Tennessee experiences highs and lows in 51-44 loss to Georgia

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee's Tyler Bray fumbles the ball during the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Georgia at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee's Tyler Bray fumbles the ball during the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Georgia at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

Recap: Tennessee at Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — Turnovers were Tennessee's lifeline in the first half of a wild shootout Saturday between Georgia's fabled hedges.

And turnovers were also the Vols' undoing in the fourth quarter, allowing No. 5 Georgia to dodge an upset and escape with a 51-44 victory.

A Sanford Stadium crowd of 92,746 and a national CBS audience were treated to dramatic ebbs and flows of momentum, 1,038 yards of offense, 13 touchdowns and seven turnovers.

Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC), a 13-point favorite, led for all but 42 seconds but had to fight off repeated challenges from the Vols (3-2, 0-2) in the fourth quarter.

"I think we showed that we have some resilience in this ball team,'' said UT coach Derek Dooley. "But we have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball.

"We're leaving here a better team than when we got here.''

Dooley's unsuccessful return to his hometown revealed reasons for optimism. For one, a 197-yard rushing effort.

But it also further exposed Tennessee's defensive liabilities. Georgia rolled up 560 yards of offense.

With none other than Herschel Walker watching from the sideline, the Bulldogs gashed the Vols for touchdown runs of 75 and 72 yards by Keith Marshall and 51 yards by Todd Gurley.

The 51 points were the most allowed by Tennessee in a non-overtime game since Florida's 59-20 romp in 2007.

"We'll go back and look at our personnel,'' Dooley said. "If we have to make some changes then we will make changes.''

The only relief Tennessee's beleaguered defense provided in the first half was producing three Georgia turnovers. All three led to Vol touchdowns.

"The game didn't have to be as dramatic as it turned out to be,'' said Georgia coach Mark Richt.

"Tennessee played extremely hard. I think Derek's got 'em going in the right direction. They're going to be a pain in the rear for some time to come.''

The Vols were in fact a pain in the rear Saturday, scrambling back from an early 27-10 deficit to take a brief 30-27 lead late in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs got a 50-yard field goal from Marshall Morgan to end the half then resumed their assault in the third quarter, scoring touchdowns on all three possessions.

Two were passes from Aaron Murray to Michael Bennett. The third, the one that proved to be the winning margin, came on a 72-yard run by freshman Marshall.

Tennessee interrupted the onslaught momentarily with Cordarrelle Patterson's serpentine 46-yard TD run but entered the fourth quarter trailing 51-37.

An impressive, run-oriented drive ended in a 9-yard touchdown by Rajion Neal. That left it 51-44 with still 8:56 to play.

The scoring was done, though.

Georgia managed only one first down in the fourth quarter. Tennessee's final three possessions ended in Bray turnovers.

The first was an interception by Sanders Commings at the Georgia 36 with 5:55 left.

But the Vols' defense dug in for a quick stop and forced a punt.

Tennessee drove into Georgia territory again, but Bray, swarmed by a furious Bulldog pass rush, fumbled with 1:22 to play

UT got one last desperate chance, but Commings intercepted a Bray pass with 7 seconds on the clock.

Bray, who was also intercepted in the second quarter, finished 24-of-45 passing for 281 yards. Patterson dropped what would have been a 54-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Neal, continuing his evolution to hard-nosed running back, carried 23 times for 104 yards.

A rout seemed inevitable early, so inept was Tennessee's defense. Georgia, getting TD runs of 2, 1 and 51 yards from Gurley and a 75-yarder from Marshall, led 27-10 with the second quarter barely underway.

"We got hit by a freight train,'' Dooley said.

The hit wasn't fatal. After Herman Lathers sacked Murray and forced a fumble at the Georgia 8, Bray connected with Zach Rogers on a 4-yard TD pass.

Minutes later, Darrington Sentimore recovered a Georgia fumble at the Bulldogs' 18. Bray's 10-yard touchdown pass to Neal gave UT a startling 30-27 lead.

