Vols no match for Georgia


Photo by Dave Boyd Georgia running back Tyson Browning eludes Tennesseeƕs Mark Jones.

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com
KNOXVILLE -- The only thing Neyland Stadium and the Tennessee Volunteers could see Saturday night was red.
The Vols had their chance to take a lead Saturday night in the first half, but their neighbor dogged it and took it to the house. In fact, the game was almost reminiscent of last season for the big orange.
In a battle for the SEC East lead, the Georgia Bulldogs rallied after a 94-yard fumble return to end the first half with three quick scores at the beginning of the second frame to pack things away with a 41-14 victory at Neyland Stadium.
"I'm very, very disappointed in the team," said Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer. "I thought we started off well and they swung the momentum and we didn't get that score in. We've got an open date now and it's a good time for soul servicing and evaluating who we are and what we do."
"Turnovers obviously put us in terrible, terrible situations and it wasn't the phase we wanted in the evening," he said. "Georgia is a good football team and we compliment them. We've got some work to do and we will go from there."
The butt-whipping carried the Volunteers into a fist fight after Casey Clausen was intercepted twice in the third quarter and almost half of Neyland Stadium went home.
Georgia's Heisman candidate quarterback David Greene had a big game with 228 yards throwing and a score against Tennessee. The biggest numbers came on the ground where Tennessee only had 22 yards rushing through the end of the third quarter.
Three different Bulldogs ran touchdowns in the game. Defensively, the 'Dogs were all over Tennessee, led by David Pollack, who was everywhere the entire game.
The Bulldogs had a lot of success at the beginning of the first half against the Vols, with quarterback Greene throwing for 89 yards in the first quarter.
Georgia tailback Tyson Browning was trouble for the Vols from the beginning, making key receptions out of the backfield to set up his squad.
A Cedric Houston fumble early during the Vols, second drive set up Greene with good field position as he connected with Ben Watson and Damien Gary to set up a 32-yard field goal from Billy Bennett.
Tennessee was plagued again on the next drive as a 59-yard touchdown pass from Clausen to C.J. Fayton was called back on penalties, eventually setting up a punt.
The Bulldogs then began a drive which carried into the second quarter. Greene was sacked for an 11-yard loss to open the stanza, but he immediately bounced back with completions to Browning and Jeremy Thomas.
Receptions put the rival in scoring position at the beginning of the second quarter, where Greene touched Michael Johnson with an 11-yard touchdown to take a 10-0 lead.
It didn't take long for the Volunteers to respond.
After no gain from a Jabari Davis run, Clausen aired it out to Mark Jones, who ripped the ball out of the hands of Georgia defender Decory Bryant and sprinted 90-yards for the longest pass play in school history to close the gap at three.
After an exchange of possessions, Georgia was on the prowl again with runs from Michael Cooper. Greene completed two more key throws, but penalties made the squad settle for another field goal when Bennett nailed a 44-yarder.
The Volunteers then began at their own five and made their way down the field on some Clausen passes and big penalties against the Bulldogs. The Vols made their way inside the Georgia five as the clock ran down and tried to punch it into the end zone with a Houston run.
Things didn't quite go as Tennessee would've hoped as Clausen turned a possible halftime lead into a two touchdown deficit.
The quarterback fumbled on the next handoff and Georgia's Sean Jones picked it up and returned it 92 yards to pay dirt to swing the momentum back to the 'Dogs with a 20-7 lead at the half.
"It's a play we've scored a lot of touchdowns in the past and we felt like we could score again," Fulmer said. "It was just one play tonight."
The Bulldogs kept the momentum running in the second half after stopping the first Tennessee possession when Greene paced the squad down the field with key receptions from Reggie Brown to set up a 6-yard score from Michael Cooper to take a quick 27-7 edge.
On the next Volunteer play, Clausen threw Georgia a wobbler and Odell Thurman returned it to the five for the Bulldogs. Tyson Browning used two runs to get in the end zone and it only got worse for Vols fans.
Clausen was drilled on the next play and had a pass batted and picked off by Georgia lineman Robert Geathers. It led to an all-out brawl and it only made the 'Dogs madder.
Gregg Lumpkin blasted the Vols on the next Georgia run, scampering 22 yards for a score to put the Bulldogs on top 41-7.
Georgia's second-string offense took over at that point in the third quarter and the Vols got their first big defensive play from freshman defensive back Corey Campbell who saved another Bulldog touchdown with an interception off D.J. Shockley.
Tennessee's offense continued to get manhandled by the Bulldogs into the fourth quarter, but finally found success with some Cedric Houston runs against the reserve defenders.
But even they pulled out the stops when they counted.
Tennessee eventually subbed their reserves in the game as the crowd dropped from 107,000 to 10,000. However, the Vols put more points on the board with 46 seconds left as C.J. Leak found Brent Smith with a touchdown pass.
But the damage was already done and Georgia handed Tennessee one of its worst losses in series history.