It took Tennessee 11 seconds to score a touchdown against the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
But the next 59-plus minutes were a different story.
Georgia (11-0) flexed its muscles and rolled to a 38-10 rout of Tennessee (7-4) to snap the Vols’ 14-game winning streak at Neyland Stadium.
By the time the final horn sounded, Georgia fans had taken over the stadium with some 12,000 sprinkled throughout.
The victory was historic for the Bulldogs, marking their SEC-record tying 28th win in a row. Only Alabama under Bear Bryant (1978-80) and Gene Stallings (1991-1993) won that many in a row.
There wasn’t anything complicated about Georgia’s seventh straight win over Tennessee.
Georgia is a much better team with much more talent.
Georgia executed on offense, converting 9 of 13 third-downs while UT was only 2 of 11, leading Georgia to have a commanding advantage in time of possession: 40:58 to 19:02.
Georgia had the better run game: 40 carries for 156 yards compared to UT’s 25 for 130. Take out UT’s 75-yard scoring run on the first snap and UT rushed for a mere 45 yards.
Georgia had the better defense, holding UT to 277 yards on 55 snaps while the Dawgs offense mustered 472 yards on 71 plays.
After UT’s Jaylen Wright sprinted 75 yards on the game’s opening play, the Vols didn’t have much to cheer about.
“I knew it was going to be called about two days ago,” Wright said of his scoring burst. “I trusted my linemen and hit the seam.”
Not much else went right for an offense that managed at least two first downs on just four of 10 possession and was held scoreless in the second half for the second game in a row – and third game this season.
“Today was not our best football,” said UT coach Josh Heupel. “When you’re 2 for 11 on third down, you’re not going to win.
“You don’t like the scoreboard, but our guys continued to compete.”
It just wasn’t good enough against the two-time defending national champs.
UT’s inability to get off the field on third down was alamaring for the second week in a row. Last week, Missouri converted 11 of 17 on third down.
“I guess you could say breakdowns,” said linebacker Aaron Beasley, who recovered a Georgia fumble at the Bulldogs 34. “We weren’t winning our one-on-one battles and executing.”
While Tennessee entered the game with a talent deficiency to Georgia, the Vols have been beset by a slew of injuries. Both starting offensive tackles didn’t start, safety Wesley Walker was sidelined, guard Javontez Spraggins was injured during the game, receiver Kaleb Webb joined Bru McCoy and Dont’e Thornton on the sideline. Cornerback Kamal Hadden and linebackers Keenan Pili and Arion Carter are out for the season.
“We’re banged up,” Heupel said. “But give Georgia credit. That’s a really good football team. What they’ve done the last few years is special.
“We’ve got a long way to go.”
Heupel was likely referring to the talent gap between the programs.
He could also have been talking about an offense that went from leading the nation in scoring last season to averaging 30 points per game and being shutout in the second half of games against Georgia, Missouri and Alabama.
“I’m really disappointed we’ve not done better on offense,’’ Heupel said.