Georgia survives Tennessee scare; more midday Snap Judgments
September 30, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
• No. 5 Georgia 51, Tennessee 44: The fine fans of the Southeastern Conference pride themselves on the fact that their league plays defense better than any other. They thumb their noses at such football farces as Saturday's Baylor-West Virginia score-a-thon.
Well, two SEC stalwarts met Saturday in Athens, Ga., and there was no shortage of missed tackles or blown assignments in No. 5 Georgia's 51-44 win over Tennessee. Georgia freshman tailback Keith Marshall broke two 70-plus yard touchdowns; Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at one point fielded a reverse, cut back and made about eight Bulldogs miss on a 46-yard score; Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray completed a 32-yard touchdown pass; Tennessee counterpart Tyler Bray completed a 62-yard pass. The teams combined for 1,037 yards.
In fairness, big defensive plays ultimately made the difference. Tennessee forced two fumbles deep in Georgia territory at the end of the first half to help turn the Vols' 27-10 deficit into a temporary 30-27 lead. And with the game on the line, the Dawgs squelched three straight attempts at game-tying Tennessee drives by forcing Bray turnovers: the first an interception by Sanders Commings, the second a forced fumble by Jordan Jenkins, the third another pick by Commings on a tipped pass with :08 to go.
Overall, it was not the finest performance for Georgia's previously stout defense, especially considering it got back two suspended starters, Bacarri Rambo and Alec Olgetree. But the 5-0 Dawgs go into next week's showdown with No. 6 South Carolina knowing they've got one heck of a running game to complement Murray. Freshman tailbacks Marshall and Todd Gurley combined for 293 yards and five touchdowns. Wow. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 14 Ohio State 17, No. 20 Michigan State 16: In a continuing effort to send an unranked Big Ten champion to Pasadena, ineligible Ohio State shut down Michigan State star Le'Veon Bell to move to 5-0. SI.com's Andy Staples was on hand for Urban Meyer's first Big Ten win and has more here. [RECAP | BOX]