ATHENS, Ga. — Matthew Stafford passed for a career-best 310 yards, Knowshon Moreno ran for 101 yards and No. 10 Georgia beat Tennessee 26-14 on Saturday, leaving the Volunteers 0-3 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time in 20 years.
Tennessee netted only 1 yard on the ground, but the Vols capitalized on two interceptions thrown by Stafford for their its only touchdowns. Nick Stephens, in his second career start, threw two touchdown passes.
Arian Foster had only three carries for three yards for the Vols (2-4), one year after he rushed for 98 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Georgia (5-1, 2-1). He’s been held under 40 yards rushing in all three of the Voles’ SEC losses.
The Vols, off to their worst conference start since 1988, were held under 20 points for the fourth straight game. Their only win in that span was a 13-9 victory over Northern Illinois.
Georgia turned the game over to Moreno and freshman tailback Caleb King after Blair Walsh’s field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs a 23-14 lead.
Walsh, a freshman, kicked four field goals. His final one came after a 17-play drive consumed 10:55. in the final quarter.
Georgia gained 458 yards on 81 plays and held Tennessee to 209 yards on 45 plays.
Stephens made his first start in a conference game after taking the job from junior Jonathan Crompton. Stephens completed a 60-yard pass to Denarius Moore to set up his touchdown pass to Gerald Jones in the second quarter.
Stephens added a 12-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Taylor in the third quarter, cutting Georgia’s lead to 20-14. Stephens was 13-for-30 passing for 208 yards.
Stafford was 25-for-36 passing with a touchdown, but he threw two picks inside the Tennessee 20. Each turnover led to a touchdown drive for the Vols.
Georgia didn’t punt in the first half and gained 273 yards, including 211 passing by Stafford.
Leading 13-7, the Bulldogs took the ball on their 3 with 2:17 left in the half after freshman Richard Samuel bobbled a kickoff. When Georgia faced a third-and-8 play, Tennessee called a time-out in hopes of getting the ball back in good field position. Instead, Stafford passed to Moreno for 14 yards to spark a 97-yard touchdown drive.
Tennessee was hurt by two personal foul penalties on Georgia’s long drive. Safety Demetrice Morley drew a helmet-to-helmet penalty for his hit on receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, knocking Massaquoi out of the game for a few plays. Cornerback DeAngelo Willingmam was called for a late hit on receiver Demiko Goodman on the Vols’ sideline after Goodman’s 17-yard reception.
Willingham’s penalty gave Georgia a first down at the Tennessee 7 with 26 seconds left. On third down from the 9, Stafford passed to an open Massaquoi for the touchdown and a 20-7 lead.
Massaquoi had five catches for 103 yards.
Senior fullback Brannan Southerland made his first start for Georgia and gained 37 yards to the Tennessee 1 on a third-down screen pass from Stafford on the Bulldogs’ opening drive. Southerland scored on a fullback dive on the next play.
Montario Hardesty led Tennessee with six carries for 20 yards.