KNOXVILLE — Georgia prepared for Tennessee this past week not sure what to expect at quarterback for the Volunteers.
Both redshirt junior Jarrett Guarantano and freshman Brian Maurer played in Tennessee's listless 34-3 loss at Florida on Sept. 21, giving the Bulldogs multiple options to think about.
"We think that No. 18 (Maurer) will run the ball more than No. 2 (Guarantano)," Bulldogs senior inside linebacker Tae Crowder said Monday.
Said Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart on Tuesday: "They may have (fifth-year senior receiver) Jauan Jennings at quarterback. They may have a lot of guys at quarterback."
As it turned out, Mauer got the start and stunned the Bulldogs midway through the first quarter with a 73-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Callaway that pulled the Volunteers into a 7-7 tie. Callaway blew past Georgia safety Richard LeCounte III for the score, which quickly got the Neyland Stadium crowd into the game.
On the first play of the second quarter, Mauer connected with Jennings for a 12-yard touchdown that gave Tennessee its one and only lead of the night at 14-10.
Maurer, a 6-foot-3, 193-pounder from Ocala, Florida, finished the first half with 205 passing yards, a sharp contrast to the 85 yards Vanderbilt's Riley Neal amassed for the entire game in Georgia's first Southeastern Conference contest on Aug. 31.
The Bulldogs regrouped at halftime and held Mauer without any yards in the third quarter, with LeCounte intercepting him at the 5:22 mark.
Rodrigo Blankenship drilled a 50-yard field goal at the 2:34 mark of the first quarter to give Georgia a 10-7 lead. The kick improved the fifth-year senior to 9-for-9 in attempts this season, and he increased that to 11-for-11 with a 34-yarder at the 11:31 mark of the second quarter and with a 27-yarder with 7:04 left in the third quarter.
Blankenship's 50-yarder also resulted in the former walk-on improving to 5-for-6 on career attempts 50 yards or longer. He also made a 50-yarder at Vanderbilt.
Redshirt freshman running back Zamir White didn't play in the 23-17 win over Notre Dame on Sept. 21, but he had an 11-yard carry on Georgia's opening drive Saturday night that covered 84 yards in 12 plays and consumed six minutes and 51 seconds.
"We didn't get many opportunities," Smart said of White after the win over the Fighting Irish. "If No. 7 (D'Andre Swift) is running the ball like he was running the ball, it's hard to give the ball to anybody else. The guy was making people miss and running possessed, and Brian (Herrien) was running hard.
"We want to get Zamir involved, and we need to do that, because he is growing and getting better."
White, who rushed 19 times for 141 yards (7.4 per carry) and two touchdowns in Georgia's first three games, added a 6-yard carry in the second quarter at Tennessee and had consecutive rushes of 10, 17 and 8 yards in the third.
Odds and ends
Junior Justin Shaffer got the start at left guard ahead of redshirt junior Solomon Kindley, who is working his way back from an ankle injury. Senior safety J.R. Reed leads the Bulldogs with 34 career starts, with junior quarterback Jake Fromm next with 33. Sophomore nose tackle Jordan Davis injured an ankle on the second play of the game. Senior nose tackle Julian Rochester entered the game late in the first quarter for his first action since undergoing offseason knee surgery. Sophomore punter Jake Camarda's struggles continued with an 18-yard effort in the second quarter. Camarda had punts of 25 and 27 yards against Notre Dame. Graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf had two catches for 18 yards against his former team. Graduate transfer receiver Lawrence Cager was helped off the field with 10:39 left in the game.