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October 8, 2005

Rocky Flop, Dawgs Win

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee -- Georgia coach Mark Richt would like to make an annual visit to Neyland Stadium.

Continuing their amazing play on the road, the fifth-ranked Bulldogs stuffed Gerald Riggs Jr. and rode the arm and legs of D.J. Shockley and the running of Thomas Brown to a 27-14 victory over eighth-ranked Tennessee in a battle of Southeastern Conference rivals.

Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC East) improved to 17-2 in an opponent's home stadium, including 3-0 at Tennessee, since Richt took over as coach in 2001.

Ironically, the Volunteers (3-2, 2-2 East) had snapped Georgia's 17-game home winning streak last season with a 19-14 victory at Athens.

The Bulldogs rolled to a 41-14 victory in their last visit here in 2003 and were nearly as dominant on Saturday.

The defense held Riggs, who rushed for 410 yards in his first four games, to just 52 yards on 19 carries, and forced three turnovers.

Meanwhile, Brown rushed for 94 yards on 20 carries, including an 18-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Shockley completed 16-of-27 passes for 207 yards and rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries.

"We showed a lot of mental toughness," Richt said. "The defense was phenomenal, we ran the ball well and Shockley handled things like a champion."

"It was a hostile situation and we weren't sure how everything was going to go, but I wanted to play well and get us the win," Shockley said.

Georgia also received big play from its special teams as Thomas Flowers scored on a 54-yard punt return and Brandon Coutu kicked a pair of field goals.

Coming into the game, Georgia's defense ranked 10th nationally at 11.7 points allowed per game and could hardly be faulted for Tennessee's first touchdown - a one-yard run by quarterback Rick Clausen with 57 seconds left in the third quarter after a 34-yard interception return by cornerback Jonathan Wade.

The Volunteers' second touchdown came on a 24-yard pass from Clausen to Robert Meachem on the final play of the game.

Clausen passed for a career-high 310 yards, but committed two turnovers.

"Their defense is good, but they didn't stop us that often," Clausen said. "We shot ourselves in the foot. The lack of execution was the biggest part."

"It doesn't matter what you do between the end zones, you've got to get it in the end zone," Riggs said. "We're just not getting it done."

Shockley completed 4-of-6 passes for 49 yards and ran three times for 17 yards on Georgia's first scoring drive. Brannan Southerland capped it with a one-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Volunteers reached the Georgia 15 in the second quarter, but Clausen was intercepted by cornerback DeMario Minter in the end zone with 4:49 left.

Clausen fumbled after being sacked by defensive end Charles Johnson, who recovered the ball at the Tennessee 25 with 1:26 left. The Bulldogs reached the Tennessee 3 in the final seconds, but had to settle for an 18-yard field goal by Coutu on the final play of the half.

Shockley connected with Leonard Pope on a 27-yard pass to highlight a 10-play, 62-yard drive. Coutu capped it with a 25-yard field goal with 7:54 left in the third quarter.

"Shockley played great tonight," said Pope, who had four catches for 70 yards. "I saw how calm he was throughout the game and it calmed me down, and we kind of got into a groove."

Tennessee finally broke through after Wade's interception return set up Clausen's touchdown.

But Flowers turned the momentum back to Georgia on his punt return with 8:50 left in the fourth quarter.

Richt then called Brown's number for nine carries on Georgia's final drive and Brown produced 73 yards, including his 18-yard touchdown with 1:44 left.

Tennessee cornerback Jason Allen had to be carted off the field in the second quarter with a left hip injury.

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