No. 3 Georgia is alone in first place in the SEC East after rallying in the second half to beat No. 12 Tennessee 44-21.
With rival Florida falling to Texas A&M earlier in the day, the Bulldogs are the lone uneaten in their division after beating a highly ranked opponent in the second consecutive game.
The Bulldogs started slowly one week following its domination then-No. 7 Auburn as the Volunteers scored in the first minute on fumble recovery off a bad snap that eluded Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett and rolled backwards 30 yards into the end zone.
The Bulldogs would go ahead on touchdown runs by Bennett and Zamir White before Tennessee responded. Senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano found Josh Palmer for two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 21-17 lead, which the Volunteers took into the locker room after stopping White from the 1-yard line on the final play of the second quarter.
Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton jumps over a blocker while running against Tennessee during the first half at Sanford Stadium. (Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)
From there it was all Georgia.
The defense, which allowed just one first down in the third quarter, forced Guarantano into turnovers – a fumble and interception – on the first two drives of the second half, converting both into field goals.
Bennett found Kearis Jackson for a 21-yard touchdown on third-and-7 late in the third quarter to give them some breathing room. Another long pass between the pair set up a touchdown with 10:31 left to push the lead to 37-21.
Linebacker Monty Rice iced the game on the next possession by forcing Guarantano to fumble on a sack and returning the recovery for a touchdown.
Bennett, making his second career start, looked steady for an improved Georgia offense that will be needed for a run at the College Football Playoff. He finished 16-for-27 for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite the big win, the road doesn't get any easier for the Bulldogs. A trip to No. 2 Alabama awaits next week.
Follow USA TODAY Sports colleges reporter Erick Smith on Twitter @ErickSmith
Source: Read Full Article