The Bulldogs’ No. 1 offense faced the No. 1 defense in the scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.
Coach Mark Richt said “one of the better things” about the session was the low number of big plays allowed by the defense.
Keith Marshall had 23 yards rushing on five carries. Todd Gurley had five carries for 13 yards. Blake Tibbs was the top receiver with four catches for 44 yards.
Mason is entering his first full season as the starting quarterback. The Lassiter High School product’s backup, Faton Bauta, threw for 102 yards. Freshman Brice Ramsey threw for 134 yards.
Junior linebacker Jordan Jenkins had three sacks.
* Georgia Tech was without two of its offensive leaders for most if its first preseason scrimmage.
Quarterback Justin Thomas, the heavy favorite to win the starting job, played only in the first series and senior running back Zach Laskey was held out of Saturday’s scrimmage.
Coach Paul Johnson says both “probably” would have played in a game.
Freshman defensive back Corey Griffin recovered two fumbles and senior defensive lineman Patrick Gamble had two sacks.
Thomas opened the scrimmage by completing two passes to receiver DeAndre Smelter for 11 and 27 yards. Harrison Butker kicked a 45-yard field goal to cap the drive.
Quarterback Tim Byerly had a 50-yard touchdown run.
Butker also made a 21-yard field goal and missed from 47 yards.
* Tennessee is figuring out the proper way to respond to its coach’s criticism.
Volunteers coach Butch Jones had said Monday that he didn’t like his team’s consistency, and he canceled that night’s scheduled player interviews as a result. He also criticized the efficiency of his quarterbacks later in the week.
Jones saw plenty of improvement in both areas Saturday during the team’s first scrimmage. The scrimmage was closed to the media, but Jones said he liked his team’s approach and mindset.
Jones noted that the Vols still had too many penalties and missed tackles. He added the Vols also must improve their conditioning, particularly along the defensive line.
Players earning praise from Jones after the scrimmage included defensive lineman Derek Barnett, running back Jalen Hurd, linebacker Dillon Bates and safeties Brian Randolph — the Kell High School alum — and Devaun Swafford.