KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs dominated the Tennessee Volunteers 41-0 on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, recording their 800th win in school history in front of a sell-out crowd of 102,455.
Georgia improved to 2-0 in the conference and 5-0 on the season for the first time since 2012. That year, the Bulldogs overtook Tennessee 51-44 for their fifth win of the season. The Volunteers drop to 3-2 on the season and 0-2 in the SEC.
The Georgia defense headlined the contest, holding the Volunteers scoreless with 142 total yards and just over 22 minutes on the field. The group forced Tennessee’s lowest offensive numbers of the season and caused four turnovers, including first career interceptions for junior defensive back J.R. Reed and sophomore defensive back Tyrique McGhee.
Offensively, senior tailback Nick Chubb fueled the team’s 294 rushing yards with 109 yards of his own, including 75 in the first half. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm recorded three touchdowns, including two rushing as he hit 7-of-15 passes for 84 yards. Sophomore kicker Rodrigo Blankenship extended his torrid total of touchbacks, producing five on his seven kickoffs on the day.
“Defense creates offense,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “That comes from how you practice and the culture you create. We’re getting better at that, but we certainly have a tough test next week with Vandy. The fans had a big part of the day, they had great energy. Our players are certainly appreciative of what our fan base has done.”
It took one play to end Tennessee’s first offensive possession of the game with an interception from McGhee, positioning Blankenship for a 38-yard field goal and the 3-0 Georgia lead.
Midway through the first quarter, sophomore wide receiver Mecole Hardman’s 19-yard punt return began Georgia’s 7-play, 54-yard scoring drive. Back-to-back first-down completions from Fromm to both junior wide receiver Terry Godwin and senior wide receiver Javon Wims placed the Bulldogs in the red zone. Following two consecutive Georgia timeouts, Fromm connected with an airborne Wims in the end zone for the 10-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Georgia utilized the run game, beginning with an 87-yard march down the field on 11 plays. Chubb collected 42 yards on three-straight carriers to place Georgia in Tennessee territory. The offense continued the drive with a pair of 3rd-and-7 conversions, capped by Fromm’s first career rushing touchdown.
The next Tennessee possession, Deandre Baker broke up the junior quarterback Quinten Dormandy pass to freshman wide receiver Josh Palmer, deflecting the ball into the hands of Reed. The native of Frisco, Texas returned the interception to Tennessee’s 26-yard line. Five plays and 26 yards later, Fromm ran four yards into the end zone to seal the 24-0 first half.
In the second half, Georgia tacked on a touchdown apiece in each quarter. A blocked punt from junior inside linebacker D’Andre Walker paved the way for a 6-play, 55-yard offensive drive. Fromm completed a 19-yard pass to Godwin, and senior tailback Sony Michel provided a 21-yard rushing touchdown on the next play for the 31-0 edge.
Sophomore tailback Brian Herrien and freshman running back D’Andre Swift continued the Georgia run game in the fourth quarter, using six plays for 26 yards for a one-yard Herrien touchdown. With 5:34 remaining in the game, graduate kicker David Marvin notched a field goal to seal the 41-0 final.
Next up, Georgia heads to Vanderbilt to face the Commodores at 12 p.m. on Oct. 7.