Oct. 5, 2013
TENNESSEE TIDBITS Tennessee's all-time record now stands at 802-357-53.
On this date, Tennessee is 11-3.
UT now stands at 9-4 in its last 13 games at Neyland Stadium since Nov. 5, 2011.
The Big Orange still leads the all-time series with Georgia, 21-20-2, including 11-10-1 in Knoxville.
Georgia now has won four straight in the series.
Butch Jones is 3-3 at Tennessee and owns a career record of 53-30.
Jones is 1-2 in overtime games and stands 11-8 all-time in games decided by four points or fewer and 40-6 when his team scores 30 or more points.
Tennessee is 4-2 in coin tosses this season after winning today's flip.
UT is 2-3 when winning the coin flip and 1-0 when losing the toss.
Today's attendance was 102,455 (a sellout), moving the season average to 93,418.
TENNESSEE CAPTAINS #20 Rajion Neal (Fayetteville), #41 Dontavis Sapp (Valdosta), #45 A.J. Johnson (Gainesville) and #70 Ja'Wuan James (Suwanee), all natives of the state of Georgia, represented the Vols for the pregame coin toss.
VFL LEGEND OF THE GAME Today's Vol For Life Legend of the Game is Leonard Little, who lettered at Tennessee from 1995 to 1997 and served as team captain in his final season.
Splitting time at linebacker and defensive end, Little earned a reputation for his hard hits and quarterback sacks.
Little was an All-American in 1997 and was named A.P. SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year after recording a team-leading 87 tackles and 8.5 sacks in helping the Vols win the 1997 SEC title.
SMOKEY GRAY DEBUT Today's game marks the first time the Vols have donned their new adidas Smokey Gray uniforms. They were first unveiled on Aug. 15 at UT's media day.
Tennessee last wore an alternate uniform on Oct. 31, 2009, when the Vols ran through the "T" in black jerseys vs. South Carolina and scored their last win over a ranked opponent (31-13).
This marks just the third time since the 1930s that a UT team has worn anything other than orange at home. The other occasion came in the 2004 season opener vs. UNLV, when the Vols wore throwback white jerseys in a 42-17 conquest of the Runnin' Rebels.
WORKING OVERTIME Tennessee falls to 10-5 all-time in overtime games.
UGA improves to 5-4.
Prior to today, the last time Tennessee went to overtime was the Missouri game last season on Nov. 10, a contest the Tigers won, 51-48, in four extra periods.
The Vols played a previous overtime game on this date in 2002, defeating Arkansas in six extra frames, 41-38, on a 25-yard Casey Clausen to Jason Witten TD toss.
VOL DEFENSE SLOWS HIGH-FLYING UGA OFFENSE Georgia entered the game averaging 41.2 points per contest and scoring no fewer than 35 points in a game (L, Clemson, 8/30/13) this season before producing a season-low 34 today and needing overtime to get there.
The Bulldogs were averaging 554 yards of total offense and were held to 434 today by the UT defense.
Freshman defensive lineman Corey Vereen record his first career tackle in the third quarter, a sack of Aaron Murray and a loss of seven yards that forced a Georgia punt.
The Vols held UGA to 4-of-13 on third down conversions. The Bulldogs had entered the game converting 20 of 51 third-downs.
Tennessee also held Georgia to its lowest first-half point total of the season (17).
The Bulldogs scored 21 first-half points vs. Clemson and North Texas, and they had 24 vs. South Carolina and LSU.
It's also the lowest scored by UGA in a first half since putting only seven on the board vs. Alabama in last year's SEC Championship game.
AMAZING A.J. Linebacker A.J. Johnson recorded a season-high 12 tackles and had 1.5 tackles for a loss vs. his home-state school and ran his season total to 47 stops this season and 265 tackles in his career.
Johnson now has produced double-digit tackle totals in 15 of 30 career games.
Six of Johnson's tackles vs. UGA were assists, running his career total to 142 and moving him past John Wagster (136, 1970-72) moving into sixth all-time.
RAJION OVER THE CENTURY MARK AGAIN Rajion Neal went over the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in his career and the third time in 2013.
He finished with 148 yards and two TDs on career-high 28 carries.
Neal recorded 100-yard rushing performances in back-to-back games for the second time in his career. He did so against Akron and Georgia last season.
This was the fourth multi-TD game of Neal's career, with the senior also scoring twice last season (one rushing/one receiving) vs. Georgia.
Neal now has seven rushing TDs this season and 14 for his career.
His biggest carry of the day was a seven-yard touchdown run with 1:54 remaining to help put the Vols up 31-24.
Neal also plunged in for a one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to help the Vols tie the game at 24-all.
That score came after Neal rushed for 43 yards on a fourth-and-one from the Tennessee 34.
THREE-FOR-THREE ON FOURTH-DOWN CONVERSIONS Tennessee was a clutch three-for-three on fourth down conversions today.
The Vols converted their first try with a 43-yard run by Rajion Neal en route to an eventual game-tying (24-24) score in the fourth quarter.
The second came later in the fourth stanza, with Neal moving the chains with a one-yard run to keep a go-ahead drive alive.
Facing a fourth-and-one at the UGA 35 with 3:33 remaining, Worley hit true freshman tight end A.J. Branisel for a 28-yard gain on the same drive that eventually culminated with Neal's go-ahead (31-24) seven-yard TD run.
