KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Georgia found itself in unusual territory Saturday, trailing an opponent by a touchdown early and still trailing by three well into the second quarter. But the rest of the game belonged to the Bulldogs.

The nation’s No. 1 team fatigued a seemingly indefatigable opponent and scored 34 consecutive points on the way to a 41-17 victory over Tennessee.

The win, executed before 100,074 on a cold afternoon and evening at Neyland Stadium, gets the Bulldogs to 10-0 for the first time since 1982 and gives them an undefeated 8-0 slate in the SEC for the first time since divisional play began in 1992.

“Ten-and-0, undefeated in the SEC; that’s where we’ve gotten,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart, seemingly unimpressed with the Bulldogs have done so far. “It makes no guarantees for what’s going to happen in the future. We’ve got a lot of guys that have got to get better and improve. We’ve got to tackle better. There’s a lot of things that we can work on to get better.

“But you know what I love? The men in the locker room that are beside me, they know that. Nobody thinks they’ve arrived.”

Give running back James Cook the MVP nod for the Bulldogs. He became only the second Georgia back to go over 100 yards rushing this season with 104 on 10 carries, and he accounted for three of the Bulldogs’ four touchdowns, two on runs and one on a 23-yard pass from quarterback Stetson Bennett.

Bennett had a pretty good night himself, scoring on a 9-yard run, finishing with 40 yards rushing and adding 213 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-29 passing. Bennett orchestrated a balanced offensive attack that finished with 487 total yards.

“This is a tough place to play,” said Bennett, who was playing for the first time on Tennessee’s home field. “They have an explosive offense and talented people on defense and there’s 102,000 people in the stands. We weathered the storm and kept chopping, and you saw it at the end. It was a more balanced effort until the last few drives, which is what you want out of your offense.”

Georgia’s defense deserves high marks as well for making the necessary adjustments after the Volunteers jumped on them in the first quarter. The Bulldogs kept Tennessee off the scoreboard from the 1:38 mark of the first quarter until 3:38 remained in the game.

Senior linebacker Channing Tindall led a Georgia defense that totaled six sacks with three of his own. That included one that stripped quarterback Hendon Hooker of the ball with 10:46 remaining. Travon Walker recovered for the Bulldogs at the 27, ending the Vols’ last meaningful scoring threat.

But Smart certainly wasn’t happy about several explosive plays logged by Tennessee and Hooker, including 51- and 53-yard receptions and 200 yards receiving by wideout Cedric Tillman. The Vols became the third Georgia opponent to gain more than 300 yards, finishing with 387 total, the most by a UGA opponent this season.

The Bulldogs were especially frustrated by Tennessee’s late touchdown pass with 3:38 to play. That gave the Vols 17 points, the most allowed by Georgia all year. The Bulldogs came in giving up just 6.6 a game.

“You know, it’s always frustrating for the other team to score, definitely,” said junior linebacker Nakobe Dean, who led the Bulldogs with 11 tackles and also had a sack and a forced fumble. “This is the most points our defense has given up this season. Just knowing how hard I am, knowing the standard I hold for this defense, I’m not happy about that touchdown. But it was also a great team win, and I was happy about how all the guys fought.”

The Bulldogs effectively took control of the game between the end of the second quarter and the end of the third. It seemed somewhat anticlimactic when Georgia had to kick a short field goal at the end of its second third-quarter possession, and ninth of the game. But the score gave the Bulldogs a 27-10 lead and capped a 13-play drive of 5:07. Including the Bulldogs’ scoring drive at the end of the second quarter, that made two drives totaling 24 plays, 164 yards and 8:12 of game clock.

After winning the opening coin toss and deferring to the second half, Georgia’s defense quickly found itself on its heels. The Vols flew down the field on their opening possession, averaging 7.7 yards per play and scoring on a 9-yard touchdown catch by Velus Jones. Tennessee faced only one third down on the drive and took advantage of an interference call against redshirt freshman cornerback Kelee Ringo. At the 11:43 mark of the first quarter, the seven points was the largest deficit for Georgia has faced all season.

The Bulldogs’ offense answered nearly as quickly. After Bennett’s 14-yard run on third-and-7, two Cook runs covered the final 43 yards, the second one going 39 yards for touchdown. The score was tied 7-7 less than six minutes into the quarter.

After exchanging punts, Tennessee took advantage of another interference call – this one against senior Derion Kendrick on third-and-12 -- to get into Georgia’s red zone. Facing fourth-and-3 at the Bulldogs’ 7, the Vols settled for a 24-yard field goal and a 10-3 lead. That was the way the first quarter ended.

But Georgia owned the second quarter. The Bulldogs got a 40-yard field from Jack Podlesny at the end of their fourth offensive possession of the game to tie the score at 10-10 at the 9:42 mark.

On Tennessee’s ensuing possession, Kendrick intercepted Hooker’s overthrown pass on first down at the 38. Georgia took over at the Vols 40. On third-and-9 at the 39, Bennett hit Ladd McConkey over the middle for a 15-yard gain and huge conversion. Another 15-yard gain on a Cook run set up Georgia first-and-goal at the 9.

On what looked like a busted play, with Bennett trying to execute a face to Kenny McIntosh, who already had left the backfield for the right flat, Bennett instead ran the football around right end and cut up field at the hash marks for a 9-yard touchdown run and a 17-10 Georgia lead with 7:24 remaining in the half.

“The play is for me to roll out and continue outside, but the defense flowed when we motioned Marcus (Rosemy-Jacksaint) across,” Bennett said. “They didn’t run with it or bump. There were three guys that ran with them, so I just stopped and cut up under the defensive end and saw green grass and just ran.”

Georgia’s defense forced two Tennessee punts with one of its own in between. Taking over at their own 10, the Bulldogs put together an 11-play drive that ended with Cook’s second touchdown of the day. This one was a 23-yard pass after a beautiful double-move by Cook down the Georgia sideline. The best thing about it was it came with only 37 seconds remaining in the half.

Tennessee was forced to let the clock run out in the first half after Hooker was sacked by Georgia’s Robert Beal on first down.