ATHENS -- Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley were stars, as Herschel Walker watched.
Alec Ogletree was sterling in his season debut, and Bacarri Rambo had his moments too.
And in the end, Georgia won and stayed unbeaten. But it got quite a scare from Tennessee.
Georgia trailed late in the first half, and Tennessee twice had possession down seven late in the fourth quarter. But the Bulldogs, struggling on defense much of the night, were able to get the final stops and overcome their earlier turnovers and mistakes.
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Marshall had touchdown runs of 75 and 72 yards. Gurley had three touchdowns. The pair of freshmen tailbacks combined to rush for over 300 yards.
On defense, Ogletree led the team in tackles, and in the first half batted a ball that Damian Swann intercepted. Rambo, like Ogletree returning from a four-game suspension, had a key third-down stop in the first half.
It should have been a blowout at the half, and was on that way with Georgia leading 27-10. But then the Bulldogs unraveled. They fumbled it twice deep in their own possession, and twice started the offense at its own 1, on a punt and a kickoff. Marshall Morgan also missed an extra point.
The crowd was stunned with 42 seconds left in the half, when Tennessee’s Raijon Neal rumbled into the end zone, giving the Volunteers a lead.
But Morgan redeemed himself a bit, booting a 50-yarder as the half ended to tie it.
The Bulldogs then restored order quickly after halftime: The defense forced a punt, and the offense moved downfield with alacrity, Michael Bennett hauling in an 8-yard touchdown pass to put them back ahead.
The special teams then worked in Georgia’s favor: Marc Deas blocked a Tennessee punt, and it was recovered at the Vols’ 47. A few plays later, Murray and Bennett hooked up for another touchdown, this time 32 yards on a crossing pattern.
And then the extra point was blocked. It was the fourth failed PAT this season for Georgia, through just five games.
Tennessee wasn’t out of it yet. It answered with a 46-yard run by receiver Cordarelle Patterson – who chose Tennessee over Georgia on signing day in February. Patterson was supposed to throw a pass, but the receiver downfield was covered, so Patterson tucked and reversed field.
Marshall answered: He went 72 yards for another long touchdown run, and Murray hit Marlon Brown to convert the two-point conversion.
It was 51-37, and there was still 3:06 left in the third quarter.
Tennessee got back within seven with 8:56 left, as Raijon Neal scored on a 9-yard run. Then the Vols got the ball back with 7:31 left, and drove to midfield.
Georgia's pass rush, not a factor to that point, came up big. Damian Swann's cornerback blitz forced Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray to rush a throw, and Sanders Commings intercepted it on the sideline. The Bulldogs took over on their 36 with 5:55 left. But they went three-and-out and punted again.
This time, the Vols drove deeper into Georgia territory, reaching the 27. But after a false start penalty, Bray was forced to scramble, and nose tackle John Jenkins knocked the ball loose.
Rambo emerged from the pile with the football. He high-stepped to the sideline, as Georgia took over with 1:22 left. A minute later, the official scorers changed the fumble recovery to credit it to Jenkins.
But it still wasn't over. Georgia couldn't get a first down, and had to punt with 24 seconds left. (Gurley, running outside on third down, managed to stay in bounds.)
Commings then made his second interception of the fourth quarter, after the ball was tipped.