Dogs’ defense addresses fourth-down woes

Fourth down wasn’t good for Georgia’s defense in the fourth quarter against Tennessee on Saturday.

The Volunteers converted all three of their fourth-down chances in the game in the final 15 minutes of regulation in the 34-31 Georgia overtime victory.

“Because our offense is so explosive — South Carolina went for it on fourth-and-2 — I think we’re going to see a lot of fourth downs because people feel like they’ve got to keep the ball,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “We obviously didn’t play the one flip play very good, but we’ll learn from it and move on.”

That flip play on a fourth-and-1 pitch from Justin Worley to Rajion Neal from the Tennessee 34 turned into a 43-yard gain.

“That’s really what boosted their emotions a lot,” outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said.

Tennessee scored on that drive to tie the game at 24 and then converted two fourth-and-1s on the next drive, getting a 1-yard run from Neal and a 28 yard pass from Worley to A.J. Branisel.

“They’ve got a great O-line,” inside linebacker Ramik Wilson said. “That’s probably the best O-line we’ve faced this year. They called the right play and we didn’t execute our play.”

The flip play conversion was set up after Blake Sailors was called for a delay of game for stomping his foot on a fourth-and-6.

Tweeted Fox Sports’ Mike Pereira, a former vice president of officiating for the NFL: “The foul in the Georgia game was correct. The defender took a jab step in an attempt to draw a false start. That is a foul.”

Opponents are converting on fourth downs against Georgia 60 percent of the time, which ranks 82nd nationally and ninth in the SEC.

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