Dawgs made win over Vols harder than it should have been

Keith Marshall's 75-yard scoring run was just one of several big plays. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Keith Marshall's 75-yard scoring run was just one of several big plays. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia notched a third consecutive win over Tennessee Saturday in a 51-44 nailbiter that was much closer than it should have been because of:

  • Three Dawgs turnovers that resulted in 20 points for the Volunteers.
  • Poor special teams play, including missed PATs and a miserable return game that twice saw mistakes pin the Dawgs back on their own 1-yard line.
  • A subpar performance by the Georgia defense.

Speaking of the latter, there was little pressure on UT quarterback Tyler Bray until late in the game, in part due to the officiating crew refusing to call holding, no matter how blatant it was, but also because the Dawgs pass rushers seemed to have great difficulty getting off their blocks. Bray had a lot of time in the pocket, but frequently Tennessee receivers were left wide open. And Georgia failed to make Tennessee’s potent offense one-dimensional, with the Vols running for 197 yards, 104 of them by Rajion Neal.

On the positive side, Todd Grantham’s defense, which was finally back at full-strength, notched takeaways on the Vols’ last three possessions of the game.

And when they weren’t turning the ball over (one interception and two fumbles), the Georgia offense turned in another impressive big-play performance, with Keith Marshall scoring on spectacular touchdown runs of 75 and 72 yards. He wound up with 164 yards on 10 carries. Todd Gurley had a 51-yard run among his three touchdowns and had 130 yards on 24 carries.

Aaron Murray was 19 of 25 for 278 yards and two touchdowns, but he had a pick-6, and a second-quarter meltdown that saw Georgia go from 17 points up to 3 points down before tying it up on a last-second 50-yard field goal included a Murray fumble on a sack deep in his own territory that was scarily reminiscent of last season’s South Carolina game.

Bottom line: The Dawgs held on and came out of their highest-scoring game ever against the Vols undefeated as they head into the SEC East showdown with the Gamecocks.

It was a good enough effort to beat the Vols, but Georgia is going to need to make some defensive adjustments, clean up special teams, and play on a much higher level overall to come out of Columbia with a win.

What did you think of the way Georgia played against Tennessee?

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

127 comments Add your comment

SC Dog fan

September 29th, 2012
9:38 pm

That pick-6 looked like the same play that turned into a pcik-6 for Lemay week before last. Maybe that;s not such a good one to call way back in our territory. This game had the same feel to it that the Michigan State loss and near loss to Vandy had last year. Glad they hung on to get the win. Sheesh.

Biggdawg33

September 29th, 2012
9:44 pm

Look…UGA dropped and threw INTs in the USC game last year and lost the game. They did it again today and fought through and won. Let’s chalk this game up as one of the tough ones that teams have to win to have great seasons.

Fff

September 29th, 2012
9:46 pm

The ball was tipped on INT. We probably lose this game last year. UT o-line deserves some credit…..they did a great job our d-line. Gotta win games like this. South Carolina fighting for a win vs.UK right now….SEC not easy. Serious grind.

Scott

September 29th, 2012
9:47 pm

SEC football….watch UGA vs USC next week be a 13-10 game!

flintriverdawg

September 29th, 2012
9:48 pm

very worrisome win guys, D needs to wake up……….we will not be able to get by fla or sc like this. really need to get focused this week……..this is doable…………

Biggdawg33

September 29th, 2012
9:51 pm

But how much was this looking ahead to USC? They came out in the second half and outscore UT in 3rd Quarter. That was good to see.

Macclenny_dawg

September 29th, 2012
9:55 pm

Once again we seem to let foot off gas when we have lead. The defense is struggling because of no pressure. We have to blitz more. It just kills me that we cannot put a game away. But as usual Bobo tries to run out clock when we have a veteran qb. The game turned in the 2nd when we just tried to punch the ball out of our own end zone with 3 straight runs. Had 2 punt and Vols had short field. I lnow all the Bobo supporters say well how can I blame him when we score 40 points and I say because we can’t close a game out when everybody knows u gonna run it 3 straight downs. But anyway we won!!! Go Dawgs!!! GTA!!!

go dawgs

September 29th, 2012
9:56 pm

it all started with letting the punt roll to the 1. we got conservative every time we went ahead.

