3:30 PM ET, October 8, 2005
Neyland Stadium, KNOXVILLE, TN
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The knock on Georgia was its easy schedule and D.J. Shockley never starting against a top-10 team.
|2005||No. 5 Georgia||Lost by 13|
|2004||No. 8 Auburn||Lost by 24|
|2003||No. 8 Georgia||Lost by 27|
|2002||No. 2 Miami||Lost by 23|
|2002||No. 10 Florida||Lost by 17|
|2000||No. 6 Florida||Lost by 4|
The undefeated No. 5 Bulldogs took care of all that and stayed on course for a trip to the Southeastern Conference championship with a 27-14 win over No. 8 Tennessee on Saturday.
Shockley overcame an interception and fumble and helped alleviated any fear Georgia fans had about his ability to replace four-year starter David Greene adequately.
"I think this was a game that really put people out there to show that these guys can play a quality opponent and win a game and do it on the road," said Shockley, who was 16-of-27 for 207 yards and ran 11 times for 51 yards.
The Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0) won for the third straight time in Neyland Stadium and took advantage of Florida's loss last week to Alabama to control the SEC East standings.
Georgia has a favorable schedule to win the division. The Bulldogs' most difficult remaining league games are against Florida later this month and at home against Auburn in November.
"We control our destiny still. That's where you want to be," Georgia coach Mark Richt said.
An erratic season continued for the Volunteers (3-2, 2-2), and their offense showed more ineptness with two costly fumbles and an interception. They also had 12 penalties for 78 yards.
"Obviously we're very disappointed in the loss. I thought we had a really great week of preparation coming into the game," coach Phillip Fulmer said. "Defensively, I thought we played well enough to win the ballgame."
The Vols were playing their third game in two weeks because of the postponement of the LSU game to a Monday.
Georgia led 13-0 in the third quarter after Brannan Southerland's 1-yard touchdown run and two field goals by Brandon Coutu.
Tennessee needed help from its defense to avoid a shutout.
Jonathan Wade set up the Vols' first touchdown when he intercepted Shockley and returned it 34 yards to the Georgia 1 in the third quarter. Rick Clausen sneaked over the pile to score on the first play, giving the Vols the momentum. But it didn't last long.
Shockley fumbled on Georgia's next series in Tennessee territory, but the Vols turned it over again. Tra Battle recovered Josh Briscoe's fumble, but the Bulldogs failed to score on the ensuing possession.
Tennessee got it back at its 1 and had to punt. Thomas Flowers returned it 54 yards for a touchdown with 8:50 to go.
"He's never really been in this type of game before where he was the starter and where he really had to fight the adverse conditions," Richt said. "He handled it like a champion. He did not flinch."
Thomas Brown added an 18-yard touchdown run with 1:44 left to pad Georgia's lead. The Vols scored their second touchdown as time expired, a 24-yard pass from Clausen to Robert Meachem.
Tennessee came into the game with the SEC's top rush defense, but this time the Bulldogs' defense was better. The Vols were held to 48 yards on the ground. Gerald Riggs had 52 yards rushing on 19 carries.
The Bulldogs had 405 yards of total offense.
Clausen, already hampered by a sore left Achilles tendon, could not pull off the kind of rally he led at LSU, but Fulmer didn't let backup Erik Ainge play.
Clausen was 21-of-36 for 310 yards and had two turnovers in the first half.
DeMario Minter intercepted Clausen's pass at the goal line and stopped an eight-play drive.
Clausen fumbled on the Vols' following drive as he was chased by Darrius Swain, who was credited with the force and recovery.
Georgia capitalized with Coutu's second field goal.
"Lack of execution was the biggest thing. Their defense was good, but we stopped ourselves a lot. We shot ourselves in the foot," Clausen said.
Tennessee's defense took a major blow before halftime when cornerback Jason Allen was rolled over by Georgia's 6-foot-7 Justin Pope. Allen had to be carted off the field, and team officials said he hurt his left hip and was taken to a hospital.
His condition was not immediately available, but Fulmer said he would be "out for a while."
Allen came into the game as the Vols' leading tackler and was their best defender in the secondary.
Georgia also lost a key defender when starting middle linebacker Tony Taylor left in the first half with an elbow injury. He was third on the team in tackles.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Thomas Flowers returned a punt 54 yards for a Georgia TD with 8:50 left. That made the score 20-7, putting it out of reach for Tennessee's struggling offense.
Gameball goes to... D.J. Shockley. The Georgia QB went 16-of-27 for 207 yards and ran 11 times for 51 yards in his first time against a top-10 team.
Stat of the game... 3: The Bulldogs won for the third straight time in Neyland Stadium.
The Fan Pick
56.4% of College Pick'em players picked Georgia to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-14||5-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||0:17||BRANNAN SOUTHERLAND 1 YD RUN (BRANDON COUTU KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 84 yards.
|FG||0:00||BRANDON COUTU 18 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 24 yards.
|FG||7:54||BRANDON COUTU 25 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 62 yards.
|TD||0:57||RICK CLAUSEN 1 YD RUN (JAMES WILHOIT II KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 1 yards.
|TD||8:50||THOMAS FLOWERS 54 YD PUNT RETURN (BRANDON COUTU KICK)||20||7|
|TD||1:44||THOMAS BROWN 18 YD RUN (BRANDON COUTU KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||0:00||ROBERT MEACHEM 24 YD PASS FROM RICK CLAUSEN (JAMES WILHOIT II KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 63 yards.