Good gray-cious: Georgia beats Vols in OT, 34-31

Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton (23) breaks up a touchdown pass intended for Georgia split end Michael Bennett (82) during the first half at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton (23) breaks up a touchdown pass intended for Georgia split end Michael Bennett (82) during the first half at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Vol defenders Corey Miller and Brian Randolph talk Georgia loss

Tennessee tiptoed to the brink of a monumental upset but let it slip away Saturday.

Georgia’s Marshall Morgan hit a 42-yard field goal in overtime to salvage a 34-31 win before a crowd of 102,455 at Neyland Stadium and a CBS national audience.

The Vols (3-3, 0-2 SEC) appeared in good shape to end an 18-game streak of losing to ranked teams when Rajion Neal scored on a 7-yard run with 1:54 left to put UT on top 31-24.

But No. 6 Georgia (4-1, 3-1 SEC) marched for the tying score when Aaron Murray hit Rantavious Wooten for a 2-yard TD pass with only 5 seconds left in regulation.

Tennessee had a heartbreaking moment in the first overtime when Pig Howard at first was ruled to have scored a touchdown, diving to the pylon at the right corner of the end zone.

But a review showed Howard had lost control of the ball before it crossed the goal line. The ball bounced out of the side of the end zone, essentially a fumble and a touchback.

With its turn on offense, Georgia set up Morgan, who had earlier connected on a 56-yard field goal, the longest in Neyland Stadium history.

Tennessee trailed 17-3 at the half, but forced a tie at 24-24 when Neal scored from the 1 with 11:15 to play, capping a 75-yard drive that included a 43-yard Neal run on fourth-and-1.

Then Neal gave its first lead but the Vols couldn’t hold on to it.

Tennessee rallied in dramatic fashion in the third quarter to tie the game, 17-17.

First, Justin Worley connected with Marquez North on a 19-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-10.

After an exhange of punts, Georgia was backed up inside its 20 when Jalen Reeves-Maybin blocked Colin Barber’s punt. Devaun Swafford chased down the ball and scored with a 15-yard return.

It didn’t stay tied long.

Murray broke a 57-yard run to the UT 3 and Brendan Douglas scored from there. One play into the fourth quarter, Georgia led 24-17.

The two critical plays of the first half that widened the UT deficit involved a Tennessee penalty and a Georgia fourth-down conversion.

Georgia’s opening possession ended with Morgan kicking the longest field-goal in Neyland Stadium history, 56 yards.

It was soon 10-0 after a 12-play Georgia drive culminated with Murray flipping a 1-yard TD pass to Chris Conley.

Tennessee finally began to mount an answer early in the second quarter. Creative uses of Pig Howard moved the Vols into Georgia territory and after a couple of runs by Neal, it was second-and-goal at the Georgia 3.

An incomplete pass made it third-and-goal, then Tiny Richardson was flagged for a false start, moving the ball back to the 8.

From there, Worley fired incomplete and the Vols had to settle for a 26-yard Michael Palardy field goal.

Georgia went right back on the march. Tennessee thought it had a stop at fourth-and-4 at the UT 39.

Rather than a pooch punt or another 56-yard field-goal try, the Bulldogs went for it. Murray hit Conley for a 24-yard completion and a first down at the UT 15, deflating the crowd.

Murray got the score on a 4-yard pass to Wooten.

Instead of a 10-7 or possibly 13-7 spread, Georgia led 17-3 and that’s where it stayed at the half.

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Comments » 12

Tippet writes:

Vol Nation should be proud of the boys today. No one gave them a chance, including me, but they proved me wrong. Great job Vols, good things are a coming.

Caspian writes:

"Watched" the game on the ESPN website from the Salt Lake City airport. So proud of the Vols. You deserved better, but you won a lot of hearts today. Some major growing pains and terrific fight. Congratulations!

BigVolFanForLife writes:

All I can say is what an effort. I'm not one for moral victories but if I was this would be it. I was even proud of Worley. Butch definitely has this team going in the right direction. Go Vols!

underthehill writes:

My hopes for this season are to see a well coached team play with great effort..I saw that today..I think all Vol fans are encouraged by the heart this team displayed today..

ThirdCreek writes:

As heartbreaking as the Vols' loss to LSU back in 2010...also with a new head coach.

murrayvol writes:

Florida was almost a turning point. Even in defeat this one really is. Had a chance to win against an outstanding team.

I'm proud of these guys. Better days are coming.

What a great atmosphere for the biggest recruiting weekend of the year.

cltvol writes:

in response to ThirdCreek:

As heartbreaking as the Vols' loss to LSU back in 2010...also with a new head coach.

thinking the same thing, but believe new coach can build from this one, where prior coach it was career highlight

wigmeister writes:

What a great effort! Heartbreaking loss, but the kids played their hearts out today. That is all you can ask of them. Hope they can give the same effort in all the games to follow. With the new commits, we will be a force to deal with soon!

One comment. On the option play, Worley always hands off. The opposing teams know he won't run allowing them to key on the running back. He had some big openings today if he would have taken them. Can't be scared; have to run when it is there.

MtnGal writes:

Sure hope some of those recruits who were visiting today will decide to wear orange --or gray -- and help change the outcome the next time the Vols play Georgia.

southernbelle79 writes:

in response to wigmeister:

What a great effort! Heartbreaking loss, but the kids played their hearts out today. That is all you can ask of them. Hope they can give the same effort in all the games to follow. With the new commits, we will be a force to deal with soon!

One comment. On the option play, Worley always hands off. The opposing teams know he won't run allowing them to key on the running back. He had some big openings today if he would have taken them. Can't be scared; have to run when it is there.

Worley did run once for a big gain. The problem is he is as slow as Christmas, so if he tried to run too often, he would be thrown for a loss and risk injury. With no credible backup quarterback, we don't want to see that. I credit the quarterback coach for Worley's turnaround. He improved both his throwing accuracy dramatically, and he didn't appear to be telegraphing every throw.

wigmeister writes:

in response to southernbelle79:

Worley did run once for a big gain. The problem is he is as slow as Christmas, so if he tried to run too often, he would be thrown for a loss and risk injury. With no credible backup quarterback, we don't want to see that. I credit the quarterback coach for Worley's turnaround. He improved both his throwing accuracy dramatically, and he didn't appear to be telegraphing every throw.

Agreed. Worley played much better this week. Hopefully that will give him a boost of confidence for the games to come. Hope CBJ and crew can build off this close loss and not go in the tank as in the past few seasons.

johnlg00 writes:

Worley did well Saturday. I agree that he had a couple of other opportunities to run, but a better choice might be to hand off to a back on a "back-side" run in the opposite direction off that sweep action. The Vols have often run that setup this year, but in this game they seemed to do more with it than they have in the past. The whole offense looked a good deal crisper than they have yet this year.

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