Tennessee 45 Georgia 19

1

2

3

4

Total

Georgia Helmet_SmallGeorgia

0

12

7

0

19

Tennessee Helmet_SMALLTennessee

0

21

17

7

45

Attendance (Neyland Stadium):  103,261

Recap /   Box Score /  Play-by-Play /  Drive Chart

Tennessee destroys Georgia with a well-balanced offensive scheme of rushing and play action passing to get Lane Kiffin his first SEC win. The score is flattering to the Bulldogs as they score only 3 of their 19 points with their offense which doesn’t get the ball into the Vol red zone all afternoon. Georgia get their other 16 points with a 100 yard kickoff return, a returned pass interception, and a safety on a blocked punt.

A reborn Jonathan Crompton has his best day as a Vol, throwing for 310 yards. AP Photo/Wade Payne.

A reborn Jonathan Crompton has his best day as a Vol, throwing for 310 yards. AP Photo/Wade Payne.

Montario Hardesty has another fine day of running the football gaining 97 yards on 20 carries, including a 39 yard TD scamper. And Gerald Jones gains 105 yards on 5 receptions.

But the story of the game is the much maligned Vol QB Jonathan Crompton, who looks sharp all afternoon, much due to the play action/rollout scheme he seems to feel comfortable in, completing 20 of 27 passes for 310 yards. A remarkable afternoon for the Vols evens their record to 3-3 and gives Lane Kiffin his first SEC win.

I’ll give more opinions on the big game in a later post. First, this post gives a game summary narrative.


First Quarter

The Vols open by struggling through penalties.

A picture of what was to be commonplace Saturday afternoon-Vol QB Jonathan Crompton rolls out before delivering a pass. Photo by Andy Lyons.

A picture of what was to be commonplace Saturday afternoon-Vol QB Jonathan Crompton rolls out before delivering a pass. Photo by Andy Lyons.

Starting the game on their own 20, the Vols begin brightly. Play action pass to Quintin Hancock for 18 followed by Jonathan Crompton rolling left and hitting TE Luke Stocker for a 23 yard game. Play action and roll outs. This looks different. Then, turning to the ground game, Montario Hardesty runs right for 7 and then right for a first down. Except the play comes back for what would be the first of four Tennessee penalties in the opening quarter-DE Jon Morrison is called for holding. After Georgia immediately gets called for offsides, it seems like the energy of the opening drive has expired. And sure enough, the drive stalls out after Crompton can’t connect with FB Kevin Cooper down the left sideline with a delicate floater and the next pass intended for Luke Stocker is batted down by his defender.

Eric Berry downs a punt on the one yard line. Photo by Adam Brimer

Eric Berry downs a punt on the one yard line. Photo by Adam Brimer

So Chad Cunningham gets off his first punt of the afternoon – perfectly delivered just in front of the goal line where Eric Berry downs it at the one and Georgia starts its offensive day with the checkerboard just behind their backs.

But the Bulldogs can’t get that first down to give them some room to operate. On second and 10, Vol DT Dan Williams is flagged for offsides giving the ‘Dogs a valuable 5 yards, but on two runs, Richard Samuel can’t get the yards and Georgia’s terrific punter Drew Butler hangs one that Vol Freshman Nu’Keese Richardson decides to be indecisive, lets the ball bounce, and luckly bounds between his legs without touching him, and Tennessee preserves the possession at their own 29.

Luke Stocker is on the run after making a catch on 3rd down in the first quarter. Photo by Andy Lyons.

Luke Stocker is on the run after making a catch on 3rd down in the first quarter. Photo by Andy Lyons.

Hardesty runs twice and can only get a single yard and the first big play of the afternoon is made. Jonathan Crompton is flushed out of the pocket by good ‘Dog pressure, rolls left, and hits his TE Kevin Stocker over the middle for a 26 yard gain and a first down. Wow, that was some move and pass against the grain by Crompton. After the play, Vol #4 is called for an illegal block in the back and Tennessee loses 10 yards but not the first down. On second down, FB Kevin Cooper catches a pass out on the right flank, but fumbles – luckily the ball harmlesly goes out off bounds, almost far enough for a first down. But on 3rd and 3, Hardesty on a sweep right loses two and the Vols have to punt. Bulldog WR Michael Moore catches on the goal line and gets the ball to his own 12.

