Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) causes a fumble by Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) during the first quarter in a NCAA football game, at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, November 5, 2022, in Athens, Ga. (Jason Getz /

Georgia makes loud statement in 27-13 win over Tennessee in historic clash of No. 1s

ATHENS — Georgia football made a statement in the first-ever battle of No. 1s in the College Football Playoff Era.

And the Bulldogs did so loudly.

The Bulldogs let their pads do the talking on offense, defense and special teams, delivering a message to a College Football Playoff committee that ranked them No. 3 earlier in the week.

Georgia, ranked No. 1 by the AP and Coaches Polls, dominated the CFP’s No. 1-ranked Tennessee Vols in scoring a 27-13 victory on Vince Dooley Field.

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The Bulldogs defense smothered a much-hyped Tennessee offense that entered the game leading the nation in total offense (553 yards per game) and scoring (49.4), holding UT to 289 total yards.

The Bulldogs sacked quarterback Hendon Hooker seven times. Hooker, the Heisman Trophy frontrunner entering the game, was 23-of-33 passing for 195 yards with an interception.

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Georgia got an assist from a deafening Sanford Stadium crowd of 92,746, the decibel count soaring over 130 as the Vols committed seven false starts along with a procedure penalty.

Tennessee, which scored its only touchdown with 4:15 left, had allowed only 13 sacks (-67 yards) through the first eight games.

The Bulldogs’ offense, meanwhile, scored on three of their first five drives with Stetson Bennett in command.

Bennett, 17 of 25 for 257 yards and 2 passing TDs, scored on a 13-yard scramble after Georgia spotted a the Vols a 3-0 lead, Tennessee taking advantage of Daijun Edwards’ first-quarter fumble.

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The Bulldogs stayed in command throughout the first half, scoring on two of their next three drives to extend the lead.

Bennett hit a wide-open Ladd McConkey for a 37-yard TD on a one-play drive — the excellent field position the result of a 75-yard drive and a defensive stand.

Georgia’s third TD of the first half came when Bennett delivered a strike in the back of the end zone to a leaping Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint from 5 yards out to make it 21-3.

Jack Podlesny added field goals of 19 and 38 yards providing all the padding the Bulldogs would need.

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Georgia finished with 389 total yards, an efficient 7-of-12 on third-down conversions.

The Bulldogs return to action at Mississippi State at 7 p.m. next Saturday.

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