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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee -- Georgia's Sean Jones returned a fumble 92 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half, and things only got worse for Tennessee.
David Greene completed 22-of-27 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown and the 10th-ranked Bulldogs scored 21 points in the third quarter to coast to a 41-14 rout of the 14th-ranked Volunteers in a key Southeastern Conference game. Tennessee was unable to overcome four turnovers, and none was more critical than a fumble by quarterback Casey Clausen as the first half expired. The Volunteers appeared to be on the verge of taking the lead when Clausen lost control of the ball after a fullback hit his hands. Jones scooped up the loose ball and raced the length of the field for a score, giving the Bulldogs a 20-7 halftime lead. "The last play (of the half) was the largest momentum swing I've ever seen," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We could have been down one, but we were up 13. It was a big boost for us and it had to be tough for them."
The turnover appeared to break the spirit of the Volunteers (4-2, 2-2 SEC East), who allowed the Bulldogs to score three rushing touchdowns in the third quarter. Michael Cooper scored on a six-yard run and Tyson Browning went in from eight yards after Odell Thurman intercepted Clausen's pass and returned to the Tennessee 5.
The lead grew to 41-7 when Robert Geathers intercepted Clausen, leading to a 22-yard TD run by Kregg Lumpkin. "We moved the ball a little bit and we got it down close and turned the ball over," Clausen said. "You can't turn it over in big games like that. It was tough."
Georgia (5-1, 3-1), which suffered its only loss to Louisiana State, emerged as the clear favorite in the SEC East and a berth in the conference title game. By earning head-to-head advantage over the Vols, Georgia, the defending champion, could lose another SEC game and still lock up a berth in the title game.
"I thought we were emotionally ready and kept our focus in the second half," Richt said. "Offensively, we had out best game of the year against a very good team."
Tennessee allowed its highest point total since a 47-30 loss to Alabama in 1989 and suffered its worst home loss since a 31-0 setback to Florida in 1994. "I was very disappointed in the game," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. "I feel sorry for the fans and apologize to them." Georgia has won the last four meetings in the series after Tennessee won the previous nine.
Greene completed an 11-yard TD pass to Michael Johnson 45 seconds into the second quarter to give Georgia a 10-0 lead. "We felt like we had a pretty pretty good game plan for them," Greene said. "It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, it was all about execution. When you get some execution and some momentum, then people start making plays."
Billy Bennett added field goals of 32 and 44 yards in the first half.
Clausen completed 11-of-23 passes for 165 yards, the bulk of which came on a 90-yard TD pass to Mark Jones in the second quarter, and was intercepted twice. Jones made a dazzling play, grabbing the ball away from Georgia's Decory Bryant and running to the end zone to complete the longest pass play in Tennessee history.
Tennessee had another rough game on the ground after collecting just four yards in a loss to Auburn last week. The Volunteers had 61 yards on 27 carries on Saturday, with Cedric Houston collecting 48 on 11 tries.
The Vols scored their second touchdown when C.J. Leak, seeing his first action of the season, threw a 15-yard Td pass to Bret Smith with less than a minute left.