The Vols' earlier scores came on Byron Moore's 35-yard interception return for a touchdown and linebacker A.J. Johnson's 1-yard Wildcat run.

Georgia's barrage was balanced: 282 yards rushing, 278 passing.

Tennessee allowed a 70-plus-yard touchdown run for the third consecutive game. Marshall churned for 164 yards. Gurley, also a freshman, added 130.

Tennessee's kicking game also lacked a winning edge.

Derrick Brodus kicked a 34-yard field goal but missed from 28 yards and also missed an extra point. Michael Palardy kicked the final conversion.

Matt Darr helped change the first-half momentum with a 53-yard punt to the Georgia 1. But he also had a punt blocked in the second half.

The Vols have a week off to try and figure out how to tighten up the defensive lapses. They play at unbeaten Mississippi State on Oct. 13.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 188

mcdevitt#229126 writes:

Ugh! Why two turnovers in the seven minutes. Whats wrong with the defense. Could we possibly give up any more big plays

1986sugarbowl writes:

I thought it was a hard fought game, and I think we could have won this. Hoping Miss St. and South Carolina will be wins. If they play against them like they did today, minus the big plays on D, I think we will win. Tough loss today!!!

HeyWhitey writes:

Ought to drop Sunseri back off at Alabama on their way back.

movol53 writes:

I know many have stated that Bray, Hunter and Patterson are going to the NFL and won't be back next year and I ask why? None of these players have shown they are game changers when they are among other D 1 schools. Bray has not to date won a single "Big Game", today Hunter was seldom able to get away from coverage (oh by the way is he "hurt"?); he just does not have that speed he had before the knee injury and Patterson also has trouble getting away from coverage. Both receivers have dropped several "catchable passes" that were in situations that we needed them to step up. Seems to me they all need to stay and improve their skills - - because right now I don't see them getting the chance to pay on Sunday. Overall, the team did not give up today and they carried the fight to the Bulldogs; there are still many things that need to be fixed; on both sides of the ball. And in the kicking game.

RoadTrip writes:

I'm sure Richt would love to have Dools accross the field from him for years to come. And to think, 3 years ago UT fans were worried that UGA would hire him at some point to replace Richt when he was thought to be losing his job.

OLROCKYTOP writes:

It always seems like we are just a play or two away on both sides of the ball from winning. Games like this teach you how to win games like this in the future. If we correct our mistakes we could win nine games this season, but I believe 8 is more realistic.

SIMSVOL writes:

I am so proud of the Tennessee VOLS tonight. No one gave them a chance leading up to game time - including half the clueless yahoos on this board. And while the defense had a tough first half, the team was tenacious and pushed through to take the lead just before half time. This team is truly fighting through adversity and in the end Tennessee lost the game, Georgia didn't win it. Tennessee fell short - thanks to a few key turnovers. As a true VOLS fan, I see this team making huge improvements over the last two years and I'm proud to be a VOL. I think this team learned a lot today - and I think they will go to Starkville and win a big game against Mississippi State. Dooley also showed why he is a great coach. Good play calling tonight - the running game took a HUGE step tonight. Go VOLS!!!!

volfanwestcoast writes:

While I'm proud of the team for playing until the very end, our woeful defense and kicking game are mind boggling.

I am simply numb at this point. The heavens aren't aligned and it's hard to see if they ever will be again.

SIMSVOL writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

I'm sure Richt would love to have Dools accross the field from him for years to come. And to think, 3 years ago UT fans were worried that UGA would hire him at some point to replace Richt when he was thought to be losing his job.

It's people like RoadTrip here - whether he's a troll or so-called fan - who is just absolutely simply clueless. Coach Richt crawled out of Sanford Stadium thanking his lucky stars he got a W - because that's what it took for Georgia to win. As for Dooley - he's a hell of a great coach - and one day perhaps you yahoos will figure that out. Go VOLS!!!

