The Top 10 Most Exciting Georgia-Tennessee Games

If you started watching college football after 1992, it might be hard to believe that Tennessee and Georgia have only played each other 43 times. Since the SEC split into two different divisions in 1992, the two schools face each other annually. Prior to that, they only met 20 times. The rivalry has seen more beatdowns than close games, but there has been a great deal of excitement. Here are the ten best games.

10. November 21, 1906: Georgia 0, Tennessee 0 – Athens, GA.

There was very little to cheer about in this season as both teams combined for three wins. The two teams were still in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and trying to use the forward pass, which was legalized that year. They obviously could not pull it off for a score, but it is the only 0-0 tie in the series.

9. September 29, 2012: Georgia 51, Tennessee 44 – Athens, GA.

In the highest-scoring game of the rivalry, the Bulldogs were 5-0 and the Vols were underachieving in Derek Dooley’s final season. Tennessee jumped out to a 30-27 lead with 42 seconds left in the half, but Georgia tied it with a field goal as time expired.  The Bulldogs responded with 21 points in the third quarter that included two touchdown passes from Aaron Murray. The Vols scored with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to seven, but that was as close as they got. This is the one game that showed the offensive firepower that quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter could produce, and the Bulldogs were relieved to leave the field with a victory.

8. October 9, 2004: Tennessee 19, Georgia 14 – Athens, GA.

Georgia was undefeated and coming off of a blowout win over defending national champion LSU, while the Vols were young and looked terrible against Auburn a week earlier. Naturally, that’s when the surprises happen in this rivalry. Tennessee jumped out to 10-0 lead and held it for the remainder of the game. Freshman Erik Ainge threw two touchdown passes, as the Vols snapped Georgia’s 17-game home winning streak and moved into first place in the SEC East.

7. September 14, 1968: Tennessee 17, Georgia 17 – Knoxville, TN.

In the first game played on Astroturf in the Deep South and the first meeting between the schools in 31 years, the Bulldogs led 10-7 in the third quarter and recovered a Tennessee fumble on their own 1-yard line. A few plays later, Tennessee linebacker Steve Kilner tackled the Georgia quarterback in the end zone for a safety. Bulldog running back Bruce Kemp broke loose in the 4th quarter for an 80-yard touchdown run that extended the lead to 17-9, but with 2:41 left in the game, Vol quarterback Bubba Wyche drove Tennessee down the field. Then on fourth down at the Georgia 21-yard line, he hit Gary Kreis in the end zone as the game clock sounded. Wyche then converted the two-point conversion with a pass to Ken DeLong and fans in Neyland Stadium cheered hysterically. Of note, this was also the first game broadcast by Tennessee radio legends John Ward and Bill Anderson.

6. October 5, 2013: Georgia 34, Tennessee 31 – Knoxville, TN.

The Bulldogs were much more talented than the Vols, but plagued with injuries. Yet they led Tennessee 17-3 at the halftime. However, as coach Butch Jones described, the Vols kept “grinding,” and took a 31-24 lead with a 1:54 left in the game. Georgia’s Aaron Murray completed a two-yard pass to Rantavious Wooten in the end zone with five seconds left and for the first time in history, the two schools faced each other in overtime.  On the first possession, Alton “Pig” Howard dove toward the front right corner of the end zone for what appeared to be a seven-yard touchdown. However, replay officials showed that he fumbled the ball prior to crossing the goal line and the touchdown for Tennessee became a touchback for Georgia. Marshall Morgan kicked a 42-yard field goal and sealed the game.

5. September 9, 1995: Tennessee 30, Georgia 27 – Knoxville, TN.

In Peyton Manning’s sophomore year, the Vols and Bulldogs were tied 27-27 late in the fourth quarter. Georgia kicker Dax Langley missed a 53-yard field goal with 1:29 to go, giving Tennessee the ball on its own 36-yard line. Manning completed a 29-yard pass to Jay Graham and a 7-yard pass to Joey Kent, while Graham ran the final 10 yards to set up a field goal. Vol kicker Jeff Hall then closed the deal with a 34-yarder.

4. November 3, 1973: Georgia 35, Tennessee 31 – Knoxville, TN.

The 11th-ranked Vols led 31-21 at the end of the third quarter, but had lost quarterback Condredge Holloway to injury.  The Bulldogs scored another touchdown to close the gap to 31-28 and then had Tennessee facing 4th down on its own 28-yard line. Vols head coach Bill Battle chose to attempt a fake punt to secure the win but fullback Steve Chancey was stopped for a two-yard loss after receiving the direct snap. Five plays later, Georgia quarterback Andy Johnson scrambled into the end zone for the win.

3. October 6, 2001: Georgia 26, Tennessee 24 – Knoxville, TN.

Mark Richt was in his first season as head coach of Georgia and David Greene was a freshman quarterback, and both let Tennessee know that the momentum of this rivalry was about to change. The Bulldogs led Tennessee 20-17 late in the fourth quarter when Vol running back Travis Stephens scored on a 62-yard screen pass that put the Vols ahead 24-20 with 44 seconds left. Greene then took the Bulldogs on a shocking 59-yard drive that was capped by a 6-yard pass to Verron Hayes with 5 seconds left. Legendary Georgia broadcaster Larry Munson made the famous call, “We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose. We just crushed their face!” It sure did feel that way. Since then, Georgia has won 8 of the last 12 games.

2. September 12, 1992: Tennessee 34, Georgia 31 – Athens, GA.

Their first face-off as SEC Eastern division rivals was a barnburner. The Bulldogs had Eric Zeier at quarterback, Garrison Hearst at running back and Andre Hastings at wide receiver. Zeier threw for 354 yards, Hearst ran for 161 and Hastings caught 5 passes for 150. Yet Georgia also turned the ball over six times and that sealed its fate. Sophomore Heath Shuler, in his first big-time game, drove the Vols 80 yards, running the final 3 into the end zone for the winning score. Hastings fumbled on Tennessee’s 34-yard with 14 seconds left and this annual contest was off with a bang.

1. September 6, 1980: Georgia 16, Tennessee 15 – Knoxville, TN.

If you weren’t alive for this game, you have no doubt seen the clip of a freshman Herschel Walker running over Bill Bates. The Vols surprised the 16th-ranked Bulldogs, jumping out to a 15-0 lead. Georgia scored a safety and then debuted Walker. In the second quarter, he took a handoff at the Tennessee 16-yard line, ran over Bates at the 10 and broke two more tackles on his way to the end zone.  In the fourth quarter, Tennessee quarterback Jeff Olszewski lost the Vols fourth fumble of the game, and Georgia capitalized with another touchdown run by Walker. This game set the stage for what would be a national championship season for the Bulldogs.

Tennessee currently leads the series 21-20-2 so if Georgia wins this weekend, the series will be tied. These ten games have shown us that anything can happen in this rivalry.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

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