Minter's first pick a big one

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — DeMario Minter finally shut up his teasing teammates and proved his coach right, and it couldn't haven't come at a better time for Georgia.

The Bulldogs senior cornerback has been the subject of relentless ribbing for more than a year because he entered the season without a career interception. He finally changed that in the second quarter Saturday, picking off an underthrown Rick Clausen pass in the Tennessee end zone.

"It's just a blessing," Minter said. "I've been waiting four years for that it finally came."

Until Saturday, Minter's last interception came in a state playoff game during his senior year in high school.

"I said, ‘DeMario, you're going to get one, and it's not going to be a so-so interception. It's going to be one that means something,'" defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said.

Martinez wasn't the only one to predict Minter would make a big play. Safety Greg Blue told Minter at the team hotel before the game that he had a vision of something good.

"I told him, ‘When I woke this morning, I just felt like he was going to get an interception,'" Blue said. "I told him, ‘I feel good for you. I think you'll get one.'"

When Minter came off the field, Martinez jumped into his arms for a giant hug. Martinez was happy for more than just Minter.

The interception gave the Bulldog defense its first red zone stop of the season. Georgia entered the game last in the SEC in red zone defense, having allowed its opponents to score on all seven of their trips inside the 20-yard line.

Later in the game, Minter two more huge plays. First, he broke up an apparent first down catch by Robert Meachem that would have given the Vols' a first down inside Georgia's 30-yard line. Then, in the fourth quarter, he made an open field tackle to stop Tennessee receiver Jayson Swain 3 yards short of a first down. The ensuing punt resulted in a 54-yard return for a touchdown by Thomas Flowers.

Demario Minter was credited with eight tackles, second-most among the Bulldogs.

"He was pretty good, boy," Martinez said.

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