Georgia WR A.J. Green was a busy boy. Photo by Andy Lyons.

Georgia WR A.J. Green was a busy boy. Photo by Andy Lyons.

All of a sudden, the bright start by the Vols is turning to dominance by the Georgia line, and Georgia use this turn of momentum to move the ball quickly quickly. Michael Moore catches a pass on the left for 7, A.J. Green follows with an 8-yard reception on the right, and Michael Moore makes a terrific grab on the right sideline for 9 more. It doesn’t stop there. Freshman RB Washaun Ealey runs for 3, then the ‘Dogs connect on three more consecutive pass plays: Moore on the left for 6, Green for 5 on the right, and Green again for 8 on the left. Now, Georgia is looking like they just might take things over with the ball on the Vol 41. But after a Georgia time out,  the second big play of the afternoon unfolds. Joe Cox’s pass is batted by Dan Williams at the line of scrimmage and is caught by Chris Walker for an interception. All of a sudden, a Georgia offense that is moving the ball at will is stopped cold and the Big Orange have a great opportunity at their own 44.

Now it’s the Vols’ turn to move the chains. Crompton hits hancock on the right for 13 right out of the gate. Tennessee’s fourth infraction of the quarter, a false start by TE Luke Stocker, can’t stop them. It’s time to pound the rock for a little bit. Hardesty gets 10, then 7 more, and freshman Bryce Brown follows with 8 right up the middle and as the quarter ends, the Vols suddenly have grabbed the game’s momentum.

Second Quarter

The game turns into a scorefest, and Jonathan Crompton thrives with a play action scheme.

More running. Hardesty 3 through the middle for a first down and Bryce Brown gets 3 to the right. But a false start by OT Chris Scott, the Vols’ 5th penalty is the young game, threatens to stall another Tennessee drive. Then the third big play of the day happens. Crompton overthrows Luke Stocker who is double-teamed near the goal line, but Georgia’s S Reshad Jones is flagged for pass interference, and just like that, good fortune comes to the Vols, because Stocker really didn’t have a chance for the high pass. And the next play shows me how different today is – the call is for Crompton to pass again. The leash is definitely not around Jonathan’s neck today. Even though the result was an incomplete pass, a semi-dropped ball by Gerald Jones, Crompton comes right back, and again on a bootlegged play action with a roll to the left this time hits Jones on the left and this newly rejuvinated Volunteer offense has given the Vols the early advantage. Tennessee 7 Georgia 0.

Brandon Boykin returns a KO 100 yards for a second quarter TD. Photo by Adam Brimer.

Brandon Boykin returns a KO 100 yards for a second quarter TD. Photo by Adam Brimer.

What the Tennessee coaching staff had been hoping for, an early lead to get the 12th man involved, has materialized. And it lasts for but a few moments. Because, Georgia’s Brandon Boykin takes the Vol kickoff a yard or two in his own endzone, runs the ball straight ahead to about his 30, where he makes a read, cuts 45 degrees to his left toward some open space, and races down the left sideline for a touchdown. A 100-yard return. And just like that, Georgia takes Neyland Stadium’s noise and smothers it with a damp rag. Tennessee 7 Georgia 7.

Denarius Moore makes an incredible athletic play to score a TD in the second quarter. Photo by Adam Brimer.

Denarius Moore makes an incredible athletic play to score a TD in the second quarter. Photo by Adam Brimer.