Rangerdawg96

September 29th, 2012
10:04 pm

They were definitely looking ahead. UT had a very good game plan but we don’t turn the ball over it isn’t that close. We always have one of these games and hopefully this was the wake-up call we needed.

TN Dawg

September 29th, 2012
10:06 pm

Too have this many mistakes and still walk away with a win, a very fortunate day. Mitchell makes too many mistakes. Rather than a 100 yard kick off return, I would settle for someone that make good decisions and fields the ball!!!
Go Dawgs!!

SSIgator

September 29th, 2012
10:07 pm

WOW, how ’bout that defense!! Go Dwags

SSIgator

September 29th, 2012
10:10 pm

“Three Dawgs turnovers that resulted in 20 points for the Volunteers”
______________

And how many turnovers resulted in scores for UGA by TN?

SOUTHGADAWGG88

September 29th, 2012
10:11 pm

We responded everytime we were challenged.Good win.I would think twice about MM as a punt returner..Our D always looks bad when they don’t get a pass rush…been that way since 06.
I must say that this offense is even more potent than the Stafford/Moreno glory years.

1+2

September 29th, 2012
10:12 pm

Don’t worry SSIgator – just make sure you visit the blog after Jacksonville – Man Up!

Jaj

September 29th, 2012
10:12 pm

Great teams have bad wins, this is a good team, looking for greatness. Square away the special teams and fumbles, we look balanced and hard to stop.

SSIgator

September 29th, 2012
10:13 pm

“the officiating crew refusing to call holding”
_________________

Come now Bill, calls go both ways – that is beneath you to even say it.

1+2

September 29th, 2012
10:13 pm

Stafford/Moreno glory years couldn’t touch this offense. They were great players but they were no where close to the consistency of this squad.

Just Sayin

September 29th, 2012
10:14 pm

I love the way Keith and Todd hit a knee after scoring and don’t taunt or hotdog. Thanks guys for being classy and for acting like you have “been there before”!!!

Sam

September 29th, 2012
10:15 pm

BS about looking ahead. Remember the score was 27-10. As noted, some conservatism did not help even when backed up–even then UGA came within 1 yd of converting to a first down. The Pick 6 was a tip. Gonna happen. UGA came right back. Murray has got to get stronger to hold on or be quicker about throwing it away. The Marshall fumble–he never had a chance. Had barely received the handoff when he got hit.

I do not recall a single holding call. Saw a few–and I realize not all are going to be called, but I am sure UGA was holding as well.

As someone else noted, last year or year before UGA loses it after going down 30-27.

For 4:30 UGA looked rattled and bad. Reminded me of the meltdown against LSU last year. Going well, then one thing goes bad and POOF!

SSIgator

September 29th, 2012
10:17 pm

Just Sayin -

September 29th, 2012 – 10:14 pm

I love the way Keith and Todd hit a knee after scoring and don’t taunt or hotdog.
_____________________

I will have to admit – that is a nice change from previous years.

Cuz

September 29th, 2012
10:22 pm

The Good.
Gurley and Marshall are the real deal. And we get to keep them for at least two more years.

The Bad.
We still play not to lose in the fourth instead of putting it away. Three and out when our defense is gassed is not a great way to play a game. Mix it up CMR and CMB.

The Ugly.
Special teams just suck bilge water. Somebody get us a ST Coach. As Kevin Butler said, preferably, a former kicker.

SSIgator

September 29th, 2012
10:23 pm

“A sub-par performance by the Georgia defense”
_______________

The most accurate comment in your article Bill.

Ubob

September 29th, 2012
10:25 pm

Wow, what a game….give the Tenn O-line credit….they are big and have played together for three years…..glad we got the win…..Tenn will gain some confidence from the game and with that QB Bray, I think they beat USC who is having problems with UK,,,,,(though they will wear them down in second half)…..D didn’t look that bad today, but the turnovers just killed us and killed momentum as well. Thought it was gutsy to come down the field before the half and score 3…..got some confidence back with that…..we do need to stop the run better, gave up another 100 yard runner…..that’s what kept them in the game. I think we worried about the pass so much we played back alot in coverage….SC will be a war next week….if Game Day isn’t there just shows their bias against UGA….

Tide is Rolling and Nothing can stop it

September 29th, 2012
10:33 pm

So, how was this the offense’s vault?

Morons.

