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James' return home doesn't go as planned

Vols' Ju'Wuan James (70), a North Gwinnett grad, blocks Georgia defesive end DeAngelo Tyson (94) during Saturday's game in Athens.

Vols' Ju'Wuan James (70), a North Gwinnett grad, blocks Georgia defesive end DeAngelo Tyson (94) during Saturday's game in Athens.

ATHENS — Saturday’s homecoming to north Georgia wasn’t exactly what Ju’Wuan James had in mind.

A 41-14 loss to the host Georgia Bulldogs before an announced 92,746 fans at Sanford Stadium only deepened what has been a difficult first half of the season for his Tennessee team.

Still, the North Gwinnett grad has already had an impact on the Volunteers as big as his 6-foot-7, 313-pound frame.

His well-documented recruitment included an initial commitment to Alabama in May of 2009, followed by a decommitment and a switch to Tennessee that was reaffirmed after some drama following the resignation of then-head coach Lane Kiffin to go to Southern California just three weeks before signing day.

It made for a very-eventful last 17 months for James, though he never let the notoriety and all the questions surrounding his recruitment become a distraction.

After earning the starting job as a true freshman during preseason practiace, he made his sixth straight start at right tackle Saturday.

More not-so-happy homecomings

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley — son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley — got polite, but very audible applause — when his name was announced to the Sanford Stadium crowd prior to Saturday’s game with the Bulldogs.

But given the outcome, it was a homecoming the Athens native and Clarke Central High School grad would just as soon forget.

“Well, it wasn’t too special (Saturday),” Dooley said. “It makes you not want to come back. But give (Georgia) credit. They did a great job, and I mean that.

“I know those coaches. They’re good coaches, and they’re catching a lot of criticism right now, but you saw what they’ve got.”

Volunteers receiver Da’Rick Rogers probably wasn’t expecting anywhere near as friendly a reception as Dooley got upon his return to his home state.

Sure enough, the Calhoun native — who initially committed to Georgia but eventually spurned the Bulldogs for Tennessee just before National Signing Day last January — was greeted with a loud chorus of boos when his name was announced following his reception for a loss of 3 yards from Matt Simms in the second quarter.

Houston ... HELLO!

As many problems has Georgia has had on defense this season, getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks by Justin Houston has not been one of them.

With a pair of sacks of Tennessee’s Matt Sims on Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 258-pound junior outside linebacker now has six on the season.

That figure moved him past Auburn’s Nick Fairley into the SEC lead, pending the Tigers’ at Kentucky late Saturday night.

Still, Houston was hardly satisfied.

“It felt really good, but I felt like I could have done better,” said Houston, who finished the day with five combined tackles and assists, including three tackles for loss. “I’m still beating myself up over the sack I missed on their touchdown.