When things looked leaked for the Vols, Tennessee continued to fight.
Jauan Jennings plucked a 43-yard desperation heave from Josh Dobbs as time to give No. 11 Tennessee a 34-31 victory over No. 25 Georgia at Sanford Stadium on Saturday.
“I told our kids in the huddle that we were going to come down with it–we’re going to find a way,” Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones said. “Josh (Dobbs) threw the best ball he’s thrown in his career, and what can I say about Jauan Jennings? He wasn’t going to be denied.”
The winning touchdown came just moments after the Bulldogs regained the lead as freshman Jacob Eason hit Riley Ridley for a 47-yard touchdown pass. After the touchdown, Georgia was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty, and a 20-yard kickoff return by Evan Berry set-up the last play heroics.
Earlier in the game, the Vols trailed by 17 points making Saturday the fourth come-from-behind win of the season.
“We knew that we were walking into a great environment and we had to grow up as a football team,” Jones said. “I didn’t like our performance in the first half. I thought we were nonchalant. I didn’t think we were very physical on both sides of the football. There’s something about this team; they’re resilient. They understand. And you don’t win a game like that if you don’t have character, and I continue to say it.”
Derek Barnett put Tennessee ahead with just under three minutes to play as he forced a fumble in the end zone that Corey Vereen recovered.
Dobbs completed 16 of 26 passes for 230 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and ran for 26 yards and one score on 11 carries.
Jennings finished with 71 yards on three catches and the game-winning score. Jalen Hurd had three catches for 50 yards and one touchdown and also carried the ball 10 time for 42 yards. Alvin Kamara led Tennessee in rushing with 62 yards on 16 carries and added three receptions for 26 yards and one score.
Georgia’s Eason finished 17-of-27 for 211 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Sony Michel had 16 carries for 91 yards and Brian Herrien had 74 yards on 15 carries.
For Tennessee, the sequence of events at the end of the game was something they will never forget.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Jones said. “I saw the ball and it was a tight spiral and had good lift so I thought we had a chance. It’s one of those moments in time that you’ll remember forever. I’ve also been on the other end of it too and you’ll remember that forever.”