What was the difference between a Vols win and today’s loss?
Georgia 35 Tennessee 32
After a highly entertaining first half, the game went curiously dead in the third quarter with both teams failing to take advantage of the other’s misfortunes: Georgia (as predicted) got pass happy (to its demise), and Tennessee seemingly ran out of ideas as well as a quarterback (more about that later). But in the end, the difference was a trifecta…
A Heisman Trophy candidate. Todd Gurley ran for a career-high 208 yards and scored two touchdowns. His 51-yard TD scamper in the fourth quarter put his team up by 11 with 9:30 left in the game. It was a back breaker to a Vols defense that (again) performed valiantly on the road in a hostile setting.
A punt and fumble. Vol freshman running back Jalen Hurd burned the biscuits by dropping a handoff from QB Justin Worley with only 4:21 left in the contest. The worst part was it happened in the end zone (the Vols were at their one yard line), and Josh Dawson, who recovered it, was wearing a red jersey. It put the Dawgs ahead by ten, 35-25. Worley followed by marching the Vols quickly down the field for a TD to cut the margin by 3 with only a bit more than two minutes left. What could have been… yes. But it all started with a 50-yard Collin Barber punt that was downed by Georgia at the Volunteer one yard line. One big play was followed by another big play by the Bulldogs.
An elbow. Tennessee senior QB Justin Worley threw for 264 yards and three TDs. But in the middle of it all, he missed much of a disastrous third quarter after being hit on his throwing elbow during a pass rush. Enter reserve QB Nathan Peterman. Remember last year’s debacle in Gainesville? It all looked so familiar this time again. Except that it started out looking promising. On the first drive after Worley’s elbow was knocked numb, Tennessee unveiled a reverse and then a double-reverse to help Peterman march the Vols deep into Bulldog territory. But then misfortune came a-knocking as Peterman and Marlin Lane for an instant pretended to not know each other on a handoff that resulted in a drive-killing fumble. It was recovered by Josh Dawson. Yes, that Josh Dawson wearing a red jersey.