Tennessee and Georgia provided us with yet another classic thriller on Saturday, riddled with emotional highs and lows. The Bulldogs were able to pull out a 34-31 OT victory in a tremendously hard-fought contest behind QB Aaron Murray, despite a plethora of injuries.
In this tale of two halves, Georgia took a 17-3 lead into halftime. Tennessee had trouble moving the ball in the first half, only mustering a Michael Palardy FG. Georgia started off the scoring with a 56 yard FG from Marshall Morgan and followed that up with a beautiful one-handed TD catch by Michael Conley to take a 10-0 lead. Following the Palardy FG, Murray connected with Rantavious Wooten to move the lead to 17-3.
The scoring in the 3rd quarter was all Tennessee. A spectacular diving catch by Marquez North in the endzone made it a 17-10 game. After forcing Georgia to attempt a punt, Vols freshman Jalen Reeves-Maybin blocked a punt and it was scooped up by fellow freshman Devaun Swafford for a game-tying TD.
The Bulldogs opened up the 4th quarter with a Brendan Douglas 3 yard TD run, following a big QB run by Aaron Murray, to take a 24-17 lead. The Vols quickly answered with a Rajion Neal 1 yard TD run. The Neal TD was set up by a big 4th down conversion from the Vols own 34 yard line, in which Neal took a pitch on a mis-direction play and raced down to the Bulldog 23 yard line. After forcing a punt, the Vols took 6 minutes and 42 seconds off the clock to take a 31-24 lead on a Rajion Neal 7 yard TD run.
With just under two minutes to work with, Aaron Murray showed just why he is a Heisman candidate. Murray led the Bulldogs down the field, capitalizing on two Tennessee penalties in the redzone. The game tying score came with 5 seconds on the clock, when Murray found Wooten on a 2 yard pass to send the game to OT.
Starting on the 25 yard line, Tennessee QB Justin Worley connected with Jason Croom on a 3rd and 5 down to the 10 yard line. On 2nd and goal, Pig Howard took an end-around and turned the corner towards the endzone. On a tremendous effort to reach the pylon, Howard was initially given the TD. Upon further review, it was deemed Howard lost control of the ball into the endzone and Georgia was awarded the ball. A stuffed run, incomplete pass, and a second stuffed run for the Bulldogs set up a potential game-winning 42 yard FG attempt for Morgan. Morgan proceeded to rip out Vol fan’s hearts, as he split the uprights, giving Georgia the 34-31 victory.
With the victory, Georgia improves to 4-1, while the Vols fall to 3-3 on the season. Georgia hosts Missouri next weekend in Athens. Tennessee looks forward to the much needed bye week next weekend.