BIG-TIME CATCHES By a toenail, true freshman wide receiver Marquez North was ruled to have one foot down and hauled in a 19-yard TD pass from Justin Worley in the third quarter to pull UT to within 17-10.
It was North's first career TD reception as a Vol, and he became the third true freshman to catch at scoring pass this season. The others were A.J. Branisel and Josh Smith.
Sophomore wideout Pig Howard hauled in the longest catch of his career on that third-quarter scoring drive, a 33-yarder, from Worley.
On third and 10, true freshman receiver Josh Smith hauled in a 26-yard strike over the middle from Worley on a fourth-quarter drive to keep the chains moving for the go-ahead drive.
Facing fourth and one on Georgia's 35-yardline, Worley found A.J. Branisel for a 28-yard completion and key first down during UT's go-ahead drive.
WORLEY'S DAY Junior quarterback Justin Worley finished the day 17 of 31 for 215 yards and one touchdown, finishing with more yards than highly-touted Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (196).
Worley hit Marquez North for a 19-yard score in the third stanza.
It marked Worley's ninth TD pass of the season and the 10th of his career.
After throwing three interceptions last week vs. South Alabama and two the week before vs. Florida, Worley had none vs. Georgia.
PALARDY HANDLING ALL OF THE CHORES Senior Michael Palardy continues to handle all of Tennessee's punting and kicking chores.
Palardy got Tennessee on the scoreboard for the first time in the second quarter, drilling a 26-yard field goal.
The senior now is 5 of 6 on the season and 28 of 39 in his career for field goals.
In PATs, Palardy was four of four on the day, improving to 25 of 25 this season and 100 of 105 for his career.
On six punts, Palardy averaged 51.2 yards per attempt and placed two inside the 20, running his total to 10 on the season and 27 for his career.
He boomed a 65-yarder just before the half, the second longest of his career, and added 51- and 57-yarders in the third quarter.
Palardy now has eight punts of 50 yards or more this season and 22 for his career.
He registered five touchbacks on kickoffs for the afternoon.
SPECIAL TEAMS MAKING PLAYS True freshman Jalen Reeves-Maybin blocked a Georgia punt in the third quarter and had three special teams tackles vs. the Bulldogs. He now has six special teams tackles this season.
True freshman walkon Devaun Swafford blocked a UGA punt and returned it 15 yards for a game-tying touchdown (17-17) in the third quarter.
It was the first blocked punt returned for a TD by Tennessee since Antonio Wardlow blocked one and scored on the play in a win over Georgia in 2006 at Sanford Stadium in Athens.
It marked the first time the Vols blocked a punt since doing so vs. Troy on Nov. 3, 2012.
It marked the first time a UGA punt had been blocked and returned for a TD since 1999, when Central Florida's Thad Ward did so.
Tennessee limited Georgia to minus two yards on four punt returns.
ODDS & ENDS Michael Palardy's second-quarter field goal extended Tennessee's streak of scoring in consecutive games to 236, dating back to Sept. 17, 1994.
Georgia's Marshall Morgan kicked a 56-yard field goal in the first half to put the Bulldogs up, 3-0. It was the longest field goal ever kicked against Tennessee.
The previous long was a 55-yarder by Auburn's Win Lyle in 1987.
Morgan's field goal also was the longest in Neyland Stadium history. The old record of 55 yards was held by Lyle as well as by Tennessee's Fuad & Carlos Reveiz.
SELLOUT RUNS 100K STREAK TO 18 YEARS With 102,455 in attendance today, it marked the 18th-consecutive season (since 1996) that Tennessee has posted a crowd of over 100,000.
Only Michigan has a longer streak, having at least one 100K crowd every year since 1975.
PLAYS UNDER REVIEW A third-quarter catch by junior tight end Brendan Downs was reviewed and ruled incomplete.
Marquez North's 19-yard, third-quarter TD reception was reviewed and upheld.
Pig Howard's seven-yard TD run in overtime was reviewed, and the replay official ruled that Howard lost possession of the ball before crossing the goal line. The ball rolled out of bounds in the end zone, resulting in a fumble for a touchback and UT losing possession.
SENIOR LB Dontavis Sapp(On how the defense played)
"I think we played well. It was good enough to give us a shot at the win. We still have things that we have to work on. We definitely have things we can build on now though as well. Luckily, next week is a bye, and we can go back to work and correct things that need to be corrected."
(On being the one to stand up and speak to the team after the game)
"The message that I wanted to send was that we are still one team. We showed that we can go out there and fight with the No. 6 team in the country. We showed that we can go toe to toe with anybody in the country. As long as you leave it all on the field, you should have no reason to hang your head."
(On how to handle close loses)
"Leaders have to step up to bring the young guys along. You can't let anyone get down on themselves. You have to keep grinding everyday."
(On adjustments at halftime)
"We looked at the things that we made mistakes on, but we just went out and gave it a great effort. We played as one team, one Tennessee, and one defense. We already had in our minds that we were going to be prideful. We weren't just going to go out and lay down in the second half. We were going to play the complete game."
(On the blocked punt)
"The special teams play changed the game. It energized the whole team and stadium. It was great that we got a touchdown off of it."
(On stadium atmosphere)
"You could feel the energy since Thursday. We had a sellout crowd. The crowd was definitely into the game. They were big factors when the quarterbacks would try and make checks. I really appreciate them feeling up Neyland Stadium. They gave us support and that extra factor."
(On thoughts as the game ended)
"So many things were going through my mind. I left it all on the field. I had nothing left to give. Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the win. I was just taking it all in."