The growth of this work-in-progress, the fortunes of Vol Football, really shows itself immediately on the next series. Nu’Keese Richardson makes a fine kickoff return, made even better with a face-masking penalty against the ‘Dogs, and Tennessee is already in Georgia territory. After Hardesty gets nothing on the right, this new confidence in Jonathan Crompton comes to the surface once again. Jonathan hits RB C.J. Jackson on the left for 12, then throws a pass down the left sideline where Denarius Moore makes the catch and shows why he was the Texas state high hurdles champion. Instead of taking a hit to force him out of bounds at the 5, he hurdles into the air, and while holding the ball with one hand over the field and his body hovering above out-of-bounds, he somehow keeps his left foot from hitting the ground before the ball crosses the goal line (the replay clearly shows this to be the case negating a Georgia coaching staff challenge). An extraordinary play by an extraordinary athlete. The damp rag put over the old stadium moments ago is blown off in an explosion of noise. Tennessee 14 Georgia 7.

A classic in the making is my immediate thought.

Georgia's PK Blair Walsh gets the Bulldog's offense the only points of the afternoon: a 52-yard field goal. AP Photo.

Georgia's PK Blair Walsh gets the Bulldog's offense the only points of the afternoon: a 52-yard field goal. AP Photo.

After calling a fair catch on the kickoff, something you don’t see every week, Georgia starts a long drive. On a 3rd and 6, Cox throws to the left where WR Marquise Brown drops it, and flags rain down. Has to be a personal foul against J Jackson for a hand slap to the head to give the ‘Dogs a first down. But after the officials confer, the call is a false start against Georgia, nullifying the Vol foul. But Tennessee can’t capitalize on the break as Cox hits Shaun Chapas on the 3rd and 11 for a first down. And the ‘Dogs follow with another first down on a toss sweep to freshman Washaun Ealey, but that is called back due to an illegal block in the back by Michael Moore. So after five plays, Georgia has successfully moved the ball from their 14 to their 19. This time, Cox hits Marvin Brown for 9 and A.J. Green to the left sideline to beat a Tennessee blitz for 17, followed by a 13 yard screen pass to RB Carlton Thomas, and the ‘Dogs are in Vol territory. But as it would prove to be the case all day, Georgia proves futile in Orange territory. On a 3rd and 4, Cox under extreme pressure from the Vol blitz throws it away, and instead of punting, the ‘Dogs try a 53 yard field goal. And Blair Walsh converts with yards to spare. Game on. Tennessee 14 Georgia 10.

Jonathan Crompton was on fire in the second half. Photo by Andy Lyons.

Jonathan Crompton was on fire in the second half. Photo by Andy Lyons.

A Vol QB metamorphosis now becomes believable. Crompton does what becomes his signature of the day. He takes the snap from center and turning to his right, spins to roll left and hits a receiver for a gain – this time it is Luke Stocker for 20 yards. After a couple of Hardesty carries, Crompton rolls right. But this time, the ‘Dog defense smells it. But instead of caving mentally and physically, Jonathan Crompton somehow finds Gerald Jones down the right for a 33 yard gain to the Georgia 19. In earlier games, that would have been a throwaway, and fumble, or an interception. But we’re looking at a new Jonathan Crompton folks. And it’s an amazing sight. Now Neyland Stadium is alive. And Crompton doesn’t stop there. On yet another play action pass, he hits Denarius Moore on the left for a 14 yard gain, and in 1st and goal at the Georgia 5, another play action results in a Crompton pass to Marsails Teague for a touchdown! WOW! Tennessee 21 Georgia 10.

Eric Berry gets to Joe Cox. Photo by Adam Brimer.

Eric Berry gets to Joe Cox. Photo by Adam Brimer.

Now the old house is rockin’. Georgia from their own 32. ‘Dog QB Cox has to throw it away on 1st down because Vol DB Eric Berry absolutely levels him on the blitz. And on third down, Cox has to get rid of it to avert another blitz. The Vols hold, and we’ve reached peak volume down on Shields-Watkins.

Georgia's Zach Renner gets through the Vol line to block Chad Cunningham's punt for a safety. AP Photo/Wade Payne.

Georgia's Zach Renner gets through the Vol line to block Chad Cunningham's punt for a safety. AP Photo/Wade Payne.

A Georgia punt combined with a holding penalty back the Vols up on their own 12. Montario Hardesty can’t get many yards on 3 carries interwoven with two Georgia timeouts. And after the Vols call a timeout to get the clock down to 0:28 before they punt, Georgia’s Zach Renner slips through a gap in the middle of the Vol line and blocks Chad Cunningham with his left hand, forcing the ball backwards into the north stands for a Bulldog safety. Tennessee 21 Georgia 12.

