3:30 PM ET, October 9, 2004
Sanford Stadium, ATHENS, GA
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Tennessee hardly looked like the same team. Neither did Georgia.
Bouncing back from a dismal loss at home the week before, No. 17 Tennessee got two touchdown passes from freshman Erik Ainge and held on for a 19-14 upset of the third-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday.
The Volunteers (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) looked terrible in a 34-10 loss to Auburn -- especially Ainge, who threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in his first college start.
The freshman was much better in his first college road game, helping end Georgia's 17-game winning streak between the hedges.
"Coach told us there is nothing like going into someone else's house and being able to come into the locker room and sing after the game," said Ainge, who completed 12 of 21 for 150 yards and -- most important -- didn't have a turnover.
Georgia (4-1, 2-1) didn't come close to duplicating its previous game, a near-perfect 45-16 rout of defending SEC champion LSU. David Greene struggled against Tennessee's zone coverages and the Bulldogs kept hurting themselves with penalties.
"I can't explain it," said Greene, who threw a school-record five touchdown passes against LSU. "I couldn't explain it last week, and I can't explain it today."
Greene was only 15-of-34 for 163 yards, failing to throw even one TD.
The Vols, a 12½-point underdog, built a quick 10-0 lead and held off the Bulldogs at the end. Georgia squandered a chance to take control of the SEC East, which is up for grabs again.
Georgia, Tennessee and Florida tied for first place last season, with the Bulldogs claiming the spot in the SEC title game because of their higher ranking in the BCS.
"This is a tough loss for us," coach Mark Richt said. "It puts us behind the eight-ball in our division. We've got to keep winning. There's no margin for error."
Driving from its own 12 to the Tennessee 19, Georgia had one shot at the end zone with a second remaining. Appropriately, Greene's pass over the middle didn't come close to connecting with anyone, falling harmlessly to the ground.
Tennessee snapped a four-game losing streak in the series, beating Georgia for the first time since 1999.
"They didn't really say anything this week, but you could tell they didn't have a lot of respect for us," Ainge said.
Undeterred by Ainge's performance against Auburn, coach Phillip Fulmer started him again. The Vols' other freshman quarterback, Brent Schaeffer, played only one series.
Tennessee built on a 13-7 lead after stuffing a fake punt by the Bulldogs late in the third quarter. Ainge threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hannon that made it 19-7 with 14:04 remaining in the game.
The Bulldogs were their own worst enemy. After getting called for only one penalty against LSU, they were flagged 12 times for 82 yards. The most crucial call came in the second quarter, when Bryan McClendon returned a kickoff all the way to the Tennessee 2, only to have it wiped out by Leonard Pope's holding penalty.
Also, Andy Bailey missed a 29-yard field goal that might have made things easier on the Bulldogs in the final minute.
Georgia made it close when Danny Ware bounced off a tackler to score on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 4:22 remaining. The defense forced a punt by twice stuffing Tennessee on short-yardage plays, but it didn't matter.
Georgia already had squandered a chance to go ahead early in the third quarter when Gerald Riggs fumbled and DeMario Minter recovered at the Tennessee 13. Greene threw two incompletions and the Bulldogs wound up with nothing when Bailey missed the chip shot.
Except for the fumble, Riggs ran the ball well -- 102 yards on a grueling 26 carries.
Tennessee took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards, converting twice on third-and-long and another time on fourth down.
It was third-and-9 when Ainge found Bret Smith all alone in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard TD strike.
After Georgia went three-and-out, Tennessee drove for a field goal that made it 10-0. Ainge converted another big third down, hitting C.J. Fayton with a 12-yard pass that set up James Wilhoit's 35-yarder.
The Bulldogs finally got a first down some three minutes into the second quarter, but only after D.J. Shockley took over at quarterback for Greene in a predetermined plan to come in for Georgia's third possession.
Shockley had a 13-yard run and completed all three of his passes on the drive, including a 24-yard touchdown to Fred Gibson.
Greene returned on the next possession, and the offense reverted to its previous struggles. Wilhoit connected on a 51-yard field goal with just under three minutes left in the half, sending the Vols to the locker room with a 13-7 lead.
Wilhoit also missed three field-goal attempts that could have stretched Tennessee's lead.
But the Vols weren't complaining.
"Our never doubted that we would win," Riggs said. "I have total confidence in my team."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-15||8-18|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||2-3|
|TD||10:17||BRET SMITH 22 YD PASS FROM ERIK AINGE (JAMES WILHOIT KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||2:22||JAMES WILHOIT 35 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||10:44||FRED GIBSON 24 YD PASS FROM D.J. SHOCKLEY (ANDY BAILEY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yards.
|FG||2:59||JAMES WILHOIT 51 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 15 yards.
|TD||14:04||CHRIS HANNON 4 YD PASS FROM ERIK AINGE (FAILED 2PT PASS)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 40 yards.
|TD||4:22||DANNY WARE 1 YD RUN (ANDY BAILEY KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 66 yards.