KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Joshua Dobbs threw for 312 yards, ran for 118 more and accounted for five touchdowns Saturday as Tennessee erased a 21-point deficit in a 38-31 victory over No. 19 Georgia.
The defeat was doubly painful to Georgia (4-2, 1-2 SEC), which lost star running back Nick Chubb to an injured left knee on the first play from scrimmage.
Georgia’s Reggie Davis scored on a 70-yard punt return and 48-yard catch but dropped a potential game-tying 56-yard touchdown pass with less than four minutes left. The Bulldogs got to Tennessee’s 27 in the final seconds, but Brian Randolph broke up Greyson Lambert’s pass to Malcolm Mitchell in the right corner of the end zone.
Dobbs was 25 of 42 with three touchdown passes for Tennessee (3-3, 1-2). He ran for two touchdowns, including a 5-yarder that broke a 31-all tie with 5:48 left.
Dobbs is the only Tennessee player ever to throw for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game. He also did it last year in a 45-42 overtime victory at South Carolina.
Tennessee trailed 24-3 late in the first half before rallying to beat a ranked team for just the second time in its last 30 attempts. The Vols also ended a five-game losing streak in this annual series.
The comeback tied for the third-biggest deficit Tennessee had ever overcome in a victory. The Vols beat Vanderbilt 38-36 in 1987 after trailing 28-3 and won 35-34 at Notre Dame in 1991 after falling behind 31-7.
Georgia’s Sony Michel rushed for 145 yards, with 124 of them coming before halftime. Lambert was 15 of 32 for 279 yards.
Tennessee entered the day with three losses in its last four games and appeared on the verge of getting blown out of this one.
The Vols got back into the game when Dobbs found Josh Smith for a 39-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-8 play. Michel fumbled away the ensuing kickoff at the Georgia 25, setting up a Dobbs 2-yard pass to Kamara that made it 24-17 at halftime.
Tennessee continued its comeback in the second half even as injuries forced the Vols to start freshmen Jack Jones and Chance Hall on the right side of their offensive line.
The Vols fell behind early because of their inability to capitalize on opportunities. Tennessee outgained Georgia 137-15 and had two trips inside the Bulldogs’ 5-yard line in the first 13 minutes of the game, yet still trailed 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
In the Vols’ first trip to the red zone, Jalen Hurd took a handoff on first-and-goal from the 1 and was immediately met by Georgia’s Tim Kimbrough. A couple of other defenders converged on the play shortly thereafter, and Davin Bellamy knocked the ball loose.
Georgia’s Leonard Floyd then picked the ball out of the air and ran 96 yards for the game’s first touchdown.