31 years…

Dawg Haus

September 29th, 2012
10:37 pm

The D finished strong, but this was far from their best performance. I hope this game serves as a wake-up call heading to the chicken coop.

Tide is Rolling and Nothing can stop it

September 29th, 2012
10:39 pm

If you guys want to see a real defense, turn to ESPN.

SenoiaDawgs

September 29th, 2012
10:49 pm

UGA loses this game the past three years for certain. Would have never won it.

From that aspect this is a heck of a win.

My observations: UT has an excellent o-line. I haven’t seen a team block us that well in a long time.

CTG why are we constantly sending 4 in every game this year? Bring out the blitz’s next week. Maybe that was a product of UT’s QB and WR’s.

Gurshall is amazing.

Mitchell needs to replace Wooten.

Somebody please tell me why we took the foot off the gas in the 2nd Qtr. and 4th Qtr. Was it Bobo and Richt didn’t want to embarrass a Dooly? When calling the plays that clearly were working I think they could have scored every possession minus the turnovers.

D has to step up. We have given up too many points and yards in all 5 games. Great D’s would have at least limited 1 of those turnovers if not both to FG’s.

Murray just take the sack sometime and hold onto the ball!!!!!!!!!!!! You have had too many of these in your career. Otherwise great game.

GameDay confirmed in Columbia next weekend

Lance Dawg

September 29th, 2012
10:49 pm

I bet Grantham gives them an interesting week of practice this week.

Lance Dawg

September 29th, 2012
10:50 pm

Oh and I laughed at T King calling them Gurschell. I am not laughing now.

Around the Bowl, Down the Hole, Roll Tide Roll

September 29th, 2012
10:58 pm

Defense was better without Rambo and Ogletree. 478 yards, 29 first downs and 44 points. Our D is bad. Very, very bad.

Mayo

September 29th, 2012
11:02 pm

UGA outlasted a pretty good UT team today. Looking ahead a bit too much to S.C? Perhaps. Looks like at a point S.C. was doing the same against Kentucky. Meh, these things happen. UT was a trap game all the way–though Common Knowledge said otherwise. And like I SAID all week, this was a potential let-down for the Dawgs. Glad it was only potential….

Skokie Dog

September 29th, 2012
11:08 pm

I agree with Just Sayin. It’s a nice change to see good sportsmanship from the Dogs. Another thing that impressed me about Gurley today was his staying in bounds on those two late runs wide. Maybe he can tell Lynch about why that matters. If you recall, our TE ran straight upfield after that catch shortly before halftime. If he’d run toward the sideline, we might have had time for a shot or two at the end zone rather than kicking the long FG. Or Murray might have fumbled it again.
Next week, our D will get a steady dose of Lattimore until they can stop him.
UGa has a very talented team this year, but they somehow manage to make final scores much closer than they should be. If they cough up the ball three times next week, USCe will be celebrating.

SOUTHGADAWGG88

September 29th, 2012
11:12 pm

Maybe we force two or three TO’s by SC.It goes both ways

CHDawg

September 29th, 2012
11:13 pm

I don’t know that we have ever had this kind of offensive production to start a season! Amazing. Maybe the defenses haven’t been great, but it is still unprecedented. Tn’s passing offense is top ten…very strong. They will beat some good teams this year if they can play some D. This was a great growth game for both teams, and we didn’t appear to have any major injuries on either side, so both teams should keep improving. I was pretty pleased with our line. They have their biggest challenge next week. My other two keys–turnovers and pressuring Bray, well, we need a lot of work. This sort of game is inevitable. We find out a lot next week. Sic’em boys!

ugaclassof2004

September 29th, 2012
11:18 pm

Well the offense looked great.

Now the Con’s: We CAN NOT turn the ball over 3 times( especially within the 20 yard line) and expect to win. We had the Vols on the ropes and ready to quit in the 1st quarter and those turnovers by Murray and Marshall completely gave them new life. Football is a game of momentum. You have to take advantage of your opportunities and not allow your opponents to get back into the game. It’s that mentality right there that cost us in the SEC title game vs. LSU. We are not a good enough football team to make mistakes like that.There are also clear soft spots in our defense, most notably our inside LB’s and CB’s.

