Georgia vs. Tennessee score, highlights: No. 2 Bulldogs pound Volunteers for key SEC win
The Bulldogs relied on a heavy run attack to topple the Vols on Saturday in Athens
Elijah Holyfield had 78 yards rushing, Brian Herrien had 56 and D'Andre Swift added 50 yards and two scores to pace the Bulldogs offense. Defensively, they gave up just 66 yards on the ground and 209 total yards to the Volunteers in the emphatic win.
Georgia improved to 5-0 (3-0 SEC) with the win, while Tennessee fell to 2-3 (0-2 SEC).
What are the big takeaways from the game?
1. Georgia's running game is lethal: Swift is the star, Holyfield is one of the best "1B" running backs out there and speedster Brian Herrien -- of all people -- served as the closer late in the fourth quarter to put the game away when Georgia was only up 12. Or, to put it more simply, it's par for the course for the Bulldogs backfield.
It was especially critical on Saturday afternoon because the offense as a whole looked incredibly disjointed at times. The offensive line -- which is banged up a bit -- was a liability and quarterback Jake Fromm looked hesitant in the pocket at times because of it.
The running game taking control in the fourth quarter was enormous, especially when you factor in the absence of offensive linemen Ben Cleveland. It's the equivalent of a parachute. The luxury offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has with the options in his backfield is something most coaches would empty their bank accounts for. There's always an option to run the ball no matter the situation and no matter the type of defense.
Georgia doesn't have a No. 1 running back. It has three No. 1 running backs. Chaney just has to find the right one for any given situation.
2. Tennessee didn't quit ... and that's important: Real victories are going to by hard to come by on Rocky Top, but moral victories -- no matter how small -- are still important in Jeremy Pruitt's first year as the head coach.
This team could have quit. After getting embarrassed at home by Florida last week and turning the ball over six times in the process, the hangover the Vols could have had in Athens would rival that of the students who stayed until last call at Bourbon Street bar in Athens.
The Vols offense was so stagnant that it didn't cross midfield until the middle of the third quarter, and the first instance was by way of a Georgia unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The ability of Jarrett Guarantano to take advantage and drop a dime to Josh Palmer for a 37-yard score and then find Ty Chandler for a 35-yarder in the fourth is the kind of composure Pruitt needs to see from his sophomore signal-caller. Despite being shut down all night, the running game fought hard in the second half to at least make it interesting.
This is a young team with a first-time head coach that was coming off an utter embarrassment. Despite that, they didn't quit. That's part of the Pruitt foundation.
Give it time.
3. Justin Fields will be a factor: The world wondered how coach Kirby Smart would handle the presence of the five-star signee playing behind sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm. Five games in, the answer is clear: Fields is a factor.
When he trotted on the field in the first half, it made it impossible for Smart to redshirt him. So in the second half, all Fields did was score two rushing touchdowns and line up under center on a critical drive with Georgia up 12 in the fourth quarter. Gary Danielson said on the broadcast that Fields' presence opened up the running game against a Tennessee team that was stacking the line. As a result, the Bulldogs were able to march down the field, punch it in and bleed the clock.
We'll see more of that moving forward.
The staff trusts him, he can handle the pressure and he is a weapon on the ground. This is now the new norm.
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