Tennessee (1-4, 0-2 SEC) just can’t seem to beat teams from the state of Georgia. Of course, the Vols haven’t been able to beat most teams this year. The painful state of the Vols received no mercy on Saturday night in Knoxville against No. 3 Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC) as the Bulldogs left Neyland Stadium with a 43-14 laugher.
Georgia scored 33 unanswered points starting late in the second quarter to turn a 14-13 deficit with some mild concern into a blowout win on the road against a division opponent. The Bulldogs racked up 529 yards of offense and forced two turnovers, including one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that was probably important to a few viewers still wondering about the outcome. Jake Fromm completed 24 of 29 pass attempts for 288 yards and two touchdowns and D’Andre Swift had 72 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in the win.
Georgia has now won three straight games against the Vols and eight of their last 10 in the series. Tennessee once had a decent lead in the all-time series with Georgia but now trails the Bulldogs 24-22-2 since 1903. In addition to dominance over the Vols in recent memory, Georgia has extended its winning streak against the rest of the SEC East to 15 straight games. The last loss taken by Georgia within the division came on October 29, 2016 in a 24-10 loss to No. 14 Florida. That was the first season as head coach at Georgia for Kirby Smart.
Georgia will look to keep that division-winning streak going with some favorable matchups coming up in the next couple of weeks. Georgia hosts South Carolina next week and then welcomes Kentucky to Athens. That all leads up to the game of the year in the division against Florida at the beginning of November. Florida celebrated a big win over Auburn earlier in the day and takes their undefeated record on the road in their next game against LSU. It seems likely the two teams will square off with no more than one combined loss at the start of November.
As for the Vols, Tennessee is already starting to flirt with being ineligible for the postseason. Tennessee is already 1-4 and still has a road trip to Alabama looming in a couple of weeks. Tennessee has to win five of their remaining seven games in order to become bowl eligible. Tennessee has not missed a bowl game in the first two years of a head coach’s tenure since Johnny Majors took over the program in 1977. Tennessee missed out on a bowl game in 1977 and 1978 before being invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl in 1979. Next up for the Vols is another home game next week, against Mississippi State. The two programs have not played each other since 2012, and Tennessee has not beaten Mississippi State since 2008, which was the last time Mississippi State played in Knoxville.