Nothing much happens after the Tennessee free kick to Georgia-Georgia was unsuccessful stopping the clock after a pass to Michael Moore over the middle and the teams reach the half.

We’re witnessing a Vol offense that is clicking on all cylinders-running and passing-and a Tennessee defense that hasn’t let the Bulldogs past the Vol 35. It feels like all is possible all of a sudden. It feels like you want to play Auburn and UCLA again just to make wrongs right.

Third Quarter

After Georgia gets back into the game, the Vols kill off the ‘Dogs with Hardesty and Crompton.

Georgia gets the ball on the Tennessee kickoff. After getting a first down on a 3rd and 1 situation, Cox on 2nd down fumbles the snap from center, picks it up off the ground and throws it away to the right sideline. Except that he doesn’t quite throw it long enough. Dennis Rogan picks off the throwaway attempt at the sideline and the Vols keep the electrical cord plugged in, fueling the faithful’s noise machine.

Tennessee starts with a swing pass right to Zach Rogers for 14. Hardesty runs for 5. Crompton on a mis-direction rolls right and hits Gerald Jones for 2. First and 10 at the ‘Dog 15. But the offense completely stalls out, and the Vols settle for a Daniel Lincoln 30 yard field goal to double-up the score on the red and black. Tennessee 24 Georgia 12.

Georgia start on their 20 and get nothing on 3 plays and punt the pill back to the Vols. Drew Butler hits a boomer that has Dennis Rogan backpeddling, then Dennis tries to make an over-the-shoulder catch, except that he doesn’t get his shoulder out of the way-the ball hits his pads and rolls on the ground creating a mad scramble for the ball. Fortunately the Vols get to it first and avert a potentially costly turnover. For a few seconds.

After Montario Hardesty gets nothing on first down, Crompton throws a bit behind his receiver Zach Rogers who has to turn to try for the catch but only can tip the ball up in the air. Georgia’s S Bacarri Rambo grabs the free ball and races about 30 yards into the endzone for a Bulldog touchdown. And just like that, Georgia is only down by 5 points with virtually no thanks to their offense. Tennessee 24 Georgia 19.

A hobnail boot given back to Georgia: Vol RB Montario Hardesty scampers for a 39 yard TD to keep Georgia at arm's length. AP Photo/Wade Payne.

A hobnail boot given back to Georgia: Vol RB Montario Hardesty scampers for a 39 yard TD to keep Georgia at arm's length. AP Photo/Wade Payne.

Oooooh, you just get that feeling. Crompton will now cave. We’ve been watching a mirage, some kind of dirty dream. A mean trick and it’s not even Halloween (we’ll save that for South Carolina). But on a 3rd and 4, Jonathan hits Luke Stocker for 4 yards and a very, very big first down to keep the drive alive and prohibit the ‘Dogs from getting any meaningful momentum. And on the ensuing first down, a down that the Vols on the afternoon gained 304 yards on the day partly due to Crompton completing 10 of 11 for 190 yards, the reinvented Vol QB on yet another play action hits Denarius Moore over the middle for an 18 yard gain and another first down near midfield. A slant pass to Nu’keese Richardson on the next set of downs converts a 3rd and 6. Then, the Vols turn to their man of the season. Montario Hardesty breaks free thanks in large part to an Austin Johnson block at the line of scrimmage and scampers 39 yards into the Georgia endzone and sets off an explosion of noise. Tennessee 31 Georgia 19.

Now Georgia has the ball and the noise is to a new level. A.J. Green is popped for a one yard loss on a pass from backup QB Logan Gray, equalled by Michael Moore when he dropps a 3rd down pass due to pressure from Eric Berry. More anemic ‘Dog offense/great Vol defense.

Gerald Jones dares the Georgia secondary to catch him after hauling in a Jonathan Crompton bomb for a 51 yard TD to bury the Bulldogs for good. AP Photo by Wade Payne.

