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RTI Notebook: Rewatching No. 14 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Georgia

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Second Quarter

Georgia’s fourth drive: Bulldogs go 95-yards to take the 14-7 lead

  • Georgia began the second quarter with 1st-and-10 on the Tennessee 44-yard line. On the first play, Bennett tried to go deep to Pickens on play-action. It was a bad throw from Bennett that ended up going right to Flowers, but Flowers dropped the interception in the end zone. Against Georgia, you have to make that play. You can’t afford to give them extra opportunities to beat you.
  • On 2nd-and-10, Harrison made a really nice play off the edge. Harrison beat the Georgia left tackle across his face and got into the backfield to tackle McIntosh for a loss of three and set up 3rd-and-13.
  • Jaylen McCollough was called for pass interference on third down despite Bennett’s throw being high over the middle of the field to Jackson. I wasn’t a fan of the call.
  • A play after the defensive pass interference to give Georgia a free first down, McIntosh rushed for 12 to pick up a first down. He then rushed for six on the next play to set up 2nd-and-4, but a nice play by Henry To’o To’o for a loss of three forced Georgia into a 3rd-and-7.
  • Bennett scrambled for 10 on the third down to pick up the first. Kivon Bennett came off the edge and forced Stetson Bennett to scramble to the far side of the field where there were no Vol defenders. On the next play, he scrambled to the right for an 8-yard touchdown. The refs missed a block in the back on Bryce Thompson that should have negated the touchdown.

Tennessee’s third drive: Vols still beating themselves

  • More offensive line issues to start the drive. After a 7-yard completion from Guarantano to Gray, the offensive line is called for another false start that backed Tennessee into a 2nd-and-8 instead of a 2nd-and-3. After a 1-yard rush on second down, Guarantano picked up the third down on a 15-yard completion to Gray while facing pressure off the edge.
  • Guarantano tried to find Velus Jones on the following first down. Jones caught it out-of-bounds, but Georgia may have gotten away with a defensive pass interference. Tennessee would punt two plays later after Gray tripped over Guarantano’s feet on second down and after a screen to Gray didn’t work on third down.

Georgia’s fifth drive: Georgia turns it over on downs, sets up Tennessee touchdown

  • Bennett found Pickens for 11 on first down. Pickens made a nice play on the ball along the sideline while being smothered by Taylor.
  • Tennessee’s defense rebounded well after the first down. Elijah Simmons and Omari Thomas made a nice play on 1st-and-10 against the run to force 2nd-and-10, where Taylor came on a blitz and forced a Bennett incompletion. On 3rd-and-8, Bennett finds McIntosh for seven, setting up 4th-and-1.
  • Georgia didn’t pick up the first down on the fourth down quarterback sneak. To’o To’o made a great play jumping over the line of scrimmage to stop Bennett. The Bulldogs were called for an illegal motion, but Tennessee declined the penalty and Georgia turned it over on downs. Kirby Smart was not very happy following this sequence.

Tennessee’s fourth drive: Vols tie it up on Guarantano to Palmer part one

  • Georgia not picking up the first down on 4th-and-1 gave Tennessee the football on the 36-yard line. Jim Chaney immediately took a shot deep and Guarantano found Palmer for a 36-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-all. It was a great throw from Guarantano and an even better catch by Palmer as he made an adjustment in the air to haul in the touchdown.

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Georgia’s sixth drive: Bulldogs tack on field goal, regain lead

  • Georgia began the drive with a long 43-yard rush from Jermaine Burton on an end-around. It set up 1st-and-10 from the Georgia 25-yard line.
  • Tennessee did a great job of playing bend, but don’t break defense here. After the big play to start the drive, Alontae Taylor came on a blitz off the edge to pressure Bennett and force a high throw. To’o To’o also did a good job in coverage on the back out of the backfield.
  • The Vols held Georgia to a 3-yard gain on a second down pass to the wide receiver out of the backfield to bring up 3rd-and-7. With Georgia facing third down, Tennessee called a timeout. Bennett’s pass would fall incomplete with Kivon Bennett getting pressure off the edge and Morven Jospeh also getting pressure. It set up a successful 47-yard field goal for Georgia to reclaim the lead, a deal Tennessee would gladly take after the first play of the drive.

Tennessee’s fifth drive: Vols take the lead on Guarantano to Palmer part two

  • An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on George Pickens set up Tennessee’s second touchdown of the game to take the lead. On the first play of the drive, Guarantano was forced out of the pocket and scrambled for 3-yards. In the midst of getting out of bounds, Pickens squirted water on Guarantano with a bottle.
  • The penalty gave Tennessee a first down and the football on the 49-yard line. Three plays later, Guarantano picked up a first down on 3rd-and-1 following a completion to Brandon Johnson on a receiver screen. Guarantano paid the price on the quarterback sneak to get the first down by getting hit right in the facemask by a Georgia defender.
  • Following the quarterback sneak, Johnson made a terrific catch over the middle of the field for a gain of 12. Johnson got popped while making the catch over the middle of the field, but managed to hang onto the football while getting his helmet knocked off. A great play.
  • Johnson’s catch set up a touchdown. On the next play, Guarantano delivered a beautiful football to Palmer to give Tennessee a 21-17 lead. It was a beautiful throw and a beautiful catch.

Georgia’s seventh drive: The goal line stop heard around the college football world

  • McIntosh returned the kickoff 42-yards to give Georgia the football on the 42-yard line to end its final drive before the half. A poor pickoff and poor coverage led to the nice return.
  • Despite a great play by To’o To’o to come up with a tackle for a loss on the first play of the drive, Georgia marched right down the field and was threatening to score before the half. The Bulldogs made it down to the goal line on a 28-yard completion in which Banks was beat in coverage once again, and on an 11-yard completion to Burton where Taylor, Banks and Baron missed a tackle.
  • But then the defense stood tall. Georgia had 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line with 56 seconds remaining in the half. Bryce Thompson made a terrific play on the edge to prevent a touchdown. On 2nd-and-goal, Georgia got it down to the inch line, just shy of the goal line. Bennett, Crouch and To’o To’o stopped White on third down, and then Banks and Crouch stopped them on fourth down. Simply a tremendous display of effort and heart from the Tennessee defense to end the first half.

Click ‘next’ to move to the third quarter.

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