All of them, and plenty of others, put the Bulldogs in bad spot after bad spot in the first half with penalties. Georgia committed nine penalties for 52 yards in the first 30 minutes. They had 12 penalties for 82 yards overall.
“The hidden yardage we lost was a big part of the game,” Coach Mark Richt said.
None of the penalties was more harmful than a holding whistled against Pope late in the second quarter. The violation negated a 90-yard kickoff return by Bryan McClendon.
Instead of having first-and-goal on Tennessee’s 2-yard line, Georgia had first-and-10 on its own 20 and failed to move the ball past midfield.
“I blocked how my coaches taught me to block,” he said. “It was a pretty clean block.” He did admit, though, that “we weren’t focused on some plays.”
Pope didn’t have to shoulder all the blame. There was plenty to go around.
Thompson cost his team 20 yards earlier in the second quarter by jumping offsides and negating a 15-yard loss on a sack of Brent Schaeffer by Derrick White. That foul didn’t cost the Bulldogs any points because James Wilhoit later missed a 40-yard field goal attempt wide right.
In the first quarter, the Bulldogs backed themselves up to Tennessee’s 1-yard line due to back-to-back penalties on Greene (delay) and fullback Jeremy Thomas (motion). Those are the kind of penalties Coach Mark Richt described as “ones you just can’t have.”
“I don’t know if it’s lack of concentration or what,” Greene said.
The second half started much like the first as Greene was called for intentional grounding on third-and-11. The 12-yard penalty took the Bulldogs out of field goal range. Richt and Greene argued that there shouldn’t have been a penalty because Greene was outside the tackles when he threw the ball.
The defense then erased a third-and-eight against Tennessee by having 12 men on the field. The 15-yard penalty gave the Vols a first down on their 33-yard line. Later in the drive, Paul Oliver was called for pass nterference, converting a third down for Tennessee.
The Volunteers offset some of Georgia’s mistakes by playing a sloppy game of their own. They lost 38 yards on six penalties.