Smokey91 writes:

in response to 1986sugarbowl:

I thought it was a hard fought game, and I think we could have won this. Hoping Miss St. and South Carolina will be wins. If they play against them like they did today, minus the big plays on D, I think we will win. Tough loss today!!!

we win this game minus the big plays and turnovers (and a decent kicking game).

pcorange writes:

IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON!!!! We will be cellar dwellers until we replace this coaching staff with men who know how to get it done.

VOLPhan writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

I am so proud of the Tennessee VOLS tonight. No one gave them a chance leading up to game time - including half the clueless yahoos on this board. And while the defense had a tough first half, the team was tenacious and pushed through to take the lead just before half time. This team is truly fighting through adversity and in the end Tennessee lost the game, Georgia didn't win it. Tennessee fell short - thanks to a few key turnovers. As a true VOLS fan, I see this team making huge improvements over the last two years and I'm proud to be a VOL. I think this team learned a lot today - and I think they will go to Starkville and win a big game against Mississippi State. Dooley also showed why he is a great coach. Good play calling tonight - the running game took a HUGE step tonight. Go VOLS!!!!

Agreed SIMS... I thought they played tough for 4 quarters and gave Georgia all they could handle...

pcorange writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

I am so proud of the Tennessee VOLS tonight. No one gave them a chance leading up to game time - including half the clueless yahoos on this board. And while the defense had a tough first half, the team was tenacious and pushed through to take the lead just before half time. This team is truly fighting through adversity and in the end Tennessee lost the game, Georgia didn't win it. Tennessee fell short - thanks to a few key turnovers. As a true VOLS fan, I see this team making huge improvements over the last two years and I'm proud to be a VOL. I think this team learned a lot today - and I think they will go to Starkville and win a big game against Mississippi State. Dooley also showed why he is a great coach. Good play calling tonight - the running game took a HUGE step tonight. Go VOLS!!!!

"and in the end Tennessee lost the game, Georgia didn't win it"

How many times is Tennessee going to lose a game they could and should win before we admit that it's not getting any better?

Karma70 writes:

Give these kids a break! And I do mean kids! They are student athletes. I'm sure they hate losing as bad as the fans! They battled hard today, that was obvious. Bray and the rest of the offense put up a valiant effort. I for one am proud of our team. The defense is going to come around. Just be patient. Good job guys and in a hostile environment! Go Vols! I wish half the posters on here had played football at one time in their lives. You can't imagine the pressure they face at such a young age!

fearthehound writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I would suggest you switch to Chianti. Merlot is for, umm shall we say, sissy boys. The Dooleave does give you away, homo.

99gator writes:

seriously, some of you need to get a grip on reality.

right now, any run that gets to the second level is going to the end zone.

tennessee took advantage of turnovers and made a game of this thing and showed a lot of heart.

but, you never "should win" any kind of game when the defense is a paved road to the end zone.

i seriously don't know how y'all can watch what i saw and be positive.

i seriously think tennessee has given up more 50+ yard plays this season than florida has given up in the last 5 years. maybe more

the offense showed a lot today after struggling a little bit early. they showed more balance than they have showed in some time.

but, you're going to be in trouble every time you step on the field with that defense.

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

What could have Dooley done different? The defense was terrible unless GA has two Heisman winners. I thoughtI he kept calm, called a decent game, but unless he suits up and tackles someone, it wouldn't matter. Get off his case, he needs players, and more players to compete in this league. I know, let's start the rumor he is getting fired, that should get the recruits wanting to commit to UT.

