Instant analysis: UGA 34, Tennessee 31
October, 5, 2013
By David Ching | ESPN.com
With injuries hitting many of its most important offensive players and Tennessee rallying to take a late lead, No. 6 Georgia barely forced overtime with a game-tying touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Rantavious Wooten with 5 seconds remaining. After Tennessee's Alton Howard fumbled at the pylon for a touchback to halt the Volunteers' overtime possession, Georgia's Marshall Morgan blasted a 42-yard field goal to help Georgia slip away with a 34-31 victory.
Let's take a quick look at how the Bulldogs earned the win.
It was over when: It was truly anybody's game until Morgan drilled the winning field goal. Tennessee had converted a number of fourth-down attempts, capitalized on big special-teams plays and found a rhythm against the Bulldogs' porous defense. But Howard's fumble gave the Bulldogs the break they had not enjoyed all game and Morgan's kick helped them survive the upset bid.
Gameball goes to: Murray. He started the game without injured All-SEC tailback Todd Gurley after losing top wideout Malcolm Mitchell in the opener. Then Keith Marshall went down early with a knee injury. Then receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley both left with injuries of their own. But somehow Georgia's quarterback drove his team for the tying score -- on a 2-yard pass to Wooten -- and did enough with his skeleton-crew offense to win.
Stat of the game: Georgia was 1-for-9 on third down before its final drive of regulation, but the Bulldogs converted three first downs on the final drive, including Murray's pass to Wooten for the tying score. Georgia finished 4-for-13.
Unsung heroes of the game: Freshman tailback J.J. Green took over when Marshall suffered a knee injury in the first quarter and propelled Georgia's running game with 17 carries for 129 yards in his first extensive playing time of his young career. His fellow freshman tailback Brendan Douglas deserves a nod for his key 32-yard catch that set up Wooten's game-tying touchdown.
What it means: Tennessee came within an eyelash of ending an 18-game losing streak against ranked opponents, but Georgia survived. The Bulldogs' status as the SEC East's overwhelming favorite is now in great doubt, however, after potentially serious injuries to Marshall, Bennett and Scott-Wesley on Saturday.
Drive Through: Week 1 Thoughts
12:00 PM ET Florida Atlantic 2 Alabama 12:00 PM ET 24 Missouri Toledo 12:00 PM ET Arkansas State Tennessee 2:00 PM ET UAB Mississippi State 3:30 PM ET Ohio Kentucky 4:00 PM ET Eastern Michigan Florida 4:00 PM ET Nicholls State Arkansas 4:30 PM ET 18 Ole Miss Vanderbilt 7:00 PM ET East Carolina 9 South Carolina 7:00 PM ET San Jose State 6 Auburn 7:30 PM ET Sam Houston State 13 LSU 7:30 PM ET Lamar 21 Texas A&M