Heartbreak struck in Neyland Stadium Saturday night, as the Tennessee Volunteers lost a game for the ages against the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs in overtime, 34-31.
The Vols turned a 17-3 halftime deficit into a 31-24 lead with 1:54 remaining, giving UGA quarterback Aaron Murray one last chance to tie things up. He did, with five seconds left on a 2-yard pass to Rantavious Wooten on 3rd-and-goal to send the game into overtime.
Tennessee got the ball first in the extra period and looked to score a go-ahead touchdown when sophomore wideout Alton "Pig" Howard dove for the pylon.
After review, the referees ruled the ball slipped out of Howard's hands prior to entering the end zone. Since the ball bounced out of the end zone, it resulted in a touchback and gave Georgia the chance to lock up the win with a field goal.
Marshall Morgan's 42-yarder secured the victory for Georgia.
Junior quarterback Justin Worley led a transformed UT offense in the second half, going 17-for-31 with 215 yards. His lone touchdown throw of the day was a 19-yard pass to Marquez North to cut the deficit to 17-10.
Tennessee used a handful of momentum swings to get back into the game. None were bigger than Jalen Reeves-Maybin's blocked punt late in the third quarter, which was returned 15 yards to the checkerboards by Devaun Swafford to tie things up at 17 apiece.
Georgia senior quarterback Aaron Murray—who broke the all-time SEC career passing yards mark Saturday—led a go-ahead touchdown drive by way of a 57-yard scamper that caught the Vols defense off guard.
But the Vols answered, this time with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a one-yard plunge from Rajion Neal to knot it up again at 24-24 with 11:15 remaining in regulation.
The stars were aligning for Butch Jones' first signature win after a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was capped by a seven-yard scamper by Neal. But the 1:54 the Vols left on the clock for Murray proved to be enough for the Bulldogs to claw back into the game and force overtime.
Howard helped to fuel a dangerous offensive attack in the second half. He posted four catches for 70 yards, six carries for 46 yards and served as a consistent playmaker to move along UT's second-half drives.
In the wake of Marlin Lane's absence, Neal rushed 28 times for 148 yards and two timely touchdowns. His 43-yard run on fourth down fueled the Vols' game-tying drive early in the fourth quarter.