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No. 1 Georgia Closes QB Hooker, No. 2 Tennessee, 27-13

ATHENS, Georgia — Stetson Bennett threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score and No. 1 Georgia capped off No. 2 Tennessee’s powerful offense, dominating the Volunteers 27-13 Saturday in an SEC showdown of the top-ranked of the nation teams.

Georgia (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) turned the 25th regular-season game of the top two teams in the UKTN poll into a defeat that made it clear that the defending national champions are still the team to beat.

In a deafening and soggy Sanford Stadium, Georgia led 27-6 before Tennessee scored its first touchdown with 4:15 left.

Hendon Hooker, who came in as the Heisman Trophy leader after beating Alabama last month, passed just 195 yards for Tennessee (8-1, 4-1) and was sacked six times by Jalen Carter and the Bulldogs defense.

Hooker threw an interception, lost a fumble that nearly resulted in a safety for Georgia and didn’t throw a touchdown pass.

Tennessee’s last possession ended with Hooker falling without a win on a fourth-down run with less than 3 minutes left. The Volunteers came in with an average of nearly 50 points per game.

The volunteers will see Alabama’s victory come to the top of the first College Football Playoff rankings. Georgia was number 3 in it.

That will change on Tuesday. The Bulldogs also took control of the SEC’s East Division in the race. They should be cruising to another conference championship.

Hooker and his mighty top receivers, Hyatt and Cedric Tillman, were boxed in by Georgia. The Vols were held on to two field goals in the first half as Georgia took a 24-6 lead. Rain in the second half only made it harder to go against the Bulldogs’ defence.

Bennett threw scoring passes from 37 yards to Ladd McConkey and 5 yards to Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint in the first half. Bennett also had a 13-yard scoring run.

There were more big plays in Georgia’s passing game. Bennett had 52 yards to Arian Smith and 49 yards to running back Kenny McIntosh.

THE TAKE OUT

Tennessee: The Vols struggled in the big game atmosphere, especially on offense, where crowd noise contributed to a series of false starts and illegal procedural calls.

Hopes for the Tennessee playoffs are far from gone, but the Vols need some help now..

Georgia: With all the focus on Tennessee’s Hooker, Bennett once again showed he can move up in a game with big implications.

He was named offensive MVP in both playoff wins last season and excelled again against the Vols, including on his touchdown run when he escaped pressure at the 25 before rushing to the right and dodging for the score.

Bennett passed for 257 yards, completing 17 of 25 passes.

MAJOR INJURIES

After the loss of winger Nolan Smith, the three-sacked Georgia leader, last week to a season-ending injury, his replacement, Robert Beal, left the game in the third quarter with a neck injury. Chaz Chambliss took over from Beal. … Tennessee RB Jabari Small was taken to the medical tent in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Wright took over as the lead going back. … Hyatt returned from an apparent ankle injury when he collided with a field judge on an incomplete pass.

NEXT ONE

Tennessee returns home on Saturday to play Missouri. The Vols won the last three games in the series, including a 62-24 win over Missouri in 2021.

Georgia kicks off a string of back-to-back SEC road games when it plays in the state of Mississippi on Saturday night. Georgia has won the last three games in the series.

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More UKTN college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Sign up for the UKTN’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

The mail no. 1 Georgia closes QB Hooker, No. 2 Tennessee, 27-13 appeared first on UK Time News.

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