Get Real

Prostar writes:

It's been a long time since our kicking game in all facets of the game was this bad. Punts blocked, missed field goals, missed extra points. And 200 yards on the ground for Georgia in only 3 running plays. Are we ever going to learn? I sure am getting tired of watching the Vols lose games and only beating those that are worse off than we are.

kd45music writes:

in response to movol53:

I know many have stated that Bray, Hunter and Patterson are going to the NFL and won't be back next year and I ask why? None of these players have shown they are game changers when they are among other D 1 schools. Bray has not to date won a single "Big Game", today Hunter was seldom able to get away from coverage (oh by the way is he "hurt"?); he just does not have that speed he had before the knee injury and Patterson also has trouble getting away from coverage. Both receivers have dropped several "catchable passes" that were in situations that we needed them to step up. Seems to me they all need to stay and improve their skills - - because right now I don't see them getting the chance to pay on Sunday. Overall, the team did not give up today and they carried the fight to the Bulldogs; there are still many things that need to be fixed; on both sides of the ball. And in the kicking game.

Actually, Hunter was open all game. But I agree that none of the three you mentioned are ready for the NFL, which could be good for us, as they'll be back and possibly improve.

TheFuj writes:

We have turned into Ole Miss. Many are happy that we kept it close. We thought we could win, we almost won, but bottom line was another loss.

I want Dooley to win. He is a good guy, but bottom line is we do not win. Do you think it will be better next year. At AL and FL. I think we go to Oregon. All these teams are recruiting big time players. We are doing ok in recruiting, but the teams we play are doing great. The FL, GA, SC, AL, etc are top 10 in recruiting and we are top 25.

Bottom line is another SEC loss. Would love to see a win against Miss. St and SC in October. I guess I have just accepted a loss to AL. But again, like Ole Miss. The game starts 0-0. We can win, I will probably be there screaming my head off for a win, but will probably walk away saying--wait till next year.

movol53 writes:

in response to kd45music:

Actually, Hunter was open all game. But I agree that none of the three you mentioned are ready for the NFL, which could be good for us, as they'll be back and possibly improve.

If Hunter was open all game why didn't Bray throw it his way more often? Hunter is Bray's favorite target.

wallingdad writes:

it will be interesting to see if the defense plays the same next game. they gave away so many big plays i was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs every time Ga ran those two freshmen phenoms.

our offense showed a lot of heart. and i thought we did not quit in the face of adversity.

TheFuj writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

It's people like RoadTrip here - whether he's a troll or so-called fan - who is just absolutely simply clueless. Coach Richt crawled out of Sanford Stadium thanking his lucky stars he got a W - because that's what it took for Georgia to win. As for Dooley - he's a hell of a great coach - and one day perhaps you yahoos will figure that out. Go VOLS!!!

Hard to say Dooley is a "hell of a great coach". The loss to a very bad KY game last year would say otherwise. I think he is something like 4-13 is SEC play for us. How many assistant coaches left last year, and I don't think one left for a promotion.
Dooley is a good guy. Just not sure "a hell of a great coach".

drorange writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

It's people like RoadTrip here - whether he's a troll or so-called fan - who is just absolutely simply clueless. Coach Richt crawled out of Sanford Stadium thanking his lucky stars he got a W - because that's what it took for Georgia to win. As for Dooley - he's a hell of a great coach - and one day perhaps you yahoos will figure that out. Go VOLS!!!

He is a hell of a great coach. Once again we fail to adjust at the half and continue to give up record breaking yardage plays. Yeah he is a hell of a coach.

6972 writes:

There is a lot of work to be done on the hill, whoever the coach is. I could not believe 3 tds on runs of 50 plus yards. Gary Danielson on CBS had some very interesting comments. He couldn't believe one of those was on a dive play and the runner went untouched. Another, where he described the tailback was behind Bray in the shotgun 90% of the time is a run. Good luck Vols rest of the year. We are going to need some in Oct.

orangeintampa writes:

I have to say with almost 300 hundred yards against us in the first quarter it is amazing the outcome. That being said I'm proud of the way we played tonight.You can not put this one on CDD our defense and the missed opportunities on offense cost us this one.No matter what we are a better team but our defense needs to be able to stop the run bottom line.