All that being said, there are always going to be those games where as a team you get hit in the mouth, and how you respond to that lets you know what kind of team you have. 2-3 years ago we would have mentally folded and lost this game.But the Dawgs found a way to pull this one out. You don’t want to make a living doing that, but it’s the SEC and sometimes you just have to gut out a game or two . We did that, and that’s a good thing. Hopefully this will be a wake up call for Richt & Co. going into next week.

Dawg Haus

September 29th, 2012
11:19 pm

Agreed, CHDawg. A lot of people are selling UT short. They have a very effective offense, even though they did score a fair amount of points off turnovers wrapped up with red and black bows. Solid D and ball control will win the game next weekend. Go Dawgs!

Fridawg

September 29th, 2012
11:48 pm

Dawgs did well to put up the points necessary to win. The D only gave up 24pts without the turnovers. That’s about what everyone was predicting. Tree and Rambo got the rust dusted off and we should be ready to roll next week.

You’ve GOT TO LOVE the Bama fans on here DURING their game. Hmmm…

ARdawg

September 29th, 2012
11:50 pm

Bring on Bama! We want you. Ole p!ss just scored again on you btw

ARdawg

September 29th, 2012
11:52 pm

The D was a let down late. Grantham has some work to do. The offense showed up to play. The defense, not so much

monty

September 30th, 2012
12:08 am

I agree with the poster who said it had the feel of the Michigan State game. Another few minutes of game and no doubt we get beat. The only thing that saved our bacon was the clock caused them to abandon their run game, we couldn’t stop. Not so sure about our vaunted defense. Runs up the gut kept netting 4,5,6 yards every time. We had no answer. Good thing they dropped passes and Bray missed wide open receivers.

Bobby

September 30th, 2012
12:23 am

When are the Dawgs getting a special teams coach?

Hunkerdown

September 30th, 2012
12:48 am

You do not see teams in contention for a NC giving up 44 points in a game. UGA is a good team…but after today I would not say great.

Joe

September 30th, 2012
1:10 am

Thanks for pointing out the horrifying officiating, Bill. How about that egregious block in the back on Patterson’s run, the same illegal block that the CBS broadcast crew pointed out, for which the flag was picked up?

Numerous times Jenkins and Geathers broke up the middle only to be tackled by Ufk linemen. Not sure why the SEC refs were trying to give Ufk the game today, but they were clearly doing all that they could.

I had no doubt that the Dawgs would be looking ahead today, and playing a team with nothing to lose and the sort of offensive firepower Ufk has is a recipe for disaster. Kudos to the Dawgs for overcoming all of that. Got to get the defense ready for next week.

Scu is not very good, but Spurrier will be very clever in his scheme and play calling. If Dawgs can get to 28 points, they should win with ease. Going to be a big one in the wasteland called Columbia, SC.

Whiznot

September 30th, 2012
1:14 am

Please don’t let Malcolm Mitchell field any kicks ever!

Ed

September 30th, 2012
1:48 am

Offense – amazing
Defense and special teams – embarrasing

SauteeDawg

September 30th, 2012
3:06 am

I second that motion. Don’t let Mitchell anywhere near kickoffs or punt returns.
Make him sit on the bench next to Branden Smith.
Just my opinion but Conley is a much more reliable reciever than Mitchell, Miktchell needs to stay on defense.
need to replace Morgan on PAT’s too. thats 4 this season in 5 games he’s missed or had blocked.
It’s like the NFL said about Walsh, just needs someone to teach him what he’s doing wrong and correct it, but UGA has noone that can do that. Now Walsh hasn’t missed a kick in the NFL, and has set 2 records in 3 games in the NFL.
Long night in Columbia next week.

Bill

September 30th, 2012
3:18 am

Fire Grantham!

Strat Cat Dawg

September 30th, 2012
3:50 am

The difference in our offense this year is Gurshall. The Tree-Swann INT was a thing of beauty.

Bama Fan#2

September 30th, 2012
6:00 am

A victory over UT any day is AWESOME!! If the dawgs can
clean up the defense and special teams mistakes Georgia
will win the SEC east. My team played like crap against
Mississippi and needs to get ready for a touch stretch
of the SEC!! RTR

Northern Sympathizer

September 30th, 2012
6:01 am

Agree with Bill King’s assessment. Huge win for the dawgs and an exciting game. I don’t like the matchup of our defense (which was gashed against the run) going against Marcus Lattimore. Dawgs definately need to play better and more sound on defense next week.