KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- David Greene was 22-of-27 for 228 yards
and one touchdown as Georgia (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) moved closer to defending its
Southeastern Conference championship with a 41-14 victory over Tennessee (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1) moved atop the SEC East division
standings by winning their fourth straight game over the Volunteers
(4-2, 2-2), who suffered their worst loss home loss since Florida's
31-0 win in 1994.
Greene improved to 3-0 against Tennessee as Georgia led from the
beginning and scored 21 points off three turnovers.
Emotions were high for both teams evident by many strong hits,
an ejection and a scuffle between players after Georgia intercepted
a pass in the third quarter.
Trailing 13-7, the Volunteers' chances for a rally started to
vanish after Tennessee's Casey Clausen fumbled near the goal line.
Georgia's Sean Jones picked it up and ran 92 yards for a touchdown
as time ran out in the first half.
Odell Thurman intercepted Clausen's pass midway through the
third quarter and returned it 26 yards to the Tennessee 5. Tyson
Browning ran 8 yards for a touchdown three plays later.
After David Pollack sacked Clausen on the Vols' ensuing
possession, Georgia's Kedric Golston batted Clausen's pass, which
was intercepted by Robert Geathers. The teams were called for
offsetting penalties for some pushing and shoving.
Georgia's Derrick White was ejected from the game, and Kregg
Lumpkin ran 22 yards on the next play for a touchdown to put the
The Bulldogs' defense was caught being too aggressive at times
but prevented Tennessee from taking the lead before halftime.
Trailing 13-7, the Vols sustained a long drive to the Georgia 1
after the Bulldogs were penalized for a late hit on Tennessee
quarterback Casey Clausen and then for roughing the passer.
The Vols moved 13 yards on the next three plays for
first-and-goal at the Georgia 3. On Tennessee's third attempt to
score, Clausen fumbled as the fullback knocked it from his hands.
Sean Jones picked it up in a scramble for the ball and returned it
untouched for a touchdown as time ran out in the first half.
By earning the head-to-head advantage over the Vols, Georgia
could lose another SEC game and still lock up a berth to the SEC
This rivalry has gotten more intense since Georgia ended
Tennessee's nine-game winning streak in 2000.
Clausen, who didn't play in last year's game at Athens because
of a shoulder injury, made himself a target this year. He told
reporters a few days after the 2001 game the outcome would have
been different even if he had played on one arm.
Both arms weren't enough this year. He finished 11-of-21 for 165
Georgia didn't even need a thrilling comeback like the 2001 game
Two years ago, the Vols had taken the lead with 44 seconds to
go, but Georgia came back to score on Verron Haynes 6-yard
touchdown catch with 5 seconds remaining.
Tennessee had a spark in the second quarter when Clausen's pass
around midfield appeared to be intercepted by Georgia's Decory
Bryant. The Tennessee player he was defending, Mark Jones, reached
over his back, grabbed the ball and ran to the end zone for a
90-yard scoring play, the longest pass play in Tennessee history.
Georgia's Billy Bennett made field goals of 32 and 44 yards.
Michael Johnson caught Greene's only touchdown pass, an 11-yard
floater, at the beginning of the second quarter.