Georgia vs. Tennessee: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Volunteers

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVOctober 5, 2013

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 21: Cornerback Cameron Sutton #23 of the Tennessee Volunteers recovers a fumble in the 2nd quarter  against the Florida Gators  September 21, 2013 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Georgia 34, Tennessee 31—Final

Heartbreak struck Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday night, when the Tennessee Volunteers' upset bid fell short in a 34-31 overtime loss to the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs. 

For full stats, check out NCAA.com

 

Full Game Grades for Tennessee Volunteers

Pass Offense 

Big-play Worley. The Vols QB quickly shifted from a game manager to a gutsy gunslinger, making big play after big play and giving the Vols every opportunity. He finished 15-of-29 for 201 yards and a score. 

 

Rush Offense

Rajion Neal was a workhorse for UT, posting 28 carries for 148 yards and two scores. His 43-yard run on 4th-and-inches was a huge momentum swing and set the game up for a wild finish at Neyland Stadium.

 

Pass Defense

After giving Murray plenty of easy throws in the first half, the Vols secondary stood tall and took away the big play for nearly all of the second half until Georgia knotted it up with five seconds left. 

 

Rush Defense

Georgia ran all over the Vols early on, but the front seven stood tall in the second half. Save for a few big rushes, Tennessee didn't let up much of anything on the ground. 

 

Special Teams

True freshman Jalen Reeves-Maybin blocked a punt with the Vols down 17-10, resulting in a touchdown that knotted up the game. Palardy had the game of his life, with a few booming punts. 

 

Coaching

Call him "Butch Stones." The Vols were a perfect 3-of-3 on fourth down, all of which came at crucial moments. After botching the end of the first half, Jones called a perfect final 30 minutes. 

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 5: Members of the Tennessee Volunteers take the field before the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

 

1st-Half Grades for Tennessee Volunteers

Pass Offense

Vol fans enjoyed an unfamiliar sight—Justin Worley making first-down throws and a few splash plays to Alton "Pig" Howard. But it only produced one scoring drive, on which Worley overthrew a potential touchdown. 

 

Rush Offense

As the workhorse with Marlin Lane out, Rajion Neal has racked up 13 carries for 48 yards and showed nice vision. With some end-arounds to Howard sprinkled in, the Vols averaged four yards per carry in the half. 

 

Pass Defense

Georgia's Aaron Murray was given easy first-down throws all half. Chris Conley made a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab, and some luck—a tipped pass on fourth down falling in Conley's lap, going 24 yards and setting up a Bulldogs touchdown—was also involved.

 

Rush Defense 

Georgia's Keith Marshall left the game early with an ugly injury (via Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports), further depleting the backfield. The Bulldogs' 4.4 yards per carry were effective, but the Vols improved after Marshall's exit and came up with a few huge run stuffs on 3rd-and-short. 

 

Special Teams

Michael Palardy was the star for UT in the first half—no, really. He booted the second 60-plus-yard punt of his career and scored the team's only points on a 26-yard field goal. The punt coverage was outstanding as well, with a few walloping hits. 

 

Coaching

The Vols executed the game plan defensively by setting the edge. But Butch Jones' opted not to take one of his two timeouts with the clock winding down in the half, then threw the ball three times. Confusing.