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SEC showdown in Knoxville
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia and Tennessee are gearing up for the possibility their Saturday matchup could come down to the final minute.
It wouldn't be any different than usual.
None of the last five Tennessee-Georgia games has been decided by more than seven points. That includes Tennessee's 34-31 victory in Athens last year that featured a 43-yard game-winning Hail Mary pass as time expired.
"If you look at kind of the past history of this game, they usually come down to the final possession," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said.
Georgia (4-0, 1-0 SEC) has insisted that it isn't using the heartbreaking finish of last year's game as extra incentive this week.
The seventh-ranked Bulldogs have lost two straight to Tennessee (3-1, 0-1) after beating the Volunteers five consecutive times from 2010-14. Georgia enters this year's matchup as one of the nation's hottest teams, while Tennessee lost to Florida and eked out a 17-13 victory over winless Massachusetts in its last two games.
"They have a new team, we have a new team," Georgia defensive back Aaron Davis said. "Last year's not a motivation for us."
Last year's game was the latest in a series of down-to-the-wire matchups.
Georgia won 51-44 in 2012 by forcing three turnovers in the last six minutes and won 34-31 in overtime in 2013 after Tennessee's Alton "Pig" Howard fumbled in overtime as he was about to cross the goal line, turning a potential touchdown into a touchback. Georgia needed to recover a late onside kick to secure a 35-32 triumph in 2014 .
Tennessee rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat the Bulldogs 38-31 in 2015 , as Georgia's Reggie Davis dropped a potential game-tying touchdown pass with less than four minutes left.
"They've kind of been neck-and-neck games where either team could come out with a win," Tennessee offensive tackle Brett Kendrick said. "I expect another close game coming up."