Vols stagnant after halftime in loss to Georgia

James Marshall
October 10, 2019

The bye week came at a great time for third-ranked Georgia, which heads to Tennessee on Saturday after a week off following a 23-17 victory over No. 10 Notre Dame on September 21.

Junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has thrown as many interceptions (four) as touchdowns against FBS opponents, and was benched for part of the second half against Florida in favor of freshman Brian Maurer (4-for-13 for 44 yards in two games).

Guarantano has completed 64.5% of his passes for 736 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions as Tennessee has lost three of its first four games.

Late in the second quarter, Maurer was 10 of 17 for 205 yards with two touchdowns. On that date, Justin Hunter and Mychal Rivera accomplished that feat vs. Missouri.

Maurer electrified the crowd on Tennessee's second series as he executed a play-action pass to a wide-open Marquez Callaway, who made the catch around the Georgia 30 and raced to the end zone for a 73-yard touchdown.

The second half started off slow, but about midway through the third quarter Maurer overthrew his receiver down the sideline and the pass was picked off by Richard LeCounte. The Fighting Irish were Georgia's first true test this season, and while the Volunteers have dropped three of their first four games, head coach Kirby Smart believes the Bulldogs will remain on track in part because of the leadership provided by junior quarterback Jake Fromm. Blankenship was good from 50 yards to make it 10-7 UGA. Brian Maurer provided a spark for Tennessee early in the game. Maurer and company seized the lead on the next possession, as the freshman signal-caller fired a dart across the middle to Jennings for a 12-yard touchdown on the opening play of the second quarter. But the offense slowed down quite a bit in the second half and the defense couldn't put any pressure on Fromm. Georgia moved back in front with two touchdowns in the final 1:59 of the half. Blankenship added the extra point after the first TD, and the Vols stymied the Bulldogs' two-point conversion following the second strike, leaving the score 26-14 at the intermission. After Tennessee drove into field-goal range, Brent Cimaglia's 47-yard kick sailed wide left with 59 seconds remaining, his first miss of the season after nine straight successful attempts. On Maurer's final play of the night, Eric Stokes sacked him and knocked the ball loose, enabling Tae Crowder to score the game's last touchdown on a 60-yard fumble return with 4:38 left. Blankenship's PAT gave Georgia a 20-14 lead.

Next week Tennessee will face Mississippi State in Neyland.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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