Gerald Jones dares the Georgia secondary to catch him after hauling in a Jonathan Crompton bomb for a 51 yard TD to bury the Bulldogs for good. AP Photo by Wade Payne.

The Vols are feeling their oats now. After a 3 yard run by Bryce Brown, Montario hardesty does what makes him my favorite Vol of the season – he wills his way for 8 yards on 2nd and 7, virtually carrying 4 Bulldog defenders on his back! Simply awesome. And the next play puts a capital “A” on awesome. Crompton, given time by his offensive line, waits for the perfect moment on another play action to unload a bomb downfield to  Gerald Jones who hauls it in at the Georgia 5 and runs into the checkerboard for a touchdown! The blood just rushed to my head and I believe that was the last straw leading to my present hoarse voice. BOOOOOOM!!!!! Tennessee 38 Georgia 19.

For the third straight possession, the Bulldogs go three and out, punt the ball back to the Vols, and the quarter expires. All of the hard work and don’t-quit attitude by this team and coaching staff looks like it’s paying off. And what Kiffin has been hoping for is happening – the fans are into it at full volume. There is simply nothing like Neyland Stadium on a Saturday afternoon at a moment like this. Nothing.

Fourth Quarter

Neyland Stadium turns into a party house.

Tennessee gets good field position on the punt at their own 38. On 3rd and 6, freshman Nu’Keese Richardson gives a glimpse of why he was so heavily coveted by Florida and Tennessee – a nice 10 yard gain on a pitch out to the left. A false start begins the next series of downs and the Vols don’t recover, having to punt it back to Georgia.

Eric Berry is on the run after gathering what turned out to be a Georgia fumble. Photo by Andy Lyons.

Eric Berry is on the run after gathering what turned out to be a Georgia fumble. Photo by Andy Lyons.

Finally, Georgia starts moving the ball again. Two quick first downs get the ‘Dogs within sniffing distance of midfield. But they can’t convert on 3rd and 1 and have to go for it on 4th down. Cox’s pass is tipped near the left sideline, and Vol DB Eric Berry grabs the ball before it can go out of bounds and runs toward the middle of the field, following his ad hoc group of blockers with great patience looking for a bit of open space and returns the ball all the way to the Georgia  Berry got more than the 15 yards that he needed to break the NCAA all-time interception return yardage mark. But, the play was ruled as a complete pass and fumble rather than an tipped pass and interception, so the record is going to have to wait for another Saturday.

First and 10 at the ‘Dog 14, and the Vols are getting ready to put Georgia out of their misery. Crompton throws an incomplete pass but the officials call Georgia for pass interception putting the ball on the Bulldog 2 yard line. Two plays later, another pass interference penalty is called on Georgia, and Bryce Brown follows with a virtual walk-in touchdown “run” for less than a yard to make the Georgia Bulldogs wish they had never been born. Tennessee 45 Georgia 19.

Celebrate! The 'Dogs are whipped and the Vols sideline goes crazy after another Georgia possession ends on 3 and out. Phot by Adam Brimer.

Celebrate! The 'Dogs are whipped and the Vols sideline goes crazy after another Georgia possession ends on 3 and out. Phot by Adam Brimer.

The rest of the half, a bit over 7 minutes, is a blur. Tennessee has thoroughly whipped Georgia in a must win for the rebuilding Vol program. The Vol faithful, the vast majority of which have wanted to see QB Jonathan Crompton relieved of his duties, are now glad they left that decision to Lane Kiffin. For without that faith in his struggling QB, Lane may not have his first SEC win. And the Vol Nation suddenly is very happy for the senior from Waynesville, North Carolina. And happy to know that this season is still alive for achieving something worthwhile.

Checkerboard strip

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

None.

Second Quarter

Tennessee Helmet_SMALL13:10 Gerald Jones catches a Jonathan Crompton pass and runs for a 6 yard TD. GIVE HIM SIX! TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE! Daniel Lincoln‘s extra point is GOOOOOOD! TENN 7 UGA 0. The TD capped an 8 play, 56 yard drive lasting 4:29.

