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No. 6 Georgia edges Tennessee in OT
Knoxville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Marshall Morgan made a 42-yard field goal in the first overtime to give the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs a hard-fought 34-31 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers.
Morgan's game-winner came after Tennessee's Alton Howard fumbled the ball out of the end zone to start overtime.
Aaron Murray completed 19-of-35 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns for the Bulldogs (4-1, 3-0 SEC), who lost four key players to injuries in the game. The senior quarterback became the SEC's all-time leader in passing yards (11,625), surpassing former Bulldog David Greene.
"Obviously the guys that got hurt, it made a big difference for them," Georgia coach Mark Richt said of the injuries. "I think everybody just wanted to keep fighting. Everybody just wanted to step up and play."
J.J. Green carried the ball 17 times for 129 yards for Georgia, which has won four in a row since opening the season with a loss to Clemson. Rantavious Wooten hauled in six passes for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs saw running back Keith Marshall (knee), wide receivers Michael Bennett (knee) and Justin Scott-Wesley (knee) and punter Collin Barber (concussion) exit the game.
Justin Worley connected on 17-of-31 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown for the Volunteers (3-3, 0-2), who came close to pulling off their first win over a top 10 team since Oct. 7, 2006 when they beat Georgia.
Rajion Neal carried the ball 28 times for 148 yards and two scores. Marquez North hauled in four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.
"I'm very proud of every individual in our football program," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "You saw a football team, undermanned, that laid it on the line. They made the plays to get it to that point. Learn how to finish. Proud to be their head football coach and they've had their best week of preparation."
Neal's second touchdown of the fourth quarter gave Tennessee a 31-24 lead with 1:54 left.
Murray had the answer and led the Bulldogs down the field. Green kept the drive alive early with a 17-yard run on 3rd-and-1. Brendan Douglas caught a pass in the flat and ran for 32 yards down the left sideline to pick up a 3rd- and-6. Tennessee committed two straight penalties later in the drive to give Georgia a 1st-and-goal from the two. The visitors converted another third down when Murray hooked up with Wooten for a score with five seconds remaining.
On the fifth play of overtime, Howard took a handoff and went to the right side. Howard's play was initially ruled a 7-yard touchdown as he tried the stretch the ball over the goal line. But replays showed he fumbled prior to crossing the goal line, turning the potential score into a touchback.
Georgia ran three plays before Morgan's game-winner sailed through the uprights.
Morgan made a career-long 56-yard field goal on Georgia's first possession of the game.
The Bulldogs scored a touchdown on their next drive to make it a 10-0 game. On 3rd-and-1 from the Tennessee 13-yard line, Douglas carried the ball for six yards. Douglas added another run of six yards before Chris Conley's 1-yard TD catch.
The Volunteers got on the board early in the second stanza. Howard caught a 20-yard pass on the first play of an 11-play drive that ended with Michael Palardy's 26-yard field goal.
Georgia responded with a touchdown on its ensuing possession. Chris Conley caught passes of 20 and 24 yards, with his 24-yard reception coming on 4th- and-4. Wooten capped the 11-play drive with a 4-yard TD catch, making it a 17-3 contest with 5:09 left until half.
Tennessee scored 14 points in the third quarter to tie the game. The Volunteers took over at their own 22 after Morgan missed a 39-yard field goal. Howard's 33-yard catch led to North's 19-yard TD catch midway through the period.
The Volunteers got a big play from their special teams unit later in the frame. The home team blocked a punt and Devaun Swafford returned the ball 15 yards for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs switched the momentum on the final play of the third quarter, when Murray recorded a 57-yard run. Douglas then started the fourth with a 3- yard TD run, making it 24-17 Georgia.
The Volunteers took a risk on the ensuing possession, going for it on 4th- and-1 from their own 34. Worley pitched the ball to Neal and the running back ran for 43 yards down the left sideline. Five plays later, Neal rumbled into the end zone from one yard out.
Tennessee got the ball back at its own 20 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the fourth. The home team converted a pair of fourth downs during a 13-play drive. Neal just picked up a first down on 4th-and-1. Josh Smith caught a 26-yard pass before the Volunteers were faced with a 4th-and-1 from the Georgia 35. Worley used the play-action pass to find A.J. Branisel wide open for a 28-yard gain. Neal's 7-yard TD run made it 31-24 with 1:54 to go.
Tennessee owns a slim edge over Georgia in the all-time series, 21-20-2, but the Bulldogs have won four straight meetings ... Saturday's game marked just the third time since the 1930s that a Tennessee team has worn anything other than orange at home.
10/05 22:23:23 ET
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