to contemplate, but an eight win season looks like a pipe dream right now. It's an indication of the sorry state of our program.

AlpharettaVol writes:

Our nation's leaders were on to something when they set a limit of two terms (8 years) for President. The ability to direct a nation (or in this case a football program) gets kinda stale after several years. Let's make a change.

murrayvol writes:

in response to volball7222:

The helmet to helmet was not even close. The head jerked backwards because the receiver went in reverse...........
Just a good hit...

For what it's worth (which is zero) the Morley hit and others like it should be reviewable. Replays from multiple angles showed the hit to be hard but clean.

We can't say the game turned on that call but it sure as hell caused that drive to snowball on an already tired and frustrated defense.

Beast writes:

None of those personal fouls against georgia were squat compared to the bull**** foster pulled earlier this year. The refs did not cost us this game but they ABSOLUTELY aided georgias TD before half. There surely will be an apology

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