The Volunteers converted all three of their fourth down chances in the game in the final 15 minutes of regulation in the 34-31 Georgia overtime victory.
“Because our offense is so explosive—South Carolina went for it on fourth-and-2—I think we’re going to see a lot of fourth downs because people feel like they’ve got to keep the ball,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “We obviously didn’t play the one flip play very good but we’ll learn from it and move on.”
That flip play on a fourth-and-1 pitch from Justin Worley to Rajion Neal from the Tennessee 34 turned into a 43 yard gain.
“That really what boosted their emotions a lot,” outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said.
Tennessee scored on that drive to tie the game at 24 and then converted two fourth-and-1s on the next drive, getting a 1-yard run from Neal and a 28 yard pass from Worley to A.J. Branisel.
“They’ve got a great O-line,” inside linebacker Ramik Wilson said. “That’s probably the best O-line we’ve faced this year. They called the right play and we didn’t execute our play.”
The flip play conversion was set up after Blake Sailors was called for a delay of game for stomping his foot on a fourth-and-6.
Tweeted Fox Sports’ Mike Pereira, a former vice president of officiating for the NFL: “The foul in the Georgia game was correct. The defender took a jab step in an attempt to draw a false start. That is a foul.”
Opponents are converting on fourth downs against Georgia 60 percent of the time, which ranks 82nd nationally and ninth in the SEC.
Bennett has torn meniscus in knee
Georgia wide receiver Michael Bennett sustained a torn meniscus in his right knee Saturday and is undergoing arthroscopic surgery today, according to the school’s official injury report.
Coach Mark Richt has said only Bennett won’t play this week, but a timetable for his return isn’t known.
“We hope he’s back as soon as possible, like within a couple of weeks,” said receiver Rhett McGowan, “but we don’t know right now.”
Georgia listed McGowan as the starting split end in its depth chart this week. Walk-on Kenneth Towns is the backup.
Georgia lost receiver Justin Scott-Wesley and tailback Keith Marshall to torn ACLs on Saturday. Scott-Wesley tweeted that his surgery will be Tuesday morning.
Richt provided a Todd Gurley injury update on Monday afternoon during a TV appearance, but he wanted no part of talking about the Bulldogs long list of wounded hours earlier.
Richt was asked to provide an update on Georgia’s injury in a morning appearance on Atlanta’s WSB radio. There were 14 injured players listed by Georgia on Monday.
“Well, you know, I’m tired about talking about the injury report,” Richt said. “That’s all everybody talks about. We need to talk about who’s healthy. We need to talk about who’s going to play in this ballgame. We’re sorry for the guys that got hurt and I’m sure they can figure it out on the Internet. It’s time to talk about the next man getting his opportunity and play well and certainly loving up the guys who got hurt. If we want to talk about it all week, I’m going to stop it now.”
Richt took to Twitter later to apologize for how he handled that.
“Sorry about being grumpy on my WSB Richt report this am. I’m sorry for our boys who were injured. They will be back. They are tough warriors.”
When he was interviewed on ESPNU later, Richt said that he wants Gurley to play coming off a sprained ankle when he’s ready, like he said on Sunday.
“He’s progressing quickly, but is it going to be quick enough to play this week?,” Richt said. “I have no idea. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Morgan, Burnette get SEC honors
Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan is making up for lost time.
The sophomore was named Monday as SEC special teams player of the week for the second straight week. He’s played in just three games this season after being suspended for the first two following a boating under the influence arrest.
Morgan hit the game-winning 42-yard field goal in Georgia’s 34-31 win at Tennessee Saturday.
He also booted a 56-yard field goal, a career-long for him and the longest on the road in program history. He kicked a 55-yarder a week earlier, giving him two of the longest four field goals in FBS play this season.
Also Monday, guard Chris Burnette was named SEC offensive lineman of the week. He graded out at 82 percent with six “dominator” blocks and four knockdowns.
Georgia has allowed just one sack the past three games.
This and that
Georgia has another early kickoff coming up this month. The Bulldogs’ game at Vanderbilt on Oct. 19 is set for 12 p.m. ET and will be shown nationally on CBS as part of a doubleheader. That means the game will have an 11 a.m. kickoff local time in Nashville.
Among those listed out of practice Monday: punter Collin Barber (concussion), fullback Quayvon Hicks (ankle/knee sprain), safety Tray Matthews (hamstring), receiver Jonathon Rumph (hamstring). Safety Connor Norman (concussion) is limited.
ESPN’s on-air talent for Saturday: Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill.