Obviously, the news that Keith Marshall’s and Justin Scott-Wesley’s injuries were season-ending puts a substantial damper on whatever positive attitude any of us had about the Georgia Bulldogs’ victory over the Tennessee Volunteers, and some of us didn’t have much of a positive attitude about it in the first place. Consequently, I would like to offer a few positive minutiae from the Red and Black’s overtime triumph in Knoxville; to wit:
For just the fourth time in series history, and for the first time since 2003, Georgia has taken four in a row from the Vols.
With the win, the Bulldogs pulled within one victory of tying their records against the Big Orange at Neyland Stadium (8-9-1), in Knoxville (10-11-1), and overall (20-21-2).
At 9-4 overall and 5-2 in Knoxville, Mark Richt owns almost half of Georgia’s all-time victories over Tennessee and exactly 50 per cent of all the wins the Red and Black have ever claimed against the Volunteers on the road.
All right, so it was closer than we expected, but 18 of the 43 series meetings---more than 40 per cent of all the clashes between Georgia and Tennessee---have been decided by margins of eight or fewer points, so we should be used to this by now.
Before Coach Richt arrived in Athens, the Bulldogs had scored more than 33 points against the Volunteers just three times; since he took over in the Classic City, Georgia has topped that tally against Tennessee four times, including yesterday.
O.K., so we only got over 33 points because the game went to overtime, but is that really such a bad thing? The last time the Bulldogs and the Volunteers were tied at the end of 60 minutes of play was in 1968, when the Red and Black went on to win the SEC championship.
Speaking of conference crowns, in each of the last three seasons in which Georgia beat Tennessee by eight or fewer points (2002, 2011, and 2012), the Bulldogs finished with a double-digit regular-season win total and represented the Eastern Division in the SEC Championship Game, so a narrow escape against the Big Orange has not historically been a harbinger of a subpar season . . . not by a long shot.
Suppose I’d approached you on Friday and said: "I have seen the future, and I know what’s going to happen. Neither Todd Gurley nor Malcolm Mitchell will take the field at all, and we will lose Collin Barber, Michael Bennett, Keith Marshall, and Justin Scott-Wesley in the course of the afternoon, and we will give up 31 points, including seven on a blocked punt, yet, despite these difficulties, we will roll up 434 yards of total offense, score 34 points, and win the game despite trailing by a touchdown with a minute and 54 seconds to go in a rivalry game on the road." You’d have told me I was crazy . . . yet it happened. We’re entitled to be glad about that.