Javon Wims

Associated Press

No. 7 Georgia waxes Tennessee in fatal blow for the Butch Jones era

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There would be no Hail Mary to bail out the Vols this time.

No. 7 Georgia dominated Tennessee from the opening stop and never let up, cruising to a 41-0 victory that could prove to be the final blow of the Butch Jones era in Knoxville.

The Bulldog domination began literally from the first snap, as Quentin Dormady was intercepted by Tyrique McGhee on the very first play from scrimmage. That pick set up a 38-yard Rodrigo Blankenship to put Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) up for good.

The Vols’ next two possessions went three-and-out, and the second led to a 7-play, 54-yard touchdown march capped by a 12-yard scoring strike from Jake Fromm to Javon Wims. Fromm completed Georgia’s next scoring drive — an 87-yard marathon — on a 9-yard scamper on a 3rd-and-goal, staking the Dogs to a 17-0 lead with 7:13 left before halftime.

Another Dormady interception — though this one ricocheted off the leg of his intended receiver into the hands of Georgia safety J.R. Reed, who returned it 34 yards to the Tennessee 26-yard line — set up Fromm’s second rushing touchdown, a zone-read keeper to bury the Vols at 24-0 just before the half.

Sony Michel added a 31-yard rushing score late in the third quarter. Brian Herrian punched in a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter, and David Martin completed the scoring with a 19-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining.

Georgia’s defense utterly owned Tennessee’s offense, limiting Dormady to 5-of-16 passing for 64 yards with two picks and a fumble before he was pulled for Jarrett Guarantano. Six Vols rushers combined to carry 29 times for just 62 yards. The Bulldogs pounded out 285 rushing yards, led by Nick Chubb‘s 109 yards on 16 attempts. The only drama for Kirby Smart‘s team moving forward is who to play at quarterback. Fromm out-played his stats (7-of-15 for 84 yards with a touchdown and a pick, with two rushing scores) and effectively moved the offense up and down the field. But competition is on the way, as opening day starter Jacob Eason returned to action in mop up duty.

Tennessee is still 3-2 (0-2 SEC) this season with a likely bowl appearance waiting, but patience for the Volunteers’ fifth-year coach was at an all-time low before Saturday’s blowout — and Jones himself knew it, as evidenced by his anti-media rant on Monday. Jones has failed to deliver Tennessee its first SEC East championship since 2007, and Saturday’s loss — coupled with the Hail Mary defeat to Florida two weeks ago — all but guaranteed the streak of title-less seasons will stretch to 11. Jones blew golden opportunities to win the division in 2015 and ’16, with Florida and Georgia clearly down but obviously retooling, and the frustration over his failure to cash in was exacerbated by his everything-is-fine-here demeanor — as if he was hired to go 18-8 over the 2-season stretch and nothing more, while conveniently ignoring Tennessee’s 9-7 SEC mark over that span, including an inexcusable 4-4 mark last season despite beating both the Gators and the Bulldogs.

This loss will likely make a comeback effort for Jones impossible, whether or not his official dismissal comes later this weekend or at a to-be-determined date in the fall. Georgia’s players were more talented and executed better than Tennessee’s but, worse than anything for Jones, they simply tried harder than the Vols. CBS cameras captured shot after shot after shot of Georgia players refusing to be tackled, and found none of the the opposite. And when Tennessee did fight as hard as, a 44-yard completion to John Kelly, it still ended in a fumble.

Tennessee no match for Georgia through one half

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Georgia has controlled Tennessee from the very first snap — a snap Georgia did not control.

Tennessee accepted the ball to open the game and, after a touchback, the Vols’ 1st-and-10 pass from Quentin Dormady was intercepted by Tyrique McGhee, which set up a 38-yard Rodrigo Blankenship to put Georgia up for good — at least through the first half.

The Vols’ next two possessions went three-and-out, and the second led to a 7-play, 54-yard touchdown march capped by a 12-yard scoring strike from Jake Fromm to Javon Wims. Fromm completed Georgia’s next scoring drive — an 87-yard marathon — on a 9-yard scamper on a 3rd-and-goal, staking the Dogs to a 17-0 lead with 7:13 left before halftime.

Another Dormady interception — though this one ricocheted off the leg of his intended receiver into the hands of Georgia safety J.R. Reed, who returned it 34 yards to the Tennessee 26-yard line — set up Fromm’s second rushing touchdown, a zone-read keeper to bury the Vols at 24-0 in the final score of the half.

Fromm has not been great thus far, hitting only 5-of-12 passes for 62 yards with a touchdown and an interception (at least two more could have been picked off, too), but Dormady has been flat-out terrible. He is 3-of-12 for 11 yards with two interceptions and a fumble. The Volunteer running game has not helped his cause, compiling 53 yards on 18 carries, compared to Georgia’s 118 yards on 25 attempts.

Georgia will receive to open the second half.

Georgia QB Jacob Eason injured, return uncertain

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The Jake Fromm Era at Georgia has commenced a little sooner than expected.  How long it’ll last remains to be seen — as will Jacob Eason potentially getting Wally Pipp’d.

Midway through the first quarter of their opener against Appalachian State, Eason was hit while out of bounds at the end of a run — a flag for a late hit was thrown — and stepped and landed somewhat awkwardly.  While he got up and limped toward the huddle, he ultimately went to the ground before being tended to by UGA medical personnel.  After briefly getting looked at inside a medical tent, the quarterback subsequently walked gingerly to the locker room for further observation.

At the time of this post, the only report on his condition is that Eason sustained an unspecified injury to his left knee and his return is uncertain.

Replacing the 2016 starter was Fromm, a four-star 2017 signee who was the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the country.  While Eason struggled somewhat during his brief time in the opener — he was 1-3 for four yards — the true freshman seemed at ease as, on his first two drives, he hit on five of his eight passes for 62.

Fromm’s play helped set up the first score of the game, a one-yard touchdown run toward the end of the first quarter.  Heading into the second quarter, the Bulldogs hold a 7-0 lead on the Mountaineers.

UPDATED 7:13 p.m. ET: Almost immediately after hitting publish, Fromm connected with Javon Wims on a 34-yard pass that served as the first touchdown pass of the true freshman’s career.