KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 7 Georgia dismantled Tennessee 41-0 at Neyland Stadium on Saturday and improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC through that process.
Quarterback Jake Fromm had a hand in three first-half touchdowns, and the Bulldogs forced three turnovers in building a commanding 24-0 lead by halftime. Tennessee (3-2, 0-2) dropped its second game in the SEC, and that’s going to make it uncomfortable for Butch Jones for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Here are five things we learned in the Bulldogs’ victory:
Tennessee committed three fatal first-half turnovers. Quinten Dormady threw an interception to Georgia’s Tyrique McGhee on the first play from scrimmage. A “snap butt fumble” accounted for the second turnover, and Dormady threw another pick in the second half, which Georgia turned into a touchdown and a 24-0 lead.
Even when things went right in the second half (running back John Kelly rumbled for a 44-yard reception), they went wrong (he was stripped by Aaron Davis and J.R. Reed recovered). It was that kind of day for the Volunteers.
The turnovers were just part of Tennessee’s problem. The offense couldn’t get going in a disjointed performance that accounted for 30 plays, 64 yards and four first downs in the first half. Quinten Dormady finished 5 of 16 passing for 64 yards and two interceptions, and the running game couldn’t get going. Tennessee’s offensive line is a mess, too. The Vols had five first downs through three quarters.
Aside from Kelly, Tennessee lacks playmakers on offense. It showed against the Bulldogs.
Fromm won another big start on the road, and he made plays with his legs in the second quarter. He kept an 11-play drive alive with a 12-yard scramble and then closed a drive with a touchdown run. He added a 4-yard touchdown run for a score before halftime. Fromm’s steady play on the road helped the Bulldogs engineer a shutout, and he looks like the best option at quarterback for the Bulldogs right now.
Why? He’s good on third down. Georgia converted 5 of 9 third downs in the first half and 9 of 16 for the game.
Butch’s seat? On fire
It’s a moot point by now. Five days after telling the media “negativity can be overwhelming,” the Volunteers did nothing to combat that at home against a traditional rival. Tennessee fans headed for the exits.
How many teams are 0-2 against two primary division rivals before the end of September? Tennessee is on the short list. Jones’ job security will be the topic of conversation until something changes.
Things are going to be uncomfortable, that’s for sure.
Work to do at UGA
Georgia is 5-0 for the first time since 2012, which happens to be the last time the Bulldogs made the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs flashed their nasty defense, and the running game helped put away the Volunteers early with an 11-play, 87-yard drive in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs have notched back-to-back victories against Mississippi State and Tennessee in consecutive weeks by a combined score of 72-3, and that might land them in the top five of the AP Poll. If there’s a team that can challenge Alabama in the SEC, this is it. We’re a long way from there, however, and Kirby Smart knows it.
Georgia is good, but they aren’t that good yet.