crzyivan writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

I am so proud of the Tennessee VOLS tonight. No one gave them a chance leading up to game time - including half the clueless yahoos on this board. And while the defense had a tough first half, the team was tenacious and pushed through to take the lead just before half time. This team is truly fighting through adversity and in the end Tennessee lost the game, Georgia didn't win it. Tennessee fell short - thanks to a few key turnovers. As a true VOLS fan, I see this team making huge improvements over the last two years and I'm proud to be a VOL. I think this team learned a lot today - and I think they will go to Starkville and win a big game against Mississippi State. Dooley also showed why he is a great coach. Good play calling tonight - the running game took a HUGE step tonight. Go VOLS!!!!

We actually spent 60 in the box and ugay was scared. The #5 team in the country just figured out they are not #5. Miss State here we come.

orange_eVOLution writes:

A brutal battle, crazy game, turnovers and all. But I am proud of the fight we gave today. It could have gotten WAY ugly and done early. Our guys hung in there ugly and had a chance to tie or win with several defensive stops late in the fourth quarter. We lost by 7 points to the number five team (very talented, by the way) in the nation in their backyard. If any of three plays are completed passes (Patterson, Hunter, or Hunter again), the game would have easily gone into overtime. This team never gave up! We're getting closer to where we want to be.

GO VOLS!!

fearthehound writes:

in response to 99gator:

seriously, some of you need to get a grip on reality.

right now, any run that gets to the second level is going to the end zone.

tennessee took advantage of turnovers and made a game of this thing and showed a lot of heart.

but, you never "should win" any kind of game when the defense is a paved road to the end zone.

i seriously don't know how y'all can watch what i saw and be positive.

i seriously think tennessee has given up more 50+ yard plays this season than florida has given up in the last 5 years. maybe more

the offense showed a lot today after struggling a little bit early. they showed more balance than they have showed in some time.

but, you're going to be in trouble every time you step on the field with that defense.

Did Florida play today? I'm not sure, and I've never felt the need to go on a Florida site and check their game or post or anything else, but I guess you're different. Anyway, my understanding is, when you switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4, things don't go very smoothly early on. I'm thinking I read that about Georgia and Alabama's switch. Hopefully, by the end of the year, and certainly by next year, our defense should catch up with our offense and the big breakdowns will cease. Let's hope, anyway--at least those of us who post on this site because we love the Vols...

I can't even imagine going on a Gator or other site and giving my opinion of their team, but hey, I guess we're all different, huh?

Vol-in-GA writes:

Doesn't it really come down to wins and losses? Last year one SEC win. I will judge Dooley on improvement on that number, and just beating Vandy and Ky won't cut it. I feel he's been here long enough that moral victories no longer count.
With that said, I was proud of the fight for four quarters in today's loss.

pcorange writes:

in response to 99gator:

seriously, some of you need to get a grip on reality.

right now, any run that gets to the second level is going to the end zone.

tennessee took advantage of turnovers and made a game of this thing and showed a lot of heart.

but, you never "should win" any kind of game when the defense is a paved road to the end zone.

i seriously don't know how y'all can watch what i saw and be positive.

i seriously think tennessee has given up more 50+ yard plays this season than florida has given up in the last 5 years. maybe more

the offense showed a lot today after struggling a little bit early. they showed more balance than they have showed in some time.

but, you're going to be in trouble every time you step on the field with that defense.

Shame it takes a Gator fan to give the most honest and candid assessment of this team that we could get. I absolutely agree with every word of your post.

fearthehound writes:

in response to TheFuj:

We have turned into Ole Miss. Many are happy that we kept it close. We thought we could win, we almost won, but bottom line was another loss.

I want Dooley to win. He is a good guy, but bottom line is we do not win. Do you think it will be better next year. At AL and FL. I think we go to Oregon. All these teams are recruiting big time players. We are doing ok in recruiting, but the teams we play are doing great. The FL, GA, SC, AL, etc are top 10 in recruiting and we are top 25.