Georgia Helmet_Small12:56 Brandon Boykin returns the Tennessee Kickoff back 100 yards for a TD. Blair Walsh’s extra point is good. TENN 7 UGA 7. The TD was the only play of the possession.

Tennessee Helmet_SMALL11:29 Denarius Moore catches a Jonathan Crompton pass along the left sideline and runs (leaps) into the endzone for a 33 yard TD. GIVE HIM SIX! TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE! Daniel Lincoln’s extra point is GOOOOOOD! TENN 14 UGA 7. The TD capped a 3 play, 45 yard drive lasting 1:19.

Georgia Helmet_Small5:36 Blair Walsh kicks a 53 yard Field Goal. TENN 14 UGA 10. The FG capped a 13 play, 51 yard drive lasting 5:49.

Tennessee Helmet_SMALL2:40 Marsalis Teague catches a Jonathan Crompton 5 yard pass in the end zone for a TD. GIVE HIM SIX! TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE! Daniel Lincoln‘s extra point is GOOOOOOD! TENN 21 UGA 10. The TD capped a 6 play, 74 yard drive lasting 2:50.

Georgia Helmet_Small0:23 Zach Renner blocks a Chad Cunningham punt and the ball flies into the stands for a safety. TENN 21 UGA 12.

Third Quarter

Tennessee Helmet_SMALL10:15 Daniel Lincoln kicks a 30 yard Field Goal. GOOOOOOD! TENN 24 UGA 12. The FG capped a 7 play, 36 yard drive lasting 2:33.

Georgia Helmet_Small8:21 Bacarri Rambo intercepts a Jonathan Crompton pass and runs it back for a TD. Blair Walsh’s extra point is good. TENN 24 UGA 19.

Tennessee Helmet_SMALL4:06 Montario Hardesty runs 39 yards down the throat of the Bulldogs for a TD. GIVE HIM SIX! TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE! Daniel Lincoln‘s extra point is GOOOOOOD! TENN 31 UGA 19. The TD capped an 8 play 80 yard drive lasting 4:15.

Tennessee Helmet_SMALL0:59 Gerald Jones catches a Jonathan Crompton pass an runs it in for a 51 yard TD. GIVE HIM SIX! TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE! Daniel Lincoln‘s extra point is GOOOOOOD! TENN 38 UGA 19. The TD capped a 3 play 62 yard drive lasting 1:20.

Fourth Quarter

Tennessee Helmet_SMALL7:48 Bryce Brown walks it in from the 1 for a TD. GIVE HIM SIX! TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE! Daniel Lincoln‘s extra point is GOOOOOOD! TENN 46 UGA 19. The TD capped a 2 play, 14 yard drive lasting 0:57.

Scoreboard in concourse

Scoreboard – 2009 Opponents

  • Vanderbilt 13 Army 16 (OT)
  • Kentucky 26 (25)South Carolina 28
  • (3)Alabama 22 (20)Mississippi 3
  • UTEP 20 Memphis 35
  • Auburn 23 Arkansas 44
  • Oregon 24 UCLA 10
  • Ohio 19 Akron 7
  • Florida International 37 Western Kentucky 20
  • (1)Florida 13 (4)LSU 3
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2 responses to “Tennessee 45 Georgia 19”

  1. DW says :

    Great recap Fred. That was a very fun Sat. afternoon, and much needed by the Vol nation. Like you, I was watching in amazement and unfettered joy as an offense that was thought to be dead this season has found a spark to light up hope in the remaining schedule. I don’t know how many times that Crompton rolled left and made difficult throws downfield, but I don’t think he missed a single pass, and they were not just little 5 yarders. And was that our same receiving squad from last week? It appears they decided their hands were good for something more than just scratching their nads on the sidelines.

    It would have been nice if the staff had delivered this gameplan gift box a little earlier (like last week)… maybe the wrapping had some extra tough tape, but at least the box is finally open!

    • norcalvol says :

      Yeah, DW, I forgot to give more credit to the receivers – they simply made plays. I remember seeing a couple of the catches were with the hands only and I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was watching the same crew!
      Winning seems to solve all problems, doesn’t it? [at least for a week]

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