No. 5 Georgia holds off Tennessee, 51-44
In SEC East Division game
Saturday, September 29, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Todd Gurley ran for three touchdowns and Keith Marshall added two as No. 5 Georgia recovered after blowing a 17-point lead to beat Tennessee 51-44 on Saturday in the highest-scoring game ever between the SEC rivals.
Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC), which had never scored more points against the Volunteers, needed three takeaways in the final six minutes stay unbeaten. Twice Sanders Commings intercepted Tyler Bray's passes and in between the Tennessee quarterback was stripped from behind and the fumble was recovered by Georgia's John Jenkins.
Aaron Murray threw two third-quarter touchdown passes to Michael Bennett for the Bulldogs.
Georgia led 27-10 early in the second quarter before Tennessee took the lead with 20 unanswered points.
Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC) took its third straight loss in the series under coach Derek Dooley, the son of Georgia's former longtime coach Vince Dooley.
Gurley had 24 carries for 130 yards. Marshall had 164 yards on only 10 carries.
Bray moved the Vols inside the Georgia 35 late in the game before he fumbled when hit by linebacker Jordan Jenkins. John Jenkins recovered with 1:22 remaining.
Bray had one more long-shot chance when the Vols took possession with 15 seconds remaining. Commings intercepted his first pass.
"It's nice to have a gut-check and come out on top," said Georgia coach Mark Richt.
Bray completed 24-of-45 passes for 281 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Rajion Neal had 104 yards rushing with a touchdown and also caught a touchdown pass.
Murray completed 19 of 25 for 278 yards with two touchdowns, one interception. Murray also lost a fumble.
Despite the loss, the Vols uncovered problems for Georgia's defense with its potent offense.
Entering the day, Tennessee had its most total yards through four games in school history, and Bray's 12 touchdown passes tied for the NCAA lead.
Georgia, meanwhile, led the SEC with its average of 47.5 points after topping 40 points in its first four games for the first time in school history.
Following a 30-30 first half, Murray threw third-quarter touchdown passes of 8 and 32 yards to Bennett.
The game was a special teams mess for both sides.
There were three missed extra points, including two by Georgia. The Bulldogs blocked a punt and Tennessee's Derrick Brodus missed a 28-yard field goal.
The Vols' only touchdown in the first quarter came on Byron Moore's 35-yard interception return.
Tennessee capitalized on lost fumbles by Murray and Marshall and other mistakes for 20 unanswered points to take the lead.
Georgia's unraveling began when Malcolm Mitchell allowed a punt by Matt Darr to roll to the Bulldogs' 1. Georgia punted after three conservative running plays, setting up A.J. Johnson's 1-yard touchdown run from the Vols' "Beast" Wildcat formation.
On Georgia's second play, Murray fumbled when hit by blitzing linebacker Herman Lathers. Johnson recovered at the Georgia 8. On third down from the 4, Bray passed to Zach Rogers for a touchdown.
The deluge of mistakes continued for Georgia when Gurley caught the kickoff at stepped out of bounds at the 1. Four plays later, Marshall fumbled when hit by Curt Maggitt. Defensive end Darrington Sentimore recovered at the Georgia 18.
A facemask penalty on Georgia's Kwame Geathers helped pave the way for Neal's 10-yard touchdown pass from Bray for a 30-27 lead.
Georgia pulled even on Marshall Morgan's 50-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
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