Bottom line is another SEC loss. Would love to see a win against Miss. St and SC in October. I guess I have just accepted a loss to AL. But again, like Ole Miss. The game starts 0-0. We can win, I will probably be there screaming my head off for a win, but will probably walk away saying--wait till next year.

Go have a drink.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to 99gator:

seriously, some of you need to get a grip on reality.

right now, any run that gets to the second level is going to the end zone.

tennessee took advantage of turnovers and made a game of this thing and showed a lot of heart.

but, you never "should win" any kind of game when the defense is a paved road to the end zone.

i seriously don't know how y'all can watch what i saw and be positive.

i seriously think tennessee has given up more 50+ yard plays this season than florida has given up in the last 5 years. maybe more

the offense showed a lot today after struggling a little bit early. they showed more balance than they have showed in some time.

but, you're going to be in trouble every time you step on the field with that defense.

It's our first year with this defense. It will be our second year when we visit Gainesville in 2013...

Let's see how the Gaters fare with Georgia in Jacksonville this season.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope whoever you're with isn't offended by that.

pcorange writes:

in response to GainesvilleVol1:

What could have Dooley done different? The defense was terrible unless GA has two Heisman winners. I thoughtI he kept calm, called a decent game, but unless he suits up and tackles someone, it wouldn't matter. Get off his case, he needs players, and more players to compete in this league. I know, let's start the rumor he is getting fired, that should get the recruits wanting to commit to UT.

Get Real

Come on, man. We are a highlight reel for our opposition. We are toast recruiting against Bama, UF, Carolina, UGA, and LSU. We will do good to hold our own against Ole Miss, Vandy, and Kentucky. Recruits don't give a flying d@mn what we say on this message board, they care about the product that this coaching staff puts out. They care about their NFL prospects. They care about their chances to win a championship. They care about W-L records. They care about not being the laughing stock of ESPN SportsCenter every Sunday morning. No chance we can recruit the talent we have to have to win in this league with this coach at the helm. He must be a smooth talker to recruit as well as he does, but the body of evidence on the field will begin to overcome his ability to smooth talk.

joevol33 writes:

I was proud the vols hug in there what i wasn't proud of was dooley. I was at the game sitting field level with a great view of him the whole game, he acted as though he could care less. Sunseri was tge one in the huddles during time outs i seen dooley clap more during georgia td's than tennessee's. I have supported him from day one but to personally watch him fold his arms and have a look like he'd rather be at his parent's really bothered me.

wallingdad writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

It's people like RoadTrip here - whether he's a troll or so-called fan - who is just absolutely simply clueless. Coach Richt crawled out of Sanford Stadium thanking his lucky stars he got a W - because that's what it took for Georgia to win. As for Dooley - he's a hell of a great coach - and one day perhaps you yahoos will figure that out. Go VOLS!!!

A great coach? based on.....??? winning percentage??? moral victories???

they played well but please wait a little while before declaring him a great coach. why not wait for him to at least have a winning recored before you label him great.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to joevol33:

I was proud the vols hug in there what i wasn't proud of was dooley. I was at the game sitting field level with a great view of him the whole game, he acted as though he could care less. Sunseri was tge one in the huddles during time outs i seen dooley clap more during georgia td's than tennessee's. I have supported him from day one but to personally watch him fold his arms and have a look like he'd rather be at his parent's really bothered me.

