Well, 2013 Auburn, you have a challenger for the most blessed team in college football. And its name is Tennessee.
The Volunteers’ 34-31 win over Georgia is the early contender for the SEC game of the year, if not the game of the year in college football. Tennessee was down, then rallied, then down again, then rallied again, then took the lead, then was on the verge of losing, then won in dramatic fashion thanks to a Joshua Dobb’s 43-yard Hail Mary to Jauan Jennings as time expired.
That’s a lot to digest, so here’s how everything went down.
1. Tennessee did what it usually does and fell behind early. The Vols have a bad habit of getting off to slow starts and Saturday was no different. Two first-half turnovers led to 10 Georgia points and the Bulldogs carried a 17-7 lead into halftime. Those are turnovers Tennessee hasn’t had to deal with in previous games despite ball security issues. However, a controversial Dobbs touchdown near the end of the second quarter kept Tennessee within striking distance.
Tennessee has been fortunate to get itself out of these early holes. Still, you have to wonder when that’s going to come back and haunt them.
2. The Tennessee defense stepped up with a crucial non-offensive score.Tennessee’s defense is loaded with special players, and special players make big plays in big games. Derek Barnett’s sack of quarterback Jacob Eason in the end zone led to a fumble, which Tennessee recovered to move ahead 28-24 late in the fourth quarter. On Georgia’s ensuing possession, Malik Foreman intercepted an Eason pass.
3. Eason rallied with a touchdown drive of his own. Give credit to Eason where it’s due: the true freshman showed maturity beyond his years by putting his two turnovers behind him and leading the Georgia offense on an 81-yard touchdown drive. The drive was capped off with a 47-yard touchdown to Riley Ridley with just 10 seconds remaining.
4. Tennessee got one final crack at the win. An Evan Berry return was aided by a defensive offsides penalty on Georgia that gave the Vols the ball on the Bulldogs’ 43-yard line with four seconds remaining. That was time for Dobbs to get one final throw off to win the game. And you know how that went.
Tennessee is now 5-0 and moves to 2-0 in SEC play.