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

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Third Quarter

Tennessee’s first drive: Missed opportunity 

  • Tennessee had a golden opportunity coming out of halftime. The Vols had all the momentum following the goal line stand the ball to start the second half. Jeremy Pruitt couldn’t have signed up to be in a better situation to start the second half.
  • But instead, the Vols went 3-and-out, and the opening drive served as a sign of things to come.
  • Chandler rushed for a yard on first down and then Darnell Wright committed a false start to set up 2nd-and-14, where Guarantano and Tillman couldn’t connect over the middle of the field.
  • Tennessee’s first of three fumbles came on 3rd-and-14. Wanya Morris was beat off the edge by Azeez Ojulari and Guarantano did a poor job of protecting the football while being sacked. It was Tennessee’s first turnover of the season. The Vols were the last SEC team to turn the football over this year.

Georgia’s first drive: Tennessee defense stands tall

  • Georgia got the ball back on the the 15-yard line and Tennessee did a great job of standing tall defensively. LaTrell Bumphus and Kivon Bennett made a nice play on first down to stop Zamir White on first down, and then Georgia center Trey Hill and guard Ben Cleveland were called for a chop block against Elijah Simmons. It was a dirty play by Hill and Cleveland that could have ended a lot worse for Simmons that what it did.
  • Georgia had 2nd-and-25 following the dirty play. Bryce Thompson almost came up with interception, but freshman tight end Darnell Washington was called for offensive pass interference.
  • On 3rd-and-25, Kenny McIntosh rushed for 14-yards, setting up a Georgia field goal to make it 21-20 with 12:00 remaining.

Tennessee’s second drive: Oh no, here we go..

  • Tennessee went three-and-out, but instead of ending the drive with a punt, the Vols ended the drive with an interception following a 7-yard rush from Eric Gray.
  • On 3rd-and-1, Guarantano threw his first interception of the season looking for Gray out of the backfield as is “hot” option because multiple Georgia defenders were coming off the edge untouched. Guarantano threw it off his back foot and tried to force the football somewhere that wasn’t open.

Georgia’s second drive: Tennessee defense stands tall again

  • Tennessee’s defense bailed out the offense once again. With good field position for the second drive in a row, Georgia was held to a field goal, though it did give them a 23-21 lead with 10:11 remaining in the third quarter.
  • To’o To’o held Georgia to a rush on first down, Middleton batted down a pass on second down and Bennett misfired on 3rd-and-7 while being pressured to set up the field goal attempt.

Tennessee’s third drive: Offensive line penalties… again

  • Guarantano had two incompletions to start the drive. On first down, he couldn’t connect with Tillman and then he had to quickly throw the ball away on second down because he was being pressured. But he came back on 3rd-and-10 and found Brandon Johnson for a gain of 11 and a first down. Johnson did a great job of making a defender miss and being aware of the first down maker.
  • Offensive line penalties haunted Tennessee once again following Johnson’s first down. Brandon Kennedy was called for an illegal snap. Pruitt was not happy with the referee after the play, signaling to the ref that it was the third time that Georgia had something to cause confusion with the snap.
  • On 1st-and-15, Guarantano was nearly picked off trying to force the ball to Guarantano. And then Cade Mays was called for another false start to make it 2nd-and-20. Pruitt was once again not happy with the referee.
  • Gray rushed for eight on second down and then gained six on a reception out of the backfield on 3rd-and-12, forcing Tennessee to punt the football.

Georgia’s third drive: Defense hanging tough, Dawgs go three-and-out

  • Tyler Baron had a nice play on the edge to set up 2nd-and-7, and then To’o To’o made a great play in the backfield to bring up third down. On 3rd-and-8, Morven Jospeh came up with a tackle for a loss to force a Georgia punt.

Tennessee’s fourth drive: Offense continues to sputter

  • Tennessee tried to find a big play with Jalin Hyatt on a reverse but Georgia did a good job staying home on first down. The Bulldogs did a good job of containing Hyatt a second time on second down as Chaney tried to get the ball to the freshman receiver on a screen.
  • On 3rd-and-13, Guarantano fumbled while being sacked yet again. Adam Anderson blew by Cade Mays off the edge and hit Guarantano before he was done dropping back. Wanya Morris did a good job of falling on the football or Georgia would have had 1st-and-goal.

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Georgia’s fourth drive: Bulldogs finally take advantage of Tennessee’s offensive miscues

  • Talk about bad luck. After two Tennessee fumbles, Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton fumbled on a 15-yard reception to start the drive. Jaylen McCollough did a great job of stripping the football out, but Georgia center Trey HIll was hustling down the field and the fumble fell right into his arms.
  • Georgia couldn’t get anything going on first or second down thanks to another great play by To’o To’o and another pass deflection from Middleton, but Bennett found Kearis Jackson for 20-yards on 3rd-and-10. Shawn Shamburger lost Jackson in coverage. Tennessee was forced to call a timeout before third down because Banks was trying to get off the field for some reason despite being one of the 11 defenders on the field. And Georgia still managed to pick up the first down.
  • And then Tennessee had to call another timeout, leaving itself with one timeout remaining in the game with 2:50 to go in the third quarter. Pruitt wasn’t happy with Shamburger.
  • On 1st-and-10 following the timeout, Bennett found Jackson for 10-yards, but an ineligible man downfield negated the play. Bennett would scramble for seven on the next play, but that play was negated as well due to a penalty, which would be a holding call against Pickens.
  • Despite working themselves into 1st-and-18, Georgia would extend its lead to 30-21 with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Bennett found Jackson for a 21-yard touchdown through the air on 3rd-and-7. McCollough was beat in coverage and Flowers was late getting over. It looked like Shamburger thought the secondary was supposed to be in a different coverage, as he went to cover the receiver in motion.

Click ‘next’ to move to the fourth quarter.

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