Are you really picking on Dooley's body language? Really?? I was at the game, too. I saw a team that fought through adversity instead of caving in when things looked almost out of hand. Get a new perspective, man.

traderjoe writes:

How did Bama win with Sunseri? In 40+ years of watching the Vols, I've never seen a TN defense play such uninspired ball. There is absolutely no intensity. The talent pool wasn't this low a couple of years ago. In fact, I thought the defense prior to Sunseri was a light in the tunnel for TN. How do you explain what has hanppened this year? If we had any kind of defense whatsoever, we'd be undefeated. I can't wait to see what the experts say about the downfall of our defense this year.

fearthehound writes:

in response to joevol33:

I was proud the vols hug in there what i wasn't proud of was dooley. I was at the game sitting field level with a great view of him the whole game, he acted as though he could care less. Sunseri was tge one in the huddles during time outs i seen dooley clap more during georgia td's than tennessee's. I have supported him from day one but to personally watch him fold his arms and have a look like he'd rather be at his parent's really bothered me.

Yeah, that's what I'm guessing. The whole time on the sideline today, he was standing there wishing he was over at his parents' house. Sleep it off.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to SIMSVOL:

I am so proud of the Tennessee VOLS tonight. No one gave them a chance leading up to game time - including half the clueless yahoos on this board. And while the defense had a tough first half, the team was tenacious and pushed through to take the lead just before half time. This team is truly fighting through adversity and in the end Tennessee lost the game, Georgia didn't win it. Tennessee fell short - thanks to a few key turnovers. As a true VOLS fan, I see this team making huge improvements over the last two years and I'm proud to be a VOL. I think this team learned a lot today - and I think they will go to Starkville and win a big game against Mississippi State. Dooley also showed why he is a great coach. Good play calling tonight - the running game took a HUGE step tonight. Go VOLS!!!!

SMDH, we give up 50 points and we're okay with it because we scored 44. I don't know what to say.

TucsonVol writes:

John Gruden would love to coach college ball again....something to think about!

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to traderjoe:

How did Bama win with Sunseri? In 40+ years of watching the Vols, I've never seen a TN defense play such uninspired ball. There is absolutely no intensity. The talent pool wasn't this low a couple of years ago. In fact, I thought the defense prior to Sunseri was a light in the tunnel for TN. How do you explain what has hanppened this year? If we had any kind of defense whatsoever, we'd be undefeated. I can't wait to see what the experts say about the downfall of our defense this year.

You explain it by this is the first year of Sunseri's defense. Georgia had the same problem adjusting to a new 3-4 scheme when Grantham came on. Go do some due diligence before you harp next time. And maybe you weren't watching the end of the game when Tennessee stopped Georgia cold on their last two possessions.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

SMDH, we give up 50 points and we're okay with it because we scored 44. I don't know what to say.

That's obvious.

TucsonVol writes:

There is absolutely no excuse for such a terrible defensive performance! The players need to "Football Up!"

TooDlems writes:

in response to HeyWhitey:

Ought to drop Sunseri back off at Alabama on their way back.

You can't blame Sal yet, there are only about 3 SEC caliber players on that D. The rest should be playing at UT-Martin or Tennessee Tech.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to TucsonVol:

There is absolutely no excuse for such a terrible defensive performance! The players need to "Football Up!"

I agree. If we even played somewhat better defense today... we win. I'm just saying that at least they didn't give up, despite their early poor performance. They stopped Georgia on both of their last two drives at the end of the game. Had it gone to overtime... I think the Vols would have won.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to HeyWhitey:

Ought to drop Sunseri back off at Alabama on their way back.

Hate to break it to you, but Alabama isn't on the way back from Athens....not even close.

Aside from that, didn't Sunseri's defense also stuff Georgia on three consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter, and create those turnovers in the first half?

I think what we're seeing with the defense getting hit with those big plays is the growing pains we hoped we wouldn't have with the 3-4 defense.

OKVOL24 writes:

At some point people should stop placing all of the blame on the coaches. Players have to step up and make plays.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to OKVOL24:

At some point people should stop placing all of the blame on the coaches. Players have to step up and make plays.

It was not a coach who dropped a sure TD in the first half.

It was not a coach who missed an open Hunter twice in a row.

It was not a coach who made a very bad decision on first down to force it, resulting in an interception.

I agree with you completely. I was even happier with Chaney's play-calling today.

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