Georgia's head football coach decided last week to lift the suspensions of linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo, allowing both to play versus Tennessee after sitting out the previous four games due to failed drug tests last spring.
Ogletree and Rambo wound up being key figures as the Dawgs held on in the fourth quarter to subdue the Vols, 51-44. Ogletree posted a team-high 14 stops (6 solos, 8 assists) and 3 pass breakups. Rambo was second on the tackle chart with 9 (3 solos, 6 assists).
"They ended up being the top two tacklers," Richt noted. "They had some rust, no doubt, but you can't replace their athleticism and their ability to make plays."
NUMBERS AND MORE NUMBERS
Tennessee stood 177-0 all-time when scoring 40 or more points in a game prior to Saturday's setback in Athens.
The Vols had won 25 consecutive games when scoring 28 or more points before seeing the streak snapped at Sanford Stadium.
The Vols now stand 11-2 under Derek Dooley when scoring 25 or more points.
The 95 combined points put up by Georgia and Tennessee is the eighth-highest non-overtime scoring total in SEC history, sixth-highest by two league foes. The record of 108 points was set in 2010, when Cam Newton and Auburn outlasted Ryan Mallett and Arkansas 65-43. Tennessee and Florida posted the fourth-highest scoring game in SEC history back in '95, when the Gators won 62-37 at Gainesville. Those 37 points were the most the Vols ever scored in a loss prior to Saturday in Athens.
The last time Tennessee allowed 50 points in regulation was in a 59-20 loss at Florida on Sept. 15, 2007. The last time the Vols allowed 50 in any game was a 52-50 four-overtime defeat of Kentucky on Nov. 24, 2007.
THERE'S BEAUTY IN THE BEAST
Linebacker A.J. Johnson is making the most of his opportunities as a short-yardage offensive weapon this fall. Utilized as a direct-snap tailback in Tennessee's so-called "Beast Package," the 6-foot-3, 240-pound sophomore scored on a one-yard run versus Georgia as Tennessee pulled within 27-17 in the second quarter.
Johnson also scored touchdowns against Florida and Akron, giving him three touchdowns on just five carries to date.
In addition to his touchdown run versus Georgia, Johnson led Tennessee's defense with 11 stops, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
MOORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Junior safety Byron Moore returned an Aaron Murray pass 35 yards for a first-quarter touchdown on Saturday. It was Tennessee's first "pick six" since Eric Gordon recorded one in the 2011 home finale versus Vanderbilt.
Through five games Tennessee already has nine interceptions as a team, matching last season's 12-game total. The Vols are tied with Alabama, Mississippi State, TCU and UCLA for second place nationally behind Fresno State, which has 11 interceptions thus far.
TOUCHDOWN TYLER STRIKES AGAIN
With two touchdown passes at Georgia, Tyler Bray has posted 16 multiple-TD games in his last 18 outings. He has thrown 49 total touchdown passes to date, despite making just 17 career starts.
After launching 45 passes in Athens, Bray ranks sixth all-time among Vol quarterbacks in pass attempts with 664, even though he still has seven games left in his junior year.
The three interceptions Bray threw on Saturday marked the second three-pick game of his career. His previous one came against North Carolina in the 2010 Music City Bowl.
To see video highlights from the field level at Sanford Stadium, as recorded by InsideTennessee's Josh Woodward, click play below: