For anyone who might have been focused on one of the other upsets in the Southeastern Conference, here’s how Vanderbilt rallied to defeat Georgia 31-27 on Saturday.
The teams traded scores early but the Bulldogs scored 17 straight points beginning with a second-quarter interception return for a touchdown.
Things got even worse when, two drives after the interception, Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was injured and knocked out of the game. His replacement, redshirt-freshman Patton Robinette, threw an interception on his seventh attempt and did not drive the offense any farther than the Georgia 42 in his first four-plus possessions.
At the start of the fourth quarter Vanderbilt trailed 27-14 but had the ball second-and-5 at the Georgia 31.
Vanderbilt scored on three straight fourth-quarter possessions, beginning with the one that started in the third quarter:
• Robinette scored on a three-yard run to cap a nine-play 36-yard drive. Key moment: Robinette threw incomplete on fourth-and-4 from the Georgia 30 but Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson was called for a personal foul on the play. Score: Georgia 27, Vanderbilt 21 (10:38 remaining). Georgia’s response: three plays and a punt.
• Carey Spear’s 40-yard field goal ended an 11-play, 60-yard drive, the Commodores’ third 11-play scoring drive of the contest. Key moment: The drive started with a 41-yard completion from Robinette to wide receiver Jonathan Krause, who was well-covered but simply outworked Georgia cornerback Damian Swann for the ball. It was the longest play of the day – by a wide margin – for either team. Score: Georgia 27, Vanderbilt 24 (4:44 remaining). Georgia’s response: Three plays and a botched punt (the punter mishandled the snap), which gave Vanderbilt possession at the Georgia 13.
• Jerron Seymour ran it in from 13 yards on the first play after the failed punt, his second touchdown run of the game. Score: Vanderbilt 31, Georgia 27 (2:53 remaining). Georgia’s response: The offense gained 11 yards on three plays before running back Brendan Douglas fumbled after a short completion and cornerback Andre Hal recovered it.
The sound bites
• Robinette on the rally: “You have to be prepared to go the distance. We wanted Austyn to be able to play but got us where we were, this was his win. To see him come off like that was tough, but you have to be ready to go the distance.”
• Georgia coach Mark Richt, on Douglas’ fumble: “Certainly when a guy is trying to get extra yards, the more susceptible he will be to putting the ball on the ground. He has good habits though, I'm sure Vanderbilt did a good job of knocking it out.”
• Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray on his team’s inability to hold the lead: “We as players just thought we could run the ball and they did a better job towards the end of the game of really stuffing the run. They played extremely well today, you got to give them a lot of credit.”
• Vanderbilt coach James Franklin on the Commodores’ first win since 2008 versus a ranked opponent: "We've had significant wins and signature wins from Day 1. When you come in and take over a program with four wins in the previous two years, UConn is a significant win, Presbyterian is a significant win... They are all significant."
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