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Stephen Rivers Returns, But Isn't Enough as Vandy Falls to Georgia 44-17

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Hey, we covered!

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

#12 Georgia blasted out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back en route to a home 44-17 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Stephen Rivers, who had fallen all the way off the Vandy depth chart at quarterback, had a shot to rally the Commodores back, but fell short in a 7-13 performance behind center that included some head-scratching mistakes.

Ralph Webb drove the Vandy offense in the loss. The redshirt freshman had 77 yards and one touchdown on the afternoon in his continuing effort towards All-SEC honors.

Georgia started this game with no intention of battling with the Commodores. Todd Gurley rushed for 66 yards in the first quarter to help give the Bulldogs a 21-0 lead and instill dreams of day-drinking in the hearts and minds of the UGA fans who made the trek out to Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Vandy struck back when Webb capped off a 66-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to get the 'Dores back into this. Rivers helped drive his team back into Georgia territory on their next possession, but coach Derek Mason elected to punt facing fourth-and-seven from the UGA 42. The Bulldogs then took the ball 80 yards to make this a 27-7 game at the half.

That drive was highlighted by a 50-yard completion - Georgia's longest of the season - from tailback Gurley.

GurleyPass

Vandy came out firing in the second half when Jahmel McIntosh intercepted Hutson Mason in UGA territory, but they were only able to turn that advantage into three points on a 34-yard Tommy Openshaw field goal.

One failed Bulldog drive later, Vanderbilt had a chance to turn this back into a game when Jerron Seymour and Steven Scheu helped drive the 'Dores into UGA territory, but that opportunity unraveled when Rivers threw a pick better suited for a high school JV game than an SEC matchup. Naturally, that turned into six points for the Bulldogs and ignited a new lobby of criticism towards Rivers and this team's coaching - including from current members of this team's roster:

HardingTweet

Maybe not ever, but ...close.

That made the score 34-10 and effectively extinguished any hopes of a Commodore comeback. Georgia added a field goal before Freebeck returned to drive the 'Dores 75 yards on a scoring drive capped by Dallas Rivers's first NCAA touchdown from six yards out to make it 37-17 and ensure a Vanderbilt cover (+33.5...so, yay?). Bulldog tailback Nick Chubb tested that two drives later by breaking loose for a 33-yard touchdown run that send Georgia fans scattering back to their tailgates.

Freshman quarterback Wade Freebeck went 5-12 for 49 yards before being pulled for Rivers, but went 6-8 for 69 yards in leading his team to fourth quarter points in his return. Rivers launched his first touchdown drive of the season thanks to the running of Webb, but didn't play well enough to finish the game before Freebeck got his second chance of the afternoon. He finished with 88 yards and an interception.

Vanderbilt returns next week with a matchup against FCS opponent Charleston Southern. #12 Georgia will travel to Missouri with a chance to run their conference record to 3-1 on the season.