KNOXVILLE (WVLT) - After the Tennessee football team's 2-2 start, critics could be found on every street corner.
Saturday at Neyland Stadium, the Vols' detractors were as silent as Georgia's cheering section as Phillip Fulmer's squad rolled to a 35-14 victory.
The Vols poured on 28 first-half points en route to the rout and were spurred by three Arian Foster touchdown runs.
The Tennessee defense held the Bulldogs to 59 first-half yards, sacking Matthew Stafford twice and picking off a pass.
Foster led the Vols offensively, tallying 91 yards in addition to this three scores. Montario Hardesty ran for a season-high 68 yards and added another score.
The game-breaking play occurred on the first play of the second quarter, when Lucas Taylor took a reverse from Erik Ainge and found a wide-open Lamarcus Coker streaking down the sideline for a 56-yard touchdown pass. The trick play gave the Vols a 14-0 lead and, perhaps more importantly, generated a wave of momentum that carried Tennessee to the final whistle.
For a detailed game summary, read below. For in-depth highlights and analysis, be sure to tune into the I'm All Vol Postgame Report on WVLT.
Tennessee answered Georgia's touchdown drive with a score of its own, embarking in a 13-play, 65-yard drive which ended in a 4-yard Arian Foster touchdown run.
Score: Tennessee 35, Georgia 7
Georgia is not done yet.
Matthew Stafford found Demiko Goodman for a 26-yard touchdown on the Bulldogs' opening drive, shortening the Tennessee lead to 28-7.
The 7-play drive covered 74 yards and took three minutes.
Score: Tennessee 28, Georgia 7
The Vols cannot be stopped.
A 22-yard Arian Foster touchdown run capped a quick, deadly drive and gave Tennessee a 28-0 lead over Georgia with 6:41 left in the first half.
Tennessee held the Georgia offense to three plays again, and on the first play of the ensuing drive, Ainge found an uncovered Denarius Moore on the sideline for a 34-yard pickup. On third and one, Arian Foster bounced outside and found the corner, tiptoeing along the sideline for a 22-yard touchdown run.
Score: Tennessee 28, Georgia 0
Tennessee is officially in command of the Georgia Bulldogs. A blocked punt led to a shortened field, and Montario Hardesty carried the ball 10 yards into the end zone for his first score of the year, a touchdown that broke the game wide open, 21-0.
After Tennessee forced another Georgia three-and-out, Ellix Wilson stormed through the Georgia front and blocked the Bulldog punt. However, a personal foul and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty backed the Vols up to midfield. On third and ten, Ainge hit Austin Rogers for 18 yards to move the chains. After Montario Hardesty fought for some tough yardage on several runs, the Vols fed him one more time -- and he delivered, carrying the ball ten yards for a touchdown that broke the game open, 21-0.
Score: Tennessee 21, Georgia 0
On the first play of the second quarter, Lucas Taylor took a handoff from Ainge and threw the ball to a wide-open Lamarcus Coker, who cruised into the end zone for a Tennessee touchdown, making the score 14-0. It was the longest pass play of the season for the Vols.
The touchdown followed another futile Georgia series. A 15-yard chop block penalty backed the 'Dawgs up to their own 12, and Wes Brown tackled Stafford from behind for no gain on second down as the Vols stuffed Georgia for the third straight drive.
Arian Foster took an Erik Ainge handoff 9 yards into the end zone, breaking a Georgia tackle to give Tennessee a 7-0 lead over Georgia with 8:44 left in the first quarter.
A short run and two Stafford overthrows ended Georgia's first drive almost as soon as it began.
Tennessee started at its own 19 and moved the ball well on its opening series. Arian Foster broke consecutive runs of ten yards or more, and Ainge completed two short passes -- one to tight end Chris Brown and one to Foster -- to get into Bulldog territory. On third-and-4 Ainge hit Lucas Taylor for a first down to move inside the Georgia 30. Three consecutive productive running plays got the Vols into the end zone, as Arian Foster broke a low Bulldog tackle and stumbled into the end zone to give the Vols a 7-0 lead.