No. 6 Georgia survives with 34-31 OT win at Tennessee
The Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia’s national-title hopes kept shrinking as its injury list kept growing.
Then Aaron Murray and Marshall Morgan came to the rescue and saved the sixth-ranked Bulldogs’ championship aspirations.
Morgan kicked a 42-yard field goal in overtime after Murray threw a tying touchdown pass with five seconds remaining in regulation Saturday as Georgia overcame a flurry of injuries in a 34-31 victory at Tennessee.
“I hit it and I knew it was good,” Morgan said. “I was just thinking — I don’t know — I just kind of lay down because I saw people running at me and my knee’s already (been) hurting all game.”
Morgan wasn’t the only Bulldog with an aching knee. Georgia running back Keith Marshall injured his right knee in the first quarter and was carted into the locker room, the first sign this day might not go as planned for the Bulldogs.
Georgia (4-1, 3-0 SEC) forced overtime on Murray’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Rantavious Wooten to make it 31-all. Georgia coach Mark Richt said the play actually was designed as a fade to the outside, but Murray instead found Wooten open across the middle.
Rajion Neal’s 7-yard run had put Tennessee (3-3, 0-2) ahead 31-24 with 1:54 left after Justin Worley found A.J. Branisel for a 28-yard completion on fourth-and-one from the Georgia 35.
Tennessee’s Alton “Pig” Howard capped the first overtime possession by losing control of the ball as he dove toward the front right corner of the end zone. Howard’s play was initially ruled a 7-yard touchdown, but replays showed he fumbled before crossing the goal line, turning the potential score into a turnover and touchback.
“Alton gave us a spark today,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. “He was just trying to make a play.”
Murray went 19 of 35 for 196 yards with three touchdowns and became the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in career yards passing. Murray has thrown for 11,625 yards to break the record held by David Greene, who threw for 11,528 yards for Georgia from 2001 to 2004. Neal ran for 148 yards for Tennessee (3-3, 0-2), which has lost 19 straight games against ranked opponents.
Marshall injured his knee after taking a hit from Tennessee’s Cam Sutton while reaching for an incomplete pass in the first quarter and was carted into the locker room. Wide receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley and punter Colin Barber were knocked out of the game later.