Ge­or­gia falls to UT in game-end­ing touch­down pass

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By PAUL NEW­BERRY

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Jauan Jen­nings hauled in a 43-yard Hail Mary from Joshua Dobbs on the fi­nal play, giv­ing No. 11 Ten­nessee a stun­ning 34-31 vic­tory over No. 25 Ge­or­gia af­ter the Bull­dogs ap­peared to win the game on a long TD pass of their own with 10 sec­onds re­main­ing Satur­day.

The Vols (5-0, 2-0 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) ral­lied from a dou­ble-digit deficit for the fourth time in five games, but this was their most im­prob­a­ble come­back yet. The SEC East ri­vals packed a whole game's worth of

ac­tion into the clos­ing min­utes as Ten­nessee went ahead for the first time all af­ter­noon by re­cov­er­ing a fum­ble by Ge­or­gia (3-2, 1-2) in the end zone with 2:56 to go.

Then, af­ter the Bull­dogs threw an in­ter­cep­tion but got the ball back one more time, Jacob Ea­son tossed a 47-yard touch­down pass to fel­low fresh­man Ri­ley Ri­d­ley. With the San­ford Sta­dium crowd in a frenzy, Ten­nessee took the kick­off into po­si­tion to take one shot at the end zone.

Dobbs hurled a tow­er­ing pass that the 6-foot-3 Jen­nings didn't re­ally have that much trou­ble bring­ing down . He leaped above the scrum to make the catch, and then landed on his back for the score that sent the Ten­nessee bench charg­ing on the field to cel­e­brate.

"I just know to go get it," Jen­nings said. "I just grabbed the ball and brought it in."

Ge­or­gia built a 17-0 lead in the first half but was cling­ing to a 24-21 edge when it got the ball deep in its own ter­ri­tory late in the fourth quar­ter.

Risk­ing a pass from his own end zone, Ea­son tried to pull the ball down and was crushed by two Ten­nessee de­fend­ers, Derek Bar­nett and Cortez McDow­ell. The ball came loose and Corey Vereen fell on it for a touch­down.

Turns out, these teams were just get­ting warmed up.

Ea­son had an­other turnover, this one an in­ter­cep­tion by Ma­lik Fore­man. But Ge­or­gia used a cou­ple of its time­outs, held de­fen­sively and got the ball back again. This time, the young quar­ter­back came through, quickly driv­ing the Bull­dogs past mid­field. Af­ter their fi­nal time­out, Ea­son found Ri­d­ley streak­ing be­hind two de­fend­ers down the left side­line, de­liv­er­ing a pass that the young re­ceiver took in stride, seem­ingly giv­ing Ge­or­gia an im­prob­a­ble win. Not so fast. An ex­ces­sive cel­e­bra­tion penalty forced the Bull­dogs to kick off from their own 20, and Evan Berry's 20-yard re­turn got the Vols in range to throw one up. When Jen­nings brought it down, Ten­nessee coach Butch Davis sank to his knees, over­come with emo­tion, while Vols run­ning back Alvin Ka­mara sprawled out on his back, seem­ingly in dis­be­lief.

"It was a crazy play, stuff you dream about," Dobbs said.

The take­away

Ten­nessee: The Vols have shown re­mark­able re­silience while gain­ing a com­mand­ing po­si­tion in the SEC East. They keep get­ting off to slug­gish starts, but keep find­ing ways to win. Now, they have vic­to­ries over both Florida and Ge­or­gia, likely to be their two lead­ing chal­lengers in the di­vi­sion race. That not only puts Ten­nessee ahead in the stand­ings, but pro­vides a tiebreaker edge that could come in handy by the end of the sea­son.

Ge­or­gia: The Bull­dogs have now lost two in a row in the SEC, a huge blow to their hopes of con­tend­ing for a di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship in Kirby Smart's first sea­son as coach. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how they bounce back from such a dev­as­tat­ing loss.

Up next

Ten­nessee: The Vols are fac­ing their third straight game against a ranked op­po­nent, and an­other tough one on the road, when they travel to Col­lege Sta­tion to take on No. 9 Texas A&M (5-0). It doesn't get any eas­ier af­ter that, ei­ther. No. 1 Alabama vis­its Ney­land Sta­dium on Oct. 15, fin­ish­ing off the tough­est part of Ten­nessee's sched­ule.

Ge­or­gia: The Bull­dogs hit the road to face an­other SEC East ri­val, South Carolina.

Isa­iah McKen­zie looks to spin away from the Ten­nessee de­fense on Oct. 1.

Brant San­der­lin/At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion via AP

Ge­or­gia run­ning back Sony Michel watches his fum­ble teeter on the goal line be­fore quar­ter­back Jacob Ea­son re­cov­ered if for a touch­down against the Ten­nessee Vol­un­